Sunday, February 12, 2012
Whispers from the Dark by Bryan Hall
Hello boys and girls! It's blog hop time again and this time it's Vamplit Publishing's Bloody Hearts Valentine Blog Hop. Click on the picture in the sidebar and it will take you to a list of all the participating blogs. And you know what participating blogs means? Contests! Contests to win all sorts of great prizes. To enter my contest, become a follower of this blog and leave a comment (if you are already a follower- a comment will suffice). Bryan has graciously donated an eBook (format of your choice) of Whispers in the Dark to my contest winner.
I met Bryan through Facebook and he asked for a review. You know me- I never turn down a collection of short stories, or any book, EVER. So, of course, I agreed. Bryan also agreed to an interview, so you can read more about this fascinating author over at The Author Spot. Did I mention its also part of the blog hop, so there is a contest for free books there as well? I thought that would get your attention!
On with the review. Synopsis says: What if your hometown hid a terrible secret?
What if the vintage LP you brought home was more than just a record?
What if your neighbor's pond held an evil only you knew about?
What if your dying daughter's only hope lay in a strange shack deep within the Appalachian wilderness?
This collection of fourteen short stories from the author of Containment Room Seven asks those questions and many more. You won't find vampires or zombies here - only pure, dark, unrelenting terror on every page.
"...This guy is scary good!" - Joe McKinney, Stoker nominated author of Quarantine, Flesh Eaters, and Apocalypse of the Dead
"A horror master's sense of scene and scares." - Jonathan Moon, author of Heinous
"... dark, fast and fun...a compelling read." - Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, The Reach, and StarCraft Ghost: Spectres, on Hall's novel Containment Room Seven
Now the problem I find with short story collections is that you are most probably never going to like all the stories in the book. Even in a King collection, I find a story or two that misses its mark. (I know-- blasphemy!) And that was the case with this collection.
The first story, Secrets Beneath, was worth the price of admission. It's a unique take on the small town with closely guarded secret tale. It reminded me, in a good way, of 1950's horror movies- I could almost see it in black and white. But the story is original, has good depth, and some tragic consequences.
Another tale I liked was Throwing Stones. It had a creepy build-up and a surprising ending, not what I expected at all. One more hit was The Swim. This one had a moral and a lesson to it. And Kudzu, was another tale I enjoyed. And then there were a few I wasn't so fond of. All in all, there are fourteen stories in the book. A decent number for the price and we all know that opinions are subjective.
Formatting bugaboos aside, and I'm not counting them because I couldn't even tell you how to format properly and I think it's just something we eBook readers are going to have to learn to overlook, there are few content issues I had trouble with. A little bit more "telling" than "showing." There were a few stories that were good idea, they just failed to develop to my satisfaction.
So I'm giving the book three stars. The reason for this isn't because it's a bad book. It's more so that I have something to upgrade his next book to. Because I believe this author has a lot of promise and with a little work, he's going to be great. So I will eagerly await his next work, to see what he's learned and how much he's improved.
Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Whispers from the Dark for free! That first story is calling your name...