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Dread: A Horror Collection Paperback – August 7, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Shah Wharton is a British freelance ghostwriter and author of dark fiction. Her late father introduced her to the dark side, to the power of words, and to zombie horror movies when far too young. All of which led her to a deep appreciation of storytelling, and to a lifetime love of dark literature and the horror genre. Mental illness runs in her family, and Shah was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2005. An advocate for mental health awareness, she speaks out on the issue, candidly. Shah relaxes by watching a dark themed drama, sipping a glass of bold red wine, while snuggling on the sofa with her husband and their two rescue dogs. Currently, Shah is enhancing her creative and professional skills at university, studying for her Masters in Creative Writing. Watch for more at http://shahwharton.com
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Before we begin, a disclaimer: The author gave me a kindle copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. With that said, I feel that these are my honest thoughts on the book.
Dread is a collection of three short horror stories, each one dealing with the concept of an apocalypse. The first story, A Slow Burn, deals with Bernie who finds herself awakening under a bed with dead partygoers all around her. The second story, Rosa & Bella’s Journal of Decline, deals with a mother trying to raise her baby during what seems to be a nuclear apocalypse. The final story, The Dead Party, deals with the dead coming back to life….in order to seize control of the U.K. parliament. Now what makes each story unique is the shift in both tone and style. A Slow Burn is perhaps the more traditional zombie apocalypse story of the bunch, albeit with a few twists. It, like the name suggests, builds up in suspense while still managing to have moments of levity. And while I did not necessarily find the twist ending surprising per se, I did find the ending satisfying because it does drop clues as to what is going to happen.
The second tale, Rosa’s & Bella’s Journal of Decline, is definitely the more introspective story in the collection. And while it is difficult to go in-depth with the story in part due to spoilers, it is a well-written story dealing with the concept of postpartum depression and having to deal with supporting a child without someone aiding and assisting you. Rosa, the mother, tries her best to care for her daughter while ignoring her growing loneliness and madness. Part of the horror comes from the fact that she knows that she is losing herself to madness and worries that she may hurt her daughter. Couple that with the isolation of the undefined apocalypse, and it makes for a compelling story.
The last story, The Dead Party, is the funniest story of the compilation. This is in part due to it being more of a political satire with horror leanings. The main character, Sharon, finds herself in a world turned upside down. The dead came back to life, to take control of U.K. parliament. And they were voted in by 90% of the populace. What makes the story good political satire is that Sharon is apathetic to everything. At one point, she states that the current situation was not her fault as she did not vote nor did she speak out against the zombies in public and does not seem all that interested in politics. Even in spite of the changes the zombies make, with the most blatant being to mandate people to join the party. And note, one of the requirements of joining the party is that you have to be dead. And even when her neighbors start to rebel, Sharon does not see the point in doing so, hoping for someone else to take care of it. And yet despite this, Sharon as a character still feels sympathetic. Or sympathetic enough that you still want her to survive given that the alternative is to be eaten.
All in all, a pretty good compilation of stories.