For The Nightmare Before Xmas square of Indiecember I chose Strange Tales of the Macabre by E. Reyes.
This collection of 15 horror short stories contains strange things that smile in the night, creep up on you and pretend to be your loved ones; as well as ghosts, clowns, zombies and deranged killers. Some of the stories are set in the seriously scary town of Devil’s Hill, where every kind of preternatural evil exists, and the location of the author’s previous collection.
As with all collections of short stories, some stories appealed to me more than others. I loved the author’s previous Halloween themed collection set in Devil’s Hill, and I enjoyed how he experimented with the short story in this collection. There was flash, which leaves you wanting more. Different perspectives and unreliable narrators also appear within these pages. Even when the trope is well worn, the author gives it an interesting spin.
My favorite story of the collection was The House by the Woods. It is a sad ghost story with a lot of heart, and it was nice to read the author exploring the kinder side of humanity. Honorable mentions go to Paranoid, which is surprisingly humorous, and goes to show that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t watching you; Resurrection, (a love song to Stephen King’s Pet Semetary) is an improvement on the story that inspired it; and The Crime Book, which is disturbing, and made me wonder what I would do in such a situation.
There is no doubt that E. Reyes can write horror that chills your blood, so it is nice to encounter a softer side of horror in these macabre stories, such as the aforementioned The House by the Woods, as well as The Midnight Visitors, which is a Day of the Dead story, and Christmas in the Empty Cabin, which is the tale of two friends in a snowstorm.
Humor is also welcome. Bela Lugosi at My Window is a vampire story that’s as fun as it sounds, and Paranoid is an interesting take on a self fulfilling prophecy.
I award Strange Tales of the Macabre…
Ebook $2.95 and print book $8.00 prices on Amazon.
Click here to buy Strange Tales of the Macabre on Amazon.
Click here to read my review of Devil’s Hill by E Reyes.