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Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories Paperback – March 16, 2011
About the Author
Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author. Her novels include Submerged, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, The River, Divine Intervention, and Whale Song, which New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice calls "a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart...a beautiful, haunting novel."
She is now working on her next thriller.
Cheryl also enjoys writing short stories inspired mainly by her author idol Stephen King, and this has resulted in Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories (collection of shorts) and Remote Control (novelette eBook).
In 2010 Cheryl detoured into the romance genre with her contemporary romantic suspense debut, Lancelot's Lady, written under the pen name of Cherish D'Angelo.
Booklist raves, "Tardif, already a big hit in Canada...a name to reckon with south of the border."
Cheryl's website: cherylktardif.com
Official blog: cherylktardif.blogspot.com
You can also find Cheryl Kaye Tardif on Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing, plus other social networks.
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Here's a prediction you can take to the bank! Years from now there will NOT be book clubs filled with pretentious literary scholars and horror aficionados debating over the ambiguities of the underlying moral themes of Tardif's short stories. Nobody will be penning brilliantly researched literary essays attempting to unravel the potential interpretations of a mystical ending shrouded in fog and impenetrable atmosphere. And, thank goodness for that! SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET is a thoroughly entertaining and unabashedly Canadian collection of horror shorts - a straightforward, in-your-face, goosebump raising, skin crawling creep fest with brilliantly conceived endings that, while crystal clear in their intent and meaning, typically arrive out of a shockingly distant and unforeseen left field.
Two years ago, I reviewed a brief story entitled PICTURE PERFECT when it was first published as a stand-alone Amazon short. I asked:
"Who among us couldn't identify with young Caroline? Is there even a single reader with a brother or sister who hasn't at some time or another, in a fit of intense sibling anger or jealousy, wished that his brother or sister would simply go away ... forever? Cheryl Kaye Tardif combines a unique little piece of Canadian history, the well know folk superstition about photographs stealing a person's soul and sibling rivalry into an open-ended bit of horror that turns a mirror onto every reader and causes them to shudder as they recognize themselves and their petty jealousies."
Having vowed that I would read more from this obviously talented Canadian author, I was thrilled when I discovered this collection of short stories that included my first savory sampling.
SEPARATION ANXIETY tells a tragic story of the grief of losing a child to an untimely accident and reminds us that revenge is a dish that is sometimes best never served at all! DEADLY REUNION is a chilling little tale of long lost teenage acquaintances that starts with stories of teenage angst