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Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss Paperback – October 8, 2015
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With some shame I will admit I had to look up a few words. If you enjoy a little challenge while you read, this is a good story for you.
I also enjoyed Cold Spot and Grim Reaper, very creative.
Review: When it comes to reviewing an anthology there are always going to be stories which are stronger and stories which are weaker. So I’ll try to give an overview of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Overall the writing shown by this group of authors ranges from very good to excellent. They know how to paint a scene and have a talent for wordsmithing. There were places where I was honestly creeped out or chilled, and in a paranormal story that’s something I want.
I also enjoyed the creativity of the stories as different aspects of the great beyond and the creatures which are related. There were enough different mythologies and creatures that I never felt like I was just reading the same old ghost story over and over again.
A weakness for me was the plotting and pacing of a lot of the stories. While paranormal often embraces the unanswered question it needs to do so in a way which is still satisfying, which means enough unanswered to make you look over your shoulder, but enough answered to get your imagination going. Overall the plotting ranged between mediocre and very good, but at no point was I completely sold, and I really wanted to be.
I found the overall editing of the book really sloppy, and this isn’t something I often comment on, but especially in short story, and even MORE so in paranormal, the editing needs to be tight and accurate. I found errors with words which were correctly spelled but the wrong word in context and other basic errors, which I hope were fixed in the final version. As well this volume features non US authors with non US spellings which felt like errors because they are inconsistent within the volume and not familiar to many readers. I would like to have seen the publisher choose a standard and stick to it across the entire anthology.
The last frustrating thing I must bring up is the content of the first story. I pondered a lot about including this at all, but I found it disturbing enough that I feel it would not be an honest review without bringing it up. Of Mice and Monsters deals heavily with domestic abuse, continuing violence and the nature of redemption and the ending is in no way fulfilling or honest to the experience. Instead I found it very upsetting and, frankly, insulting to anyone who has lived through abuse. I question the decision to include it in the book at all, particularly as the first story in the volume which is usually a flagship story. If I had picked this book up cold I may not have continued to read, and that would have been a shame because I would have missed out on the pieces which I honestly enjoyed.
In the end I’m left with liking the anthology over all and readers will find a lot of good there, especially if they like a spine tingling chill.
I was given a pre-release copy in exchange for an honest review.
I found a couple that were predictable, and others that I thought needed fleshed out more, something that you just can't always do in a short story, and some that I really liked. I hesitate to reveal too much, since they are short stories sometimes even a synopsis ventures into spoiler territory.
Overall I would recommend the collection to anyone that enjoys stories of the paranormal.