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The Monster Within Idea: A Story Collection [Kindle Edition]

R. Thomas Riley
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The monsters lurk in everyone: monsters of greed, of guilt, of the pleasure found in pain, of the pain found when pleasure dies. Carefully disguised, the monsters can sit down beside you or take up residence within you at the slightest twist of fate. Will you try to stop them? Will you want to?

This collection of 18 stories from R. Thomas Riley deftly explores the monsters born of the human mind. “Attrition” offers a future prison system that frees only those who repent sincerely—but what can an inmate do if he finds that sincerity is not really the key? “Twin Thieves” and “Tautology” throw a devilish spin on relationships gone wrong, while “The Lesser Evil” twists the abuses of race and power into a gritty, noirish nightmare of the choices a man must make to protect a lesser man and a greater good. In “Touching God,” a young man’s past catches up to him when worlds bleed into each other and the past crosses into present, bringing back the abuse he once escaped and the brother who wasn’t so lucky.
Sacrifice, selfishness, and the worst of good intentions: all combine in The Monster Within Idea. From vampires and aliens to hit women and Wild Bill Hickock, Riley gives a subtle psychological turn to dark science fiction and horror. Let the monsters walk the paths of your mind. The idea is already within.

“Riley is dark and disturbing. The Monster Within Idea pulled me into his horrific world and I loved every minute of it.”
—John Grover, author of Space Stations and Graveyards, A Beckoning of Shadows and the upcoming Angels, Ashes and Alchemy

“The Monster Within Idea is a fun ride, dark, disturbing and well written. Riley started off strong and is only getting stronger. Highly recommended!”
—James A. Moore, author of Deeper and Cherry Hill

“A natural storyteller with a concise voice, R. Thomas Riley truly entertains in this collection. Unsettling at times, truly compelling, Riley’s moody & wild tales kick hard and crank the appetite for more.”
—Steven L. Shrewsbury, author of Hawg, Tormentor and Godforsaken

“R. Thomas Riley is a rising star. When you see those zombie and vampires digging their way up from the grave, and you see that hand break the surface of the earth, the backdrop a tombstone, you see one on his way up--that's a guy named R. Thomas Riley.” — Robert W. Walker, Kindle Bestselling author of more than 40 novels, including the Instinct series and Edge series

“With the eponymous story [ R. Thomas Riley ] manages to create, in just four short pages, what Stephen King tried to hard (and ultimately failed) to do with The Colorado Kid, an utterly captivating yet completely unsolvable mystery that doesn’t resort to any cheap cop-outs. Concise, confident and bewildering as all holy f*%@, this is how to do it. A pure experience of paranoia and horror of the truest Lovecraftian sense, this bastard kicked my ass all the way to next Tuesday.”
— Anton Cancre

“Creepy, visceral and evocative stories than make you grin while your skin puckers in goose bumps. They lead you to the edge of the precipice and then drop you over to a satisfying conclusion—be it a sudden crash at the end or the revelation of wings.”
 —Jennifer Brozek—editor of The Edge of Propinquity

“…You’ll find yourself tearing through this book as if your life depended on it…”
K.D. Payne

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

R. Thomas Riley, an active member of ITW, is an internationally published author (print/digital media) living in the distant lands of North Dakota. His short story collection The Monster Within Idea (2009-2011) was published by Apex Publications. If God Doesn’t Show co-written with John Grover will be published by Permuted Press in 2012 and released as an audio book from Flesh of Fallen Angels co-written with Roy C. Booth will be published by Grand Mal Press in 2012. Diaphanous co-written with Roy C. Booth is available now. The Day Lufberry Won It All was adapted to short film by Frosty Moon Omnimedia in 2010. Riley is also the co-founder of KOTANORTH Films. You can visit his web home at

Product Details

  • File Size: 363 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1468031066
  • Publisher: MinnKota Publications; 2nd edition (December 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006IYGGB4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,179 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Written with a strong and enthralling voice September 10, 2010
The Monster Within Idea is a horrific, heart-felt, and hopeful collection of short fiction that explores what lies within us all: the monster. Riley's ability to toy with us psychologically affords the reader little protest by creating people--not characters--faced with relatable dilemmas and odds just as uncertain as the reality in which they exist. Each story in the collection is a real treat for the imagination and the diversity is sure to please. Standouts are:

"Touching God", two young brothers endure a life of pain from a father who enjoys abusing them. In hushed whispers, they contemplate escaping and going away. To where? It wouldn't really matter. But James wonders when the abuse becomes more frequent, and his brother spends more time with his toy train-set in the basement. "It's a secret" his brother promises him, and it's a big one.

"Twin Thieves", Milton would do anything to have his wife back. Their marriage, at first wonderful, somehow took a turn for the worse. His mind is bent on what exactly went wrong as it rifles through memory after memory of bliss; longing to find that moment of understanding. Once discovering a way to augment this, Milton plays guinea-pig to the incessant dilemma of forgetting today in favor of what was and what could be.

"Bubo", Darrel walks into a bar looking for someone only spoken of in whispers: Bubo, with a problem only he can solve. Darrel has cancer and it is only a matter of time before the inevitable happens. Can the coldest of hearts pay a price even Darrel regrets? And once made, what happens to his cancer?

