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Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction Paperback – March 29, 2017
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-Not a squall, not a blizzard ... It's a pulp horror AVALANCHE! That's Kenneth W. Cain's new collection, Embers.---Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award(R) winner
-Collections such as this are the reason that, even after 45 years, I still enjoy reading horror!---Douglas Draa, Editor of Weirdbook Magazine
-Kenneth W. Cain's imagination is on full display here. He will take you by the hand, lead you into the darkest places, and you'll be thanking him every harrowing step of the way. A bright new talent in horror.---Ben Eads, author of CRACKED SKY
-With prose that is sometimes poignant, sometimes unsettling, but always incredibly dark, Kenneth W. Cain takes readers on a macabre journey with the smouldering burn of 'Embers.' A master of weaving tales around seemingly simple premises and ordinary situations with every day folk, Cain never fails to turn a story on its head and deliver a long-lasting sting. You'll need some genuine embers to warm you after this, for some of these tales will chill you to the core.---JIM GOFORTH, author of PLEBS and THE SLEEP
"Not a squall, not a blizzard ... It's a pulp horror AVALANCHE! That's Kenneth W. Cain's new collection, Embers."--Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award(R) winner
"Collections such as this are the reason that, even after 45 years, I still enjoy reading horror!"--Douglas Draa, Editor of Weirdbook Magazine
"Kenneth W. Cain's imagination is on full display here. He will take you by the hand, lead you into the darkest places, and you'll be thanking him every harrowing step of the way. A bright new talent in horror."--Ben Eads, author of CRACKED SKY
"With prose that is sometimes poignant, sometimes unsettling, but always incredibly dark, Kenneth W. Cain takes readers on a macabre journey with the smouldering burn of 'Embers.' A master of weaving tales around seemingly simple premises and ordinary situations with every day folk, Cain never fails to turn a story on its head and deliver a long-lasting sting. You'll need some genuine embers to warm you after this, for some of these tales will chill you to the core."--JIM GOFORTH, author of PLEBS and THE SLEEP
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This is, based on the most extreme horror people can face, actually what it says on the cover: a collection of dark fiction. And very dark it can be. Different worlds where humans have to live, weather phenomena, monsters, every thing dark in the genre.
These stories are like nothing I’ve ever encountered before. However, they do touch on my very deepest fears: caves, crabs (I was literally cornered by a crab when I was 12 or so until my auntie came to my rescue. I am not kidding when I say that crab fed three of us until bursting), slime, and birds to mention a few. I could not read this book as I usually read: with only my Fire as light because I’ve kept my husband up enough with all the lights on in the house before I could sleep. I’ve overcome that to a great degree, but I needed the bedroom light on to read this book. Although Goodreads shows me as starting this book in March, I actually read it in one fell swoop on April 3rd.
I give it five stars for the creep factor.
•"Gone": a lost child is every parent's worst nightmare, and this one has a really great Twilight Zone vibe.
•"Blackbird's Breath": one of several bird-themed stories, this one is sad and frustrating and disturbing all at once.
•"Valerie's Window": just what does Valerie see outside? Monsters, or simply the normal world? It's never clear, but if you're familiar with some of the past decade's kidnapping-related news stories, this is especially creepy.
•"Closer": a man attempts to reconcile with his father, even though he detests what he's doing. Terrific twist ending!
•"A Window To Dream By": possibly the story I like best, because every man needs a Lovecraftian romantic obsession in his life. Even if she has tentacles. Especially if she has tentacles.
Altogether, these stories made for a good unsettling read. Highly recommended!
The prose is simple without being simplistic. It reads with ease. In a literary world full of short story collections, this one stands above the fray. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Things get off to a great start with Chamber. This is a story set after the second world war. In this tale, something lurks within the darkness of a gas chamber and a soldier haunted by his past returns and comes face-to-face with an unimaginable, supernatural horror. Second story, Valerie’s Window is a zombie story! Oh no, not another zombie story I hear you cry…but, don’t worry, Cain’s Z’s are background to what is happening inside of a house where a woman is being held prisoner. I thought this story was very good. I’m not a zombie fan at all, but this story worked well for me and it was tough work in deciding whether Valerie was better off inside the house or out!
And so things continue with some good and some excellent short stories. Cain’s characters often deal with loss, so there is a grim atmosphere lingering through most of the tales, much to my delight. There are tales with strong Lovecraft influences, a little Ray Bradbury here and there and even a sprinkling of Poe. Cain’s stories don’t outstay their welcome; they are short and sharp which works well for the most part, though on occasion I did wish for a little more depth. Towards the end of the collection I found myself really enjoying Breathing Cave, a claustrophobic story if ever there was one and The Bad Men, which is a nice mix of science fiction and horror. Overall, most of the stories in the book elicited some sort of positive response from me.
Sadly, the collection ended with a bit of a whimper and I didn’t much care for Strip Poker, Crabs and Blue Women or particularly The Benefit of Being Weighty, though after reading the authors notes, I can see why the latter was included and perhaps why it is the final story in the collection, owing to its personal connection with the author. The market is flooded with short story collections and I sincerely hope that Cain’s Embers finds an audience as he has a strong voice and an obvious writing ability. A really good collection overall.
4/5 logs for the fire
Most recent customer reviews
Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction features twenty-five stories. In any collection of this size, there are bound to be some hits and some misses along the...Read more