S. Elliot Brandis, Hank Garner, Ian Garner & Daniel Arthur Smith
August 3, 2016
A Review by Chris Fried
In the seventh volume of this horror series, we get two one-shot short stories and two continuing serials, starting with:
S. Elliott Brandis’ “Losing Seconds. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying about the Time” – Elijah is a man who inherited some unusual belongings from his eccentric but brilliant grandmother after she died. Among them is a remarkable watch which has a special function. How this watch significantly impacts Elijah’s life and how he lives it is one of the many delights in this imaginative but sad tale of heartache and surprise.
Hank Garner’s “Crossroads” – Buddy is alone on a desolate highway, hitchhiking his way to Kentucky. When he meets up with a kind pick-up truck driver, Charles, Buddy starts sharing a strange tale about himself, filled with captivating details that enthrall you and sets a foreboding mood. But it all changes in one startling moment when all becomes apparent and I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what happens next. Storytelling takes on a life of its own in this sinister and gripping tale of powerful forces beyond comprehension. It’s the first part one of a multi-part serial that I cannot wait to read more of.
Ian Garner’s “Brotherhood” – Kit is living with his family in England during the bombing raids of World War II. After suffering from a couple of life-altering tragedies, he makes a major decision that will impact the direction of his life forever. But what does all of this have to do with the strange dreams he’s been having, filled with malicious creatures? A tale fraught with tension, family dysfunction and true terror that makes your eyes widen in surprise by the time all is revealed.
Daniel Arthur Smith’s “Times Square Elmo” – Hector is the titular Elmo, working to get pictures with families and earn a living. But when something bizarre happens, how will he handle it? This stimulating slice-of-life vignette ties into the author’s story from Tales from the Canyons of the Damned: No. 6. But what makes it even more appealing is seeing how the average man copes with the larger than life events going on around him.
Overall, there is a sense of “what in the world is really going on here” vibe to each of these stories, steering the characters in unpredictable directions. But ultimately it’s another well-done, scarily fun and very eerie collection in this remarkable series.
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