Here's a continuation of the reviews I'm doing of the books I won earlier this year via the #coffinhop and Kamvision review blog. I'm reviewing 3-4 stories of each book per blog post.
I've included website details of the writers where I could find them. I will also be posting the reviews on Goodreads (If you're one of the writers involved and I didn't link you, please let me know and I will).
With PULP! Now finished I will be adding Cthulhu Unbound to the next part. The book was kindly supplied by Kevin Lauderdale. The author of James and the Gentry (a story that appeared in PULP!)I can't wait to read it.
Part One, Part Two and Part Three
House of Fear:
Villanova by Paul Meloy
This story opened like many horror movies do all bright and happy but with something sinister lurking underneath. Ken takes his two girls on holiday. Steven a member of staff at the resort is charming, but in a clumsy way. There's something odd about him, but Ken isn't sure exactly what. As with any good horror story it steadily gets darker and has a decent pay off at the end.
Widow's Weeds by Christopher Priest
Christopher Priest is one of those writers I've heard a lot about, but haven't had a chance to read much of. I liked his casual and engaging style, and wouldn't mind reading more of his stuff in the future. Dennis is a lonely magician and finds what seems to be a perfect match through an internet dating site. She turns out to be all that he wanted and more, but as you've most probably guessed there's more to her than meets the eye. The story was maybe a bit too predictable, but somehow that was part of the charm.
The Doll's House by Jonathan Green
Having just finished reading the story it is the freshest in the my mind. The story builds up the tension quite nicely, maybe a little too dragged out, but a bit a shorter and it might have not worked as well. You could really feel the frustration of the main character as she goes through the day to day life of being a stay at home mum. It even made me feel anxious about my own washing and ironing.
M is for Monster
N by Simon Kurt Unsworth
If you love your noodles like I do you might want to skip this story, the ew factor is that great. I thought the dialogue in the piece was captivating, it really got me into the story and I read through it in one sitting. I know it's just a short story, but with modern day distractions it's so hard to stay focused on a single task. One of the highlights of the collection so far.
O by Jonathan Pinnock
With the title of the story and the choice of a cursed ring as the subject Jonathan was off to a flying start and kept it going to the end, there were a few hiccups, but overall well executed. The moral of the story being to take more notice of your surroundings, the people around you and not to shrug it off as irrelevant.
P by Ian Woodhead
Being a FB friend of Ian's I know he has a knack for this horror stuff and I wasn't disappointed. Julie's husband's new friend Mark gives her the creeps, the sort of guy you would expect behind a heavy breathing call, but somehow she is convinced to go out with them, ending up having a better time than she thought she would, but soon things turn for the worse. The end reminded me of Pater Jackson's Bad Taste.
PULP! Summer/Fall 2011
The Lone Rider by David P Fisher
Having not read many Western stories I'm not sure how this stacks up, but it was an enjoyable tale. Could have done with a bit more tension maybe, other than that the story was well structured and you get the sense that Brant Steele the Lone Rider in question wasn't someone you would want to mess with.
Stirrings in Hell by Davin Kimble
A lot of thought was put into this story, it felt like a story that could have easily been expanded into a novel, the characters were complex and the intricacies if their relationships worked well. Normally stories about hell bore me, or just have too much blood and guts, but this one had a human factor to it. It made something as vague as hell an interesting place.
Weep Not, Fair Freya by Robert Penson (another that seems to have no info online)
A ship has malfunctioned and travelled past the very end of the universe. It's just black all around them, but they are not alone. They all see the apparition, but none of them will admit it. It's interesting how the story unfolds and how they all crack one by one. I think a great choice for the last story in the book.