In addition, short stories are more difficult to master in writing, as well, which may account for their lack of popularity among readers. A horror writer needs to introduce characters, setting, and plot in a shortened time, hook a reader, and scare the daylights out of them. Not an easy feat, to be sure.
Maria Alexander demonstrates that the short story waters are fun for horror readers to play in with her collection, Twelve Tales Lie, One Tells True. Thirteen tales are laid out for the reader to wade across, each one as interesting and well-written as the last. Alexander digs deep for the stories, all of which seem rooted in abuse or grief of some sort, striking chords with the reader before turning into a supernatural or paranormal horror feast. She gloriously connects the reader with the main character before exposing them to terrifying scenarios.
Although all of the stories were entertaining, my favorite tale of her collection has to be "Nickelback Ned." There’s always something fascinating about long-ago deaths - promises for future vengeance, then having to reluctantly follow through. I also greatly enjoyed "Coming Home," a nice, little twist on a Christmas horror story.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
There is a slight warning, however, for readers. "This Body of Death" and "Though Thy Lips Are Pale" both contained things that are different from what one would expect from horror, and that caught me off-guard. The former included explicit and extremely detailed BDSM, and the latter had a detailed rape scene. If you’re not into reading that with your horror, you can read around those stories and still greatly enjoy the rest of the book.
Overall, I found Twelve Tales Lie, One Tells True to be a great read of terrifying short horror stories, perfect for any night alone with the lights down low.
Creative Team: Maria Alexander (writer)
Publisher: Ghede Press; Electronic edition published by Cemetery Dance
Click here to purchase.