I follow, like, and read short stories by Tobias Wade, a contributor to this collection of short stories. I obtained the novel from his website. Wade writes approximately short stories several times per week and sends them out in email alerts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Some are brilliant, others are merely good but he is a writer that will hold the interest of genre horror fans.
This collection was written by four authors and has a total of 41 stories. David Maloney is an English teacher living in China. An expat English teacher and also a writer? With13 stories in this collection, he joins a well-populated subculture. Ha-yong Glen Bak lists editor among other credentials. Offering 11 titled stories plus a bonus story, writers must fear him as they fear all editors. Kyle Alexander is described as a professional graffiti artist. Is this another form of the ultimate short story, or flash fiction? Alexander contributes two short stories and a collection Teenagers which is presented in three chapters. Tobias Wade seems to be an outlier as far as writer associated occupations with a former profession of neuroscience researcher. Wade brings 12 stories to this collection. I have read another collection of his, 51 Sleepless Nights, and am currently reading The Last Man. I also enjoy his weekly horror wake-up calls. With so many stories to choose from, I will comment on my favorite contribution from each author.
DavidMaloney’s story Welcome to Hell, Please Take a Number, is a creative categorization of types of demons and levels of possession. Read this through to the end and become very much afraid. What a great beginning to this collection! I was only to comment on one story per collection but how could I not to comment on She Says the Smell of Death Turns Her On? You might want to read this explicit one after the kids have gone to bed.
Tobias Wade’s story From Rags to Stitches gets my vote as the most chilling Wade tale. Casey was his sister, he should have been able to protect her. But Mom married Leroy and Leroy didn’t like children. He had seen the bruises on his sister’s body but she had told him to be quiet, that the two of them had not yet earned Leroy’s love. Now they never would; he remembered his feelings when he found Casey dead. Would he be next? There is more than one surprise in this chilling ending.
Ha-yong Glen Bak begins with a very strong offering, my favorite, Make Money or Die Trying. The theme will begin along familiar lines. Jared, a homeless guy, is offered to play in a reality “game” with four other competitors. The prize is huge but only the survivor gets the prize. Finishers 2, 3 4, and 5 are dead. The manners of their deaths are varied and dependent on the wish of subscribers to this reality contest. Screenwriters and authors have used this set-up a lot. Here Glen Bak twists the idea in its implementation. Keeping in mind the title of this collection, this is the first point at which the word “brutal” is appropriate. This story is extremely brutal and not for the sensitive. And all the brutality is topped off with a surprise. If any of the stories deserve a warning notice for brutality, this is it.
Kyle Alexander contributes two short stories and the chapters of Teenagers with a common theme. Humans become something else, maybe more highly evolved, maybe not. The chapters of Teenagers are a romp through high tech possibilities as humans become more machine-like yet try to retain human qualities of benevolence and humanitarian concern. Kafka would have an interesting comment on the conclusion of Teenagers.
This is a nice varied presentation of the work of four skilled writers in the horror and fantasy-horror genre. See the note above about the brutal designation. Not all parts are for all readers. I will click on each of the links I learned found in the author descriptions to read more works from these authors. In such a collection there is always the brilliant and the lesser shining offering so I give the collection a four-star rating on Amazon.