Genre: Horror / Short Story Anthology
Date of Publication: July 17, 2020
Restoring Balance by Sean Cochrane
Heather had never ventured outside familiarity and safety of the city until she joined her fiancé on a camping trip. She was overcome by the beauty nature had to offer. But then something changed.
Judas Mother F******g Priest by Jack Wallen
Saturday, July 17, 1982. Three friends gather to worship at the altar of the metal gods’ newest album Screaming For Vengeance. After several playthroughs the subject of backmasking comes up, and the three teens have got another thing comin’.
Forgotten Things by Brent Abell
Mary makes the best of her days in the nursing home. Nurses and orderlies care for her and check in on her regularly. Her mind isn’t as sharp as it once was, and memories are often out of her reach. One thing she always remembers, though, is the dark thing that comes at night.
Jack O’ by Dillon Brown
As children five friends formed a club called the Fearless Five and tasked themselves with anonymously fighting for good in their small town. They drifted apart by the time they entered high school. Can the town’s first serial killer bring them back together?
While short stories are a departure from my typical reading and generally not something that I immediately grab when choosing my next read, there is no denying how fantastic they are to get more reading into your life. I had been on a supernatural kick following my book club’s most recent read as well as currently reading a few different true crime books, so when I was introduced to this collection, I was instantly intrigued.
Aptly titled, this anthology features a menagerie of twisted tales, ranging from the supernatural and monsters to body horror and slasher killers that will make readers anxious, perturbed, and even uncomfortable. While I personally never felt scared by any of them, the mood and atmosphere created within some of the stories definitely brings out the eerie or sinister vibes. There were moments of repulsion, and at other times, I was looking over my shoulder, but each story will certainly give you something to think about.
These stories also give readers a small, but balanced taste of what the horror genre has to offer, especially if you’re looking for a place to start or what type is right for you. Each author has a distinct voice and writing style, allowing each story to stand on its own merits. My personal favorite was “Forgotten Things” with its much more understated and subtle creep factor. As a fan of Judas Priest myself, I enjoyed Jack Wallen’s disturbing, yet comedic and richly satisfying look into Hell. And I doubt anyone will ever look at plants the same way after reading “Restoring Balance” and “Jack O’!”
The short length of each story makes the entire collection easily read in a sitting. I will always want to see more expansion, world-building, and layering hence my love of the novel; however, personal preference aside, these stories manage to horrify and unsettle in the small space they fill for a definite quick thrill!
Sean Cochrane is a life-long fan of all things evil and macabre. He lives in Round Rock, Texas with his wife and three children. When not writing he subsists on a steady diet of horror, heavy metal, punk rock, and coffee.
Brent Abell resides in Southern Indiana with his wife and Drake the Puggle. Brent enjoys anything horror related. In his writing career, his stories have been featured in over 30 publications from multiple presses.
Dillon Brown is the owner and creator of Horror Nerd Productions, an independent film company that showcases local talent on tiny budgets. Along with writing and directing his own films, Dillon is also the author of three published novellas. He currently lives in Reno, Nevada with his wife and stepson.