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.
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.
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.
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.
The River by Jennifer Ellis is a short story about time travel. The 55-page short story published in 2015 has four chapters each with a year for the chapter title. We see the story first placed in 2012, then back to 1990, 1995, and 2003. I liked the dedication statement prior to Chapter One: “ For everyone who has made a mistake…” With that qualification, we may have a short story for everyone.
Lawyers vs. Demons by Scott Baron brings in 2017 with a great title. Already a large part of the reading population will be rooting for the Demons. The rest of the reading population are lawyers so we will have to excuse that bias. This short 62-page read has four short stories plus a link to follow that will get you a free bonus story in return for joining a mailing list. I exercised my KU subscription to download this novel at no further cost.
Lawyers vs. Demons In this story the reader will learn who invented lawyers; the reader may never have wondered about this but will abide by the avid readers’ creed, all knowledge gained, both relevant and irrelevant, is good.
Desperately Seeking Sixty-Nine by JD Frettier is a 45-page short novel selected as a Book of the Day by OnlineBookClub for 08 February 2017. It was available as a free download on 08 February and is also available through Kindle Unlimited. The title did it for me; I had to download this one. A true bargain at the price, this is a tongue-in-cheek (pun intended) look at the after-effects of Woodstock. It is about the YEAR 1969, so get your head out of the gutter. It is getting crowded down here.