Night at the Demontorium

By Naima Haviland

This is a collection of five short horror stories with a touch of the supernatural. They all have strong introductions, and rather vivid imagery. The first piece is on addiction and has a rather interesting view on it. The collection is certainly not for the squeamish as there is quite a bit of gore. I found the last two stories, The Entrepreneur and Bedring were by far the strongest pieces.

The stories all read fairly easily and quickly, though I doubt they would hold up to multiple readings. The endings tended to rely on twists that were only interesting on a shallow level, with an exception of the Bedring. Bedring not only makes you question what a life is worth, but it also combined horror with suburbia most naturally.

I would recommend this to someone as a few quick and curious horror stories.

Nibble: “Before starting, she’d put duct tape over her mouth so her screaming wouldn’t bother the neighbors.”

My Rating: 5 out of 10 gory red apples

I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author via LibraryThing.

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Small Magic

By Aaron Polson

I am going to start this review off by saying how awesome flash fiction is, especially in a collection. It’s like a bag of sea salt and pepper chips, you really want to enjoy them individually and let the flavor seep in your mouth… but you’re a pig and devour the whole bag one afternoon.

That’s basically what reading Small Magic was to me- a wicked bag of chips. It’s a collection of a little over seventy quick pieces. All the chapters were interesting, and surprising in some way. My favorites tended to have a subtle layer of horror just peeking out through a dim window. There were also quite a few chapters with interesting ideas on relations and society. Most chapters are horror stories, mixed into that there’s some of magical realism, romance, crime, humor, fantasy and science fiction.

As a warning, there is quite a bit of gore- beautifully written though- that may be a little too much for those of delicate mind. He produces some really image-evoking dark connections, like watering a groove of trees with blood.

I would recommend this to anyone for some intense Halloween short stories.

My favorite stories: Inheritance, Communion, Blue Collar Boys, Man Bites Man, The Date, Crenshaw’s Gift

I was also pleasantly surprised to see an amusing metafiction story about writing horror stories. A nibble from that, “No one likes to bleed in dark crimson rivulets of scarlet gore, and they will feel sympathy for Bob.”

My Rating: 9 out of 10 bloody scarlet apples

I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author via LibraryThing.