Not So Scary Stories

Short Scary Stories by Bruce Savage is a 98-page collection of short stories available for USD 0.99 from Amazon. I feel comfortable investing such a small amount for what could be an entertaining collection of short stories. I am looking for short reads to encourage others to develop an interest in reading. Now, on to see if my investment was justified.

A spoiler alert of the review, not of the short story: If you are a student in one of my classes, proceed to my last paragraph which is followed by a final sentence. See if you come up with the same conclusion I did as far as numbers.

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Short Story Writers Take Note

A Human Stain by Kelly Robson is a 37-page horror novelette (novella?) with a unique writing style. Helen is a companion recruited by Barchen Lambrecht, a person we can assume to be one of the dissolute hanger-on nobility types. Lambrecht has a castle or at least an almost castle. A few more turrets might fulfill the requirements of the definition. Peter, a child who is Lambrecht’s ward lives in the castle with a nanny and two other servants. But Lambrecht needs something more for young Peter, he needs a governess who can also teach Peter things like reading, writing, and languages. Peter might be six or seven years old; he has yet to learn the order of the alphabet.

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Udderly Terrifying

Cows! by Matt Shaw is a short 43-page horror story, something you can read with your morning coffee if you want to start your day from a rather different starting line. The title tells the story of the threat. Cows are going to do some horrible and terrible things to whatever hero figures we have. The question is: Why will they do it? What has caused cows to go rogue?

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50 Short Horror Stories

The first remarkable thing about Small Horrors: A Collection of Fifty Creepy Stories by Darcy Coates is that this author is the writer of all fifty short stories; stories that vary in content and endings. It would seem that the endings would become predictable. Somewhere after story number twenty, for example, the reader would be able to predict how the next one would end after reading the first couple of sentences. Nope, that did not happen. Every story is fresh, some end with a sudden, surprising stop in a way that I did not see coming. Some end in a mild, pleasant conclusion; there is a twist, but not a shock. All are only two to four pages long and I am going to accept a frequently heard writer’s complaint; short stories are hard to write. Where is the room for any character development? Coates carries this off well in this 364-page collection of fifty stories. The stories were published over time and this collection came from different published sources by Coates. That does not diminish the quality of the work. This collection was made available in December 2016 on Amazon and I read it for free with my KU subscription.

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Tiny Tommy by Dave Beaver is a 30-page short story available from Kindle for USD 0.99 or from Kindle Unlimited subscription service at no cost. It might be faster to download it and read it than to read this review. This is a story of both revenge and the eventual realization that revenge can backfire horribly. This theme can be explored in many contexts, as it has been, but there have not been a lot of stories where the revenge is exacted by a six-year-old boy.

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Getting a Foot in the Door

After Life by Bones Monroe is a 28-page short story published in September 2016 and available for purchase on Amazon for USD 0.99 or as a free read with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Such a short story that you should skip this review and go directly to the story, bu only if you have KU. Even at the low price of this one, these short stories become addicting and the costs mount.

Note to my students: These are really short reads that I can recommend to you as being interesting and ones that won’t take much of your time.

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Parents, Listen to the Kids!!

Tenderling by Amy Cross is a 108-page short novel published in 2015 under the genre of horror. What makes this story particularly horrible is that the protagonist is a young female approximately ten years old. She didn’t ask to be the savior of her family but it seems that only she has a belief system that allows her to admit the existence of spirits. Her mother and father resist a huge amount of convincing evidence that they are under attack from the spirit world. The overall theme emphasizes the resistance of the adult world to change that challenges existing, long-held beliefs. Unlike many books of this genre, the language employed is comparatively “tame.” There is absolutely no sex and the imagery which illustrates the attacks of the spirits on the parents and Calley is neither gruesome nor gory. This is a safe yet still interesting book for the YA crowd. It is affordable at a download price of USD 0.99 or free through the Kindle Unlimited subscription service.

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