“The Shadow Over His Mouth” by Aidan Doyle is published in Diabolical Plots Fiction Issue 29B on 17th of July 2017 Synopsis: Barry Lovecraft, a food blogger, visits Eastern Europe and writes his critiques online for the Dracula castle and sea food restaurants or hotels he tries out. People start disappearing and he finds himself in a pickle. Analysis: A mix of Dracula and Cthulhu mythos with a dash of comedy. The blogger could have been a real blogger – oblivious to what’s happening around him. It’s always fun to see how reality can be disturbed by horrific elements that the character doesn’t acknowledge. It can be seen also as a criticism on the current trend of our use of social networks and blogging, specially when we are too focused to get a photograph of our soon to be gone meal. There are enough points and puns in the story that can cause laughs or smirks.
The short story “Barrette Girls” by Sara Saab was published on the 3rd issue of liminal stories on spring / summer 2017. Synopsis: In “Barrette Girls”, Sunday with the help of Andrew guides a group of girls to a secret destination. Andrew has second thoughts about what they are doing while Sunday is remembering her past relationships. Analysis: Sara Saab reveals gradually the nature of the characters’ lives. We enter a future world which would be described as a utopia by the oblivious observer. But what happens behind the curtains of this world paints a grim picture of our future civilization. How long will the staff reason with their consciousness? Sunday learns to get used to it. As people are used to it nowadays but that doesn’t mean that the process wouldn’t have an impact in an unconscious psychological level. Or in a level that we don’t want to acknowledge and maybe see only in our nightmares. That’s how the author tricks us and take us by the hand as Sunday takes the girls by their hand and we can only be suspicious of what’s going on until it’s too late. A sense of unfamiliarity and uneasiness underlines the story…
This is the review of “You Will Always Have Family: A Triptych” by Kathleen Kayembe, published in Nightmare Magazine’s March 2017 Issue. Summary: Isobelle is visiting her Uncle for the summer break. An Uncle who is consumed by superstition and fear. That’s why Isobelle doesn’t believe him when he says that the strange noises that come from her cousin’s bedroom belong to a pet dog. Pros: + The supernatural horror here plays a secondary role to the reason that cause it. The real horror is what people can do when they give in to superstition. + The well-drawn characters. +The emotional ending. Cons: – The shift between three different perspectives might reduce the tension of the story for some readers. You can read the story here.
This is the review for “Laal Andhi” by Usman T. Malik , published as a reprint in Nightmare Magazine’s September 2016 Issue. Summary: The narrator and three of his friends engage in a dark game in an attempt to give their childhood a second chance in magic and poetry and to escape the true horrors that loom over Lahore. But the horrors catch up to them in the most horrible way and so does Laal Andhi, The Crimson Storm. Pros: + The supernatural events in juxtaposition with the real terrorism and chaos of the country. + The well-drawn characters. + The unusual and diverse setting. Cons: – The detailed descriptions of place and the confusing timeline might detract from the horror build up. You can read the story here.
This is the review for “The Blood Drip” by Brian Evenson, published as a reprint in Nightmare Magazine’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: Karsten and Nils are trying to enter a city in order to survive since the woods haven’t been easy to live in. They are driven off with stones which might or might not have killed Nils. Karsten decides to stay and help his friend. What happens afterwards is the stuff of nightmares. Pros: + The creeping darkness. + The build up. + The unreliable narrator. Cons: – The openness of interpretation might annoy some readers. You can read the story here.
This is the review for “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by Dale Bailey, published in Nightmare Magazine’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: When the first victim of a teenage werewolf appears at the school gym of Rockdale High, the rumors amongst the teenagers spread like wildfire. What also spread are the parents’ fear and some sort of morbid excitement on student’s behalf. The prom night is approaching at Rockdale High and it’s time for the masks to fall. Pros: + The buildup or atmosphere and mystery right until the ending. + The social and existential commentary. +The use of character’s from the classic movie. Cons: – It was in some ways a predictable ending. -The characters didn’t feel as real as I would like them too. (Maybe they were never real anyway.) You can read the story here