GRUESOME: A Gathering of Nightmares
by Terry M. West
One thing I like about anthologies and short story collections is that no two are ever alike. You can count on diversity, even in a collection from a single author. That was also one thing I appreciated about this book. While some themes were shared by a few of the stories, such as cannibalism and the supernatural, they were still all very different and had something of their own to offer the reader.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this collection was the human element. The characters in the stories didn’t feel like archetypal or tropish cardboard cutouts – they had depth, strengths and flaws, and real feeling. Even the shorter stories…or I’m inclined to say especially the shorter stories…drew me in with strong character descriptions that gave true purpose to the tale.
While I was entertained by every story, the longer pieces did not have as much appeal for me. Honger, for example had a strong start, but I felt the modern day parts of the story had a bit too much exposition and drew me away from the main plot to some extent. I liked the concept of the tale and the descriptions were well written, but I found myself wanting to get back to the central focus of the story from time to time.
Comparatively, the author’s shorter stories had delightful punch and held my attention from start to finish. My favourites were the opening story “Don’t the Monsters All Get Scarier at Closing Time,” “Morsel” and “The Rose Man.”
This collection was certainly worth my time and I would happily rate it a solid 4 out of 5.