The Day Lufberry Won It All", in a distant, dystopian future, Lufberry walks into a bar hoping to hustle someone for money at a game of Pool.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The good stories are really good. March 3, 2009
I am of two minds about this anthology, "The Monster Within Idea," edited by R. Thomas Riley, from Apex Publications. On one hand, I really liked it. On the other hand, it really frustrated me. The good stories, like "Touching God," "Jenny," "Haven," "The Run," "Bubo" and "Brittle Bones, Plastic Skin" are really excellent stories. Creepy, visceral and evocative stories than make you grin while your skin puckers in goose bumps. They lead you to the edge of the precipice and then drop you over to a satisfying conclusion--be it a sudden crash at the end or the revelation of wings.

The other stories are not bad stories. Far from it and that is why I am frustrated. I believe this is a stylistic choice by the editor (who does a good job putting the stories together in a way that makes them flow), but many of the stories seemed to be chapters 4 through 6 of an eight chapter story. They don't have satisfying conclusions. They are well written, draw you in and then leave you hanging. The most frustrating of these stories is the first story of the book, "Attrition." It stops too soon. I want to know if the protagonist makes into and through the tunnel. I want to know what he goes through. Instead, I am left with knowing he is going to go through it but not knowing if he makes it or not.

I give this anthology a 3 out of 5 because the strong stories are enough to pull the reader through the stories that stop too soon. There is no bad writing in this anthology. Just a few too-short stories mixed amongst the gems.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good mix of monsters May 28, 2009
The Monster Within Idea, R. Thomas Riley's collection from Apex Publications is an exploration of monsters in all their various forms, supernatural and dark, beneficial and very, very malicious.

"Attrition" the first tale in this collection, is the story of an incarcerated man who is preparing for his release day. To be free all he has to do is walk out, where a vicious tunnel will either deem him worthy of being a part of society, or turn his sentence into a self-fulfilling death penalty.

"Touching God" is a surreal story of two boys trying to escape a personal darkness, only to find that something follows them back to the mundane world. A story of family tragedy, it's heavily character based with an open ending that implies the worst is yet to come. Continuing with a child's point of view, "Too Little" tells another short, dark story of victimization and revenge in a lilting, almost playful tone.

"Jenny" is the tale of a jealous lover, a woman who will possess or punish the man she loves. It's a little too obvious, but a darkly amusing addition to the collection.

"Perfect" also uses a very female point of view, as a woman obsessed with body image imagines that as she airbrushes models' pictures she also cleans them of their other flaws. If only she could fix her own life as easily.

The next two tales are both zombies stories. "Haven" is a wholly depressing story of a boy who is trying to get to his older sister after a zombie uprising. After days of traveling and barely surviving, he reaches the hospital where his sister works in the maternity ward, which has been overrun with zombie infants. As is often found in zombie tales the desolation is overwhelming and there can really only be one end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars AN UNEXPECTED, THRILLING RIDE!!
WOW!!!! I am completely and utterly blown away by this Anthology by R. Thomas Riley!!!!!! It's almost impossible to describe each story without taking up your time, so please just... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bubba's Mom & Dad
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Hated this book it did not keep my interest in reading, sorry.
Published 4 months ago by Svara
3.0 out of 5 stars Good collection, poor proofreading
Many of these horror stories are excellent. I don't know if the typos and grammatical errors are a result of the Kindle edition or not, but they are especially noticeable in the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Capulet
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 7 months ago by peglegsc
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best anthologies ever!
This book is truly one of the most unique, memorable and scary horror anthologies I've ever read. Most anthologies have one or two gems, but the rest of the stories are average. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Janiera
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I really liked this book of short stories. I loved how there was no sugar coating with it. The author took you to dark places and did it very we'll. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky
Quirky, scary, interesting stories. I only hope that the happenings in these creepy stories is not becoming reality in the real world.
Published 12 months ago by GrammaSue
2.0 out of 5 stars The Monster Within Idea - review
This book is a group of "Over the edge" suspenseful stories. It will keep you on edge as you read it. I just wish the stories were longer.
Published 23 months ago by Sherry B. Greene
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
A very nice collection of short stories, guaranteed to make you think. You just might want to be careful reading it late at nite!
Published on February 7, 2013 by Otey McCrory
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
Glad I didn't pay for this. Total waste of time. Seems to be a collection of really amatuer, badly written stories.
Published on February 5, 2013 by Snow Bunny
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More About the Author

R. Thomas Riley is the author of the short story collection THE MONSTER WITHIN IDEA (2009-2011) published by Hugo Nominated Apex Publications and garnered a Best Horror of the Year Honorable Mention, for his story TOO LITTLE. The collection was re-released as a Kindle exclusive in 2011 and on January 14, 2013; the collection reached the Top 100 Paid Bestseller list in the Horror category. To date, the collection has been downloaded nearly 50,000 times on Kindle and is also available as in Paperback and Audiobook.

Independent publisher, specializing in apocalyptic fiction, Permuted Press and published IF GOD DOESN'T SHOW - A Gibson Blount Novel (co-written with John Grover) in August 2012. THE FLESH OF FALLEN ANGELS - A Gibson Blount Novella (co-written with Roy C. Booth) was published by Grand Mal Press in February 2012. DIAPHANOUS (co-written with Roy C. Booth) is available now on Kindle, Paperback, and Audiobook.

OF FLESH AND SKIN: A DARKER EROTIC COLLECTION (co-written with Lisa McCarthy) was released March 2013. Frosty Moon Omnimedia adapted THE DAY LUFBERRY WON IT ALL (screenplay by Roy C. Booth and John F. Mollard) to short film in 2010.

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