The Devil, the Grim Reaper, and a Ghost by Sean M. Hogan has an author description as “A Collection of Four Dark Short Stories.” I borrowed the collection through my Kindle Unlimited subscription and was happy not to have purchased it. The stories were good beyond my expectation, but they only occupied 57% of my Kindle edition. The samples after the four “advertised” stories with their combination of broken and good links to other Sean Hogan works is the kind of thing that makes me unhappy with a purchased work.
Motel Black ***** Alex Greenhorn was new to the job of husband and father. He wanted to make his wife Nicole and son proud, but money was extremely tight. Everything he made went out for daily expenses. He had to find something new in addition to his normal work, something that would allow him to get ahead. When offered a job to perform his first killing, Alex jumped at the amount of money offered. He wasn’t going to make a career of being a hitman, but just this once wouldn’t stain his immortal soul. The end was worth the means. Alex had teamed up with professional assassin Jack Thorne for this first job. Mission accomplished; the pair were waiting for their paymaster. When the paymaster, masked as the devil and accompanied by a masked acolyte, appeared, there was a discussion over agreed payment. Alex had not committed his soul, but he was going to have to make a few additional wagers to get full payment. This tale is a good story with a twist and no offensive language.
The Grim Adventures of Meryl & Doug ***** Unlike the previous story, this tale has lots of language that might offend those who do not like sexual innuendo. Or even sex without innuendo. I found it more humorous, snarky, and clever, than sexually gratuitous and gross, but that is my taste in stories, for others, consider this a trigger warning for this story only, not the other three of the collection. This tale is almost a lost soul story. The Grim Reaper has come to claim Meryl, but Meryl is not ready. She wheedles and whines and finally gets the devil to agree to a bargain. The Devil gives Meryl a task. If she can do it within the twenty-four hours, he will delay her death. Best friend Doug will accompany Meryl on her quest, but he is not allowed to help. The theme is familiar, but the dialogue between the two adventurers makes this hilarious journey a pleasant variation for the difficult to offend reader.
The Voice of the Beyond ***** Justin Wesley is ten years old and in the fourth grade when he wakes up in captivity listening to instructions from a clown. The clown had chores to do and would return later to play with Justin. His absence left Justin time to explore the room in which he was confined to search for anything that could be used as a weapon to either escape or attack the clown on its return. I was beginning to get worried here because it appeared that Justin was wise beyond his ten years. Then the Ouija Board Planchette began moving and giving advice to Justin. Whew! Readers escaped that possible plot hole. Then the story turns down a very twisted path to a surprise ending. After the humor of the story above, this was a very good return to horror.
The Monster With No Eyes ***** This story is almost a fairy tale. As with most fairy tales, there should be a moral. This story will not disappoint. There is a moral. No offensive language, this is almost suitable for children. Once you can accept that the Big Bad Wolf ate Grandma, this story becomes acceptable.
This ends the complete four stories.
The Crow Behind The Mirror ***** There are three chapters of this story, and I thought they were good. I followed the link at the end of the story, and it was broken. This link failure disturbed my flow of reading. I was not happy. True, all I had to do was go to the Amazon author page where I would find the novel for sale at USD 3.99. It is available as a Kindle Unlimited read. Fans of fantasy will like this tale of tree spirits, unicorns, dragons, and gods. In the first three chapters, Sean Hogan did a good job of world building.
A Halloween Carol ***** Again, the first three chapters of the novel and, again, it was interesting. This time the link worked. The novel sells for USD 2.99 on Amazon. I am happy that it is available on Kindle Unlimited, where I will read it. Can anyone see a possible parallel to A Christmas Carol (but scarier)?
I will read more work by Sean M. Hogan. Fantasy is not one of my favorite genres, but Hogan’s writing encourages me to re-look the fantasy genre as a source of entertainment.