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Shock Totem 4.5: Holiday Tales of the Macabre and Twisted - Christmas 2011 Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 168 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Matchbook Price: $0.00 What's this?
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Editorial Reviews


"The stories in Holiday Tales of the Macabre and Twisted make Silent Night, Deadly Night look approximately as gritty as The Muppets Take Manhattan." --Shroud Magazine

About the Author

Shock Totem is an American literary journal specializing in dark fantasy and horror. The debut issue was published on July 1, 2009. The publication's main goal is to promote and support new and established authors by focusing primarily on fiction, but also through nonfiction articles and interviews (called "conversations").

Product Details

  • File Size: 1319 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Shock Totem Publications (December 20, 2013)
  • Publication Date: December 20, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00695SL8I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #760,455 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This issue of Shock Totem brings together eight short stories, as well as eleven short trips down memory lane with various authors sharing their Christmas memories--twisted and macabre as they might be. It starts off with a story by Mercedes M. Yardley called "Heartless" that is just all the way disturbing, about a heartbroken woman who finds a demon in her bed and she is too lonely to wish it away.

K. Allen Wood's "Streamer of Silver, Ribbon of Red" is a story that starts off with a sinister sense of humor. I mean, the villain is a homicidal clown dressed up as Santa--come on. The story plays out through the clown's point of view, which I had my doubts about, but as it played out it became clear that the story just wouldn't work any other way. And the payoff had a mischievous Hitchcock feel to it.

My favorite story is a relatively short piece called "Tinsel" by John Boden. I'll simply sum up my thoughts on this tale by saying stories of loss and loneliness don't always resonate as well as this one. Well done.

There's a couple other stories that offer some snow-dappled scares like Kevin J Anderson's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Get You!" and Robert J. Duperre's "One Good Turn." As for the holiday memories, they were like bonus interludes between the stories. Jennifer Pelland's had one of those childhood memories that echoes something from my past, while I'd say Mark Allen Gunnells had one of the more charming stories.

Honestly, I would have been perfectly happy to trade the memories from more fiction, but I'm not complaining. It's a nice slice of holiday hellscape wrapped with a pretty red ribbon--and dripping with blood. Happy holidays!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Culturally, we tend to adopt a dualist approach to the holiday season, bookending our naughty/nice deliberations between those representative yin-yang extremes of the color spectrum, Black Friday and White Christmas. Perhaps this is the kind of simplicity we need to get through the Exodus-rivaling travel, wallet-flogging, and family intrigue, not to mention all the trite, overdone bitching over department store Christmas muzak casually rattled off ad nauseam--as if buying toilet paper to the strains of Kelly Clarkson's latest breakup anthem back in October had been some kind of transcendental, edifying experience! Which is to say, amidst yuletide chaos tradition is employed as a small oasis, and we seize upon it for whatever serenity it can offer us.

Now imagine you're standing next to the tinsel-festooned tree in your mother's living room, nursing a second eggnog and wondering how long you can resist those Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sugar cookies. The Burl Ives is on repeat and you're smiling and nodding even though you haven't picked up a goddamned word Uncle Ralph has been laying down lo these last forty-five minutes.

Screw it, you say to yourself, Rudolph can light the way down my esophagus for him and his whole gang.

Ralphie finally pauses to take a breath and you make an escape speedy enough to rival those epicene teenage vampires that are all the rage these days. You've almost reached the dessert spread when the sound of breaking glass stops you in your tracks. A fat man in a crimson suit lined with white fur waves jollily through a shattered windowpane then thrusts an industrial sized nozzle into the room.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my third Shock Totem read. I picked them up last year on a giveaway and they kinda hang out on my kindle amounst many others I have not got a chance to read. In this issue Jack Ketcum makes an appearance with a poem we wrote on Christmas Day 1969. Below is my favorites with a small review.

Yardley writes a christmas ghost story. After losing her husband a young woman is morning the lost. Losing weight but by her side a figure with no heart beat but it feels like the love of her husband. Find out who she is cuddling with in this creepy whimsical horror. 3.5 Stars

K Allen Wood tells a tale of a clown dressed in a Santa outfit. Trying to gain a fortune with failed attempts for his Christmas holiday. Another reason why kids are afraid of CLOWNS! 5 Stars

Kevin Anderson gives us milk and cookies to die for. With a spooky tale told by an older brother to his younger brother. Santa only comes for the bad kids. 5 Stars.

Robert Duperre brings the Christmas feast to the table with a like father like son tale. But Dorian gets the unwanted unwrapping. A great twist. 4 stars.
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I don't tend to go for holiday themed anything, but being a big fan of Shock Totem already I decided to give this a whirl. I am so glad that I did. The whole issue is a stand out, but in particular, Mercedes Murdock Yardley's story is brilliant and if John Boden's "Tinsel" doesn't break your heart, then you don't have one! Seriously. It's heart-breaking. Also, if you hate clowns as much as I do (and I really, REALLY HATE CLOWNS!), you're going to love K. Allen Wood's "Streamer of Silver, Ribbon of Red." That's a guarantee. More quality work from the team at Shock Totem.
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