Horror Shorts by Drew Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wavered about how to rate this. The six stories range in sub-genre from creature feature (‘Toad-Lickers’; ‘Crownford’s Secrets’; ‘No Smoke Without Fire’), to ghost (‘The Washroom’), to sci-fi (‘Harry Wilson’s Dad’), to mad scientist (‘The Grave-Robbing Doctor Hawthorne and the Lady in the Black Veil’). Some of them walk a fine line between cliché and comfortable genre expectations. My favourites, which I would recommend, were ‘The Washroom’ with its creepy mystery and well-placed reveal; and ‘No Smoke Without Fire’ for its complete hopelessness and fast-paced horror. They are both the kinds of things I would like to see more of, and if all the stories had been at this quality I would have rated it as a four star collection. There is nothing wrong with the other stories, they just didn't capture my interest and hold it in the same way. I think Drew Brown has a good imagination and should focus on bringing us the unexpected and atmospheric.
With free books I always seem to find lots of typos. I can say that there were far fewer in this collection than I'd expected, usually minor apostrophe misuse, so I was pleased that I wasn't distracted so much by external factors. As usual I'll send a list of them to the author rather than list them all here.
Overall I recommend dipping into this collection and seeing the range of stories Drew has conjured up.
Three stars = 'I liked it'.
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