Just in Time for Hallowe’en, a Thrilling Collection of Spooky Stories!
“The INDIE ECLECTIVE: What is it, who are they, and why can they spell neither “eclectic” nor “collective” correctly? The Indie Eclective is an ensemble of NINE AUTHORS operating under the assumption that Readers like Good Books. Whether you enjoy light or dark paranormal, YA or adult-themed genres, there’s bound to be a story to suit your tastes. Thanks for reading!”
The Members: Heather Marie Adkins
M. Edward McNally
As you’ll have noted in my choices thus far here at the Irreverent Book Blog, my tastes are eclectic, such that the only unifying factor in all that I love is that very irreverence. So, when Emma Jameson, who is one of my very dear friends, was asked to join such a creatively named group, I was intrigued. Since its most recent release coincided with that most wonderful time of the year, the Hallowe’en season, it seemed a perfect choice to share with you. The Haunted Collection has a little something for everyone.
The stories are described for you thus:
“Empty Vessel” by M. Edward McNally: Captain Wil has command of his own ship, the respect of his crew, and his wife is expecting their first child. But at sea, the winds always become calm just before the storm breaks.
“The Smell of Death” by Tara West: Maggie’s unusual powers bring new threats to her already troubled childhood.
“Safe” by Emma Jameson: In Victorian London, a grave robber makes a nice living off the dead, until he opens the wrong crypt.
“Soulfully Sweet” by Shéa MacLeod: As if helping the living isn’t enough of a pain in her divine hindquarters, Branwen (former goddess of love and beauty) is stuck helping the dead on All Hallow’s Eve.
“May I Go Play?” by Heather Marie Adkins: Micah inherits a southern mansion where ancestors long dead relive their violent deaths. And now, they want company…
“Blehdward, the Vampire who Couldn’t Sparkle” by Pj Jones: Blehdward desperately wants to fit in with the cool vamps. If only he could learn how to sparkle.
“Franscesca” by Alan Nayes: Break a promise to a feiticeira and you will live to regret it.
“Soul Eaters” by R.G. Porter: Kaitlyn never believed in the existence of other worlds. Now she’s in the middle of one where humans aren’t the hunters but the hunted.”
These stories share a common “haunted” theme, but are each very different, as are the authors’ styles and voices. I enjoyed the combination very much, as it seemed to touch on almost everything I enjoy about being a reader. Two stories introduce us to other worlds, one to another time, and they all present spooky stories from a different angle than we may have previously examined them. I cannot choose a favorite from among the stories presented, as each has things to recommend it.
“Empty Vessel” manages to introduces us to a brand new (to me, at least) world clearly and in detail, which is a difficult thing to manage in a short story; it doesn’t lose the chills in that precision, either. “The Smell of Death” is poignant, and maintains my assertions that youthful protagonists do not a juvenile work create. “Safe” is a new twist on the grave-robbing theme we think we know, and creates characters as only this author can! “Soulfully Sweet” was just that, answering questions about life and death in an original and amusing way. “May I Go Play?” is an enjoyable take on the Southern Gothic. “Blehdward, the Vampire who Couldn’t Sparkle” was ridiculously funny; Twi-hards beware! “Francesca” provides an exotic locale to a truly original twist on witches and hauntings. “Soul Eaters” takes us to another dimension, not at all a pleasant place to be, and thankfully gets us back again! This collection as a whole was Heavenly on the Imaqulotta Scale!
Another review and a half? Is this turning into a thing?
Speaking of Emma Jameson, I must mention her “Lord and Lady Hetheridge” Series, which currently consists of Ice Blue and Blue Murder. First of all, let me say that prior to my friend writing one, I had never heard of the “Cosy” subgenre. My taste in mysteries runs much more toward “Thrillers”. However, whatever sort of mystery you like, these are excellent examples. I’ve gotten to observe these works in progress, and in their polished finished form. Whether you read an Emma Jameson or a Stephanie Abbot work, you’ll recognize a depth of character creation unequaled by many authors in many genres. Without the wandering back-stories of my beloved Stephen King, or the dozens of novels with which to fill in character that Sir Terry Pratchett has, Jameson summons living breathing people to the page. This seems effortless, and is a trademark of her work. It’s one of the reasons I count her among my favorite authors. The series is Heavenly, and only leaves us wanting more.