Horror stories that send chills down the spine and cause the hairs on the back of your necks to stand up always get a big tick from me. Rhiannon Irons, a.k.a Ahlephia, here with a review of a wonderful book by an equally wonderful writer.
A good book captures your attention within the first ten pages and holds it throughout the entirety of the novel. A great book does all that from page one.
Little Deaths by John F.D. Taff lands in the category of a great book. Filled with nineteen short horror stories, there’s something for everyone. An escape from the troubles of reality, Little Deaths offer stories ranging in scares. From a Frankenstein like tale in Bolts, to a story that will affect all dog lovers, to a tale of a date book that is just as annoying as the gadgets that exist today.
What really stood out with Little Deaths is the diverse nature of the stories. Yes, the underlining segment was clearly horror, but each tale in itself held some different aspect of the horror genre. It was all about building a story, creating characters that we could associate with then sending chills down our spines by creating an atmosphere usually reserved for writers like Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving and Stephen King.
When most people think of a short story, they don’t necessarily think they are able to be drawn into the story the same way they are drawn into a full novel. Little Deaths will prove that, despite the short story format, the reader is easily sucked into the tales and Taff’s writing style allows the reader to feel like they are a part of story. His words make it seem like the story itself is being played out before your very eyes, thus drawing you in to the point that you are unable to put the book down until you have finished the current tale of woe.
I would like, if I may, to take you through a quick journey of one of my favourite stories that appears in this book. Bolts is, as mentioned before, a homage back to Frankenstein, and happens to be the opening tale of Little Deaths. A young man lives with his girlfriend, Rachel, and makes a living by collecting and selling movie memorabilia. Of course, some of it he simply can’t part with, and the more he collects, the more it drives a wedge between him and Rachel.
When Rachel suddenly dies, our main character in a state of panic glues to prop bolts from Frankenstein to her neck before giving her a charge of electricity. (Don’t try this at home) What transpires is a zombie like version of his girlfriend, who, despite all efforts from our main character, lumbers around like, well, Frankenstein.
Captivating? Yes. Entertaining? Most certainly. Left me wanting more? Absolutely.
Even if you’re not a fan of horror, you can find something worthwhile and enjoyable in John F.D. Taff’s Little Deaths. Set the scene by reading it in dim lighting, or during a summer storm. Read it by a fire or candlelight to create an external atmosphere. However you read it, Little Deaths is bound to send chills down your spines and is highly recommended as a must read by this author.
About The Author: John F.D. Taff’s career spans 25 years as a horror and dark speculative fiction author, with more than 60 stories in print in magazines (Cemetery Dance, Eldritch Tales, Deathrealm, Aberrations, Morpheus Tales) and anthologies (Hot Blood: Seeds of Fear, Hot Blood: Fear the Fever, Shock Rock II, and Best New Vampire Tales) Four of his stories were chosen as honourable mentions by Datlow and Windling in their Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthologies. His short fiction has appeared so far this year in Best New Werewolf Tales Vol. 1, Big Pulp, Evil Jester Digest Vol. 1, and the AmFAR charity anthology Horror for Good.
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