Twisted Little Things and Other Stories by Amy Cross is a collection from one of my go-to authors of horror and weird stuff. She writes lots of novels and short stories, more than 100 publications, and still manages to surprise. If you go to her Amazon Author page, you will not find boxed sets or series. More than 100 individual works, I am impressed! I like this collection because each story surprises me in a different way. Because it is a short story collection, some stories have been published before. Cross acknowledges this in her introduction. Table 9 was originally published as a short story. The Ferry is in a revised version here, published originally as a novella. That leaves five new previously unpublished stories. I have had one minor criticism of some of her works about proofreading and editing. I do not have such a criticism about any of the stories in this collection although there is a useless table of contents that may be a result of Kindle formatting. I colored in four and a half Amazon stars for this collection. “This book contains scenes of violence, as well as strong language.” (Kindle Locations 18-20).
Twisted Little Things Michael Anderson received a package from an acquaintance who specialized in collectibles. It was a mistake. The accompanying note indicated Tom had sent the package to another person but used Michael’s address instead. Michael would forward the package but decided to show the contents, two toy soldiers to those he knew. His father threw him out of the house until he got rid of the soldiers. His best friend Jimmy threw him out also. His dog Lucas barked a lot and then ran away. A passing Medium, Allie, told him to get rid of them. But it was daughter Lucy that offered the ultimate solution of what to do with the traveling toy soldiers.
Table 9 It was Lisa’s first shift at Croussiard’s. It was probably an initiation ritual that led to Lisa covering table eight for Donna. The customer complained about everything and insulted the Lisa in front of the table’s other two diners, her husband and nine-year-old daughter. Lisa found that she had to spend a lot of time at table eight. She helped clean daughter Elizabeth after an accident. It was then that Elizabeth confirmed Lisa’s feeling. There was a presence at table nine and Elizabeth had seen her. That was impossible because no one ever sat at table 9. It was one of Annette, the owner’s rule. Bad things had happened twenty years earlier because of a suicide. And bad things would happen tonight.
The Third Voice Sheila listened to the voice, bad news for her family. Meredith, Kathleen, the doctor’s sister Rose, Amanda the school teacher, and Liz Hooper all heard the voice and it ended badly. Constance heard the voice and was happy (well, most of the time). What was going on?
The Ghost of Terry Willow There was a terrible storm and some things didn’t work as they should. Gary and Annie had to abandon their car in the parking garage because the mechanism to let them out of the parking garage didn’t work. At least they could get a taxi home in the storm. And when they got home the discovered Annie’s dad had come for a visit. Annie was happy; why wasn’t everyone else.
Victoria Emma went with the flow and embraced everything life had to offer. Victoria played by the rules and had an inflexible moral compass. When twelve-year-old Victoria witnessed fourteen-year-old Emma stealing, Victoria just had to inform the adults. There would be life-changing consequences for both girls. Again and again. Over and Over.
The Ferry There is a ghost ship in this story. There is horror. There are people who do not believe in the ghost ship. Some people will change their minds after a series of events. Some won’t. The beauty of this story is in the description of multiple actions that occur in a storm at sea. This is the best story in the collection as far as a description. I felt the surprise ending was an added bonus.
The Towpath What happens when a ghost meets a ghost? What happens when a ghost meets real, present-day world people? What happens when a ghost loses his dog but later finds him? The answers to all these questions are in this story. This is more a bitter-sweet self-realization story than one of horror. But it is still good.
I have a Kindle location with only works by Amy Cross. With so many published books, I will always have a place of guaranteed reading quality where I can retreat.