by Missy Jane:
Reading and reviewing a collection of short stories isn’t easy when it comes to pinning down a rating. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Was it interesting, intriguing, boring, disturbing, annoying, and fascinating? Yes. This collection of twenty stories was all of those things and more. Richard Thomas has given us a collection of gut-wrenching tales about love, hatred, discovery, loss, pain, and elation. The stories truly crossed my spectrum of emotions from page to page. The one underlining thread was frustration. There were many times I felt I just didn’t “get it”. Whether it was the protagonists’ motivation or even just what the hell he/she was thinking, there were points I’m sure I missed that made me feel kind of stupid. Not necessarily the author’s fault, but I hate reading stories that make me feel dumb.
One trait of quite a few of the stories, especially in the beginning, is RT’s obsession with description. For as short as some of these stories are I would have liked more plot substance than setting. It was such a build-up, only to be let down when the story ended two pages later. On the flip side, his descriptions of setting and physical traits painted a vivid picture almost every time I turned to the next page. He also really seems to like razor blades as they are prominent in nearly every tale.
I also must note that not every story fits into the horror genre. Most are horrific in some way. Almost every character is fundamentally flawed to the point of monstrosity. But as for “horror” in the traditional sense, not all of the stories fit the bill. I especially liked Stephen King Ate My Brain, but is was funny not scary. Stories like Steel-Toed Boots, Ten Steps, and Interview gave me that creeped out sense of horror I get when reading a novel in the genre. The characters are among those who stay with me long after the last page is turned. Though Interview might be better read in print form than ebook as the formatting was very confusing at first.
The stories Victimized and Transmorgify were two of the gems I would love to see in full length-novel form. I want to know more about those worlds and those characters. I want the whole picture instead of the vignette we’ve been given. Both offered a science-fictionish look into the future. I could easily see them as post-apocalyptic novels of our race going to hell in a handbasket.
Overall, I’d give this book four stars and consider it time well spent. If you enjoy short stories with bite, and aren’t intimidated by plots that might disturb the peaceful fabric of your psyche, then read this book.
DarkMedia contributing writer Ms. Missy Jane is the alter ego of a married mother of four who was born and raised in Texas. She spends most of her time lost in worlds of her own making, alternately loving and hating such creatures as vampires, shape-shifters and gargoyles (to name a few). When not writing, she spends her time reading, taking photos of her beautiful daughters and training her husband to believe she’s always right.