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Shock Totem 3: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted Kindle Edition
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Okay, on to the fiction.
With this third issue of ST, they managed to pack even more stories in its pages than the two previous editions. Things kick off with a nasty little road story from Tim Lieder called "Bop Kabala and Communist Jazz." It's an unsettling little tale with a wheel man a self-styled preacher--of sorts--and a pretty little hitchhiker. From there, things got pretty grim. John Haggerty's "The Meat Forest" is a prison break story set in a Russian landscape that is about as unforgiving as any inmate's nightmare. The characters try to traverse a forest that requires them to always move, never stop, or else they will wind up like the rest of the poor souls who stopped along the way and became just another piece of the Meat Forest.
"Drift" by Amanda C. Davis is another standout story, a child's fear of the snow outside. "The snow is made of bugs," said Caden: that's how the story starts, and by god, the creepiness just ramps up and up as the mother tries to console her child and ease her own paranoia. Aaron Polson's "Wanting It" is another one that does a good job of squeezing every bit of atmosphere out of a story idea, with two friends and their obsession with ghosts and local legends, and wanting them just a little too much. I also liked the funhouse mirror that was Joseph Green's "Stitched," though I thought the title was a little on the nose.
I don't really have to press on in my praise for ST, do I? If you've read any of them, you ought know already, and if you haven't then you're missing out. There's thirteen stories, two interviews, Mercedes' essay, and more. There's bound to be something you horror fans enjoy.
Drift by Amanda C. Davis
"The snow has eyes" another reason I hate snow. A little boys cry for help during the beginning of winter. Beware! Awesome tale of disappearance.
John Skipp's "Worm Central Tonite!" A story from a worms perspective on how he and his fellow creepy crawling friends feast on the dead. Skipp definitely puts the nail in the coffin.
"Duval Street" by Mackenzie Larsen
A tour of the bleached white teeth. Hollywood's finest homes. What could possibly go wrong? Great Read!
"Mr. Many Faces" by S. Clayton Rhodes. A man loves his alcohol more than his family. A very awesome twist that will leave you wowed.
Midway through Shock Totem 3, I read "Drift" by Amanda C. Davis. This story captured me with its very natural, very realistic portrayal of a child. The descriptions brought to mind images of my own little brother and so when tragedy struck (as it always does), it was doubly painful. Amanda managed to take what seemed like a normal winter day and just bury me in her imagination, wording and originality.
"A Birth in the Year of the Miracle Plague" by Jeremy Kelly also fascinated me. It had such a subtle and original take on a well-known fantasy subject (I don't wish to spoil it, so I will not say more) and strong, meaningful characters.
All in all, I found nothing to displease in Shock Totem issue 3. I look forward to reading #2 next!