Author: E.J. More
Type: Short story collection (5 stories)
Summary: A lonely creature with only its own hunger for company; an alcoholic looking to bargain, whatever the cost; a childhood friendship turned sour, and the demons that lurk in shadowy corners of a grown-up world. These and other stories can be found in this dark collection of nightmarish tales.
Why I liked it: This short story collection made me feel for the unlikeliest of characters and connected me with emotions I didn’t know I had.
And now for the chatty part!
I don’t read much horror, and when I do, I don’t normally expect to empathise with the monsters. But I do read a lot of books, and I often find myself wishing that the expected thing doesn’t happen. Many stories disappoint me. They have the happy ending, the “proper” conclusion, the one that doesn’t disturb you too much. It’s not even that that ending is not appropriate, it’s just that, as a reader, I haven’t been driven to feel this particular ending is necessary or fits the story best.
This book did the opposite of what I expected on both counts: it made me empathise with the monsters, and it surprised me emotionally. The author expertly manipulated my feelings towards zombies and human-eating ghouls. Although the endings of the stories were not too unexpected, the emotions that went with them were not clean-cut. Instead of catharsis, I was left pondering about the moral greyness of the world in general. Now, I’d say, if a horror book makes you ponder life, the universe, and everything, it has definitely achieved its goal!
The collection is a quick read (about 18,000 words, you can read it in an afternoon), so for me it was the ideal respite between novels.
Grammar, syntax, style: I found very few typos, and even commas (one of my pet peeves) were mostly correctly placed. This was one of the first indie books I read, so I was stricter back then. Looking back now, in comparison to most other indie books I’ve read, it’s nearly perfect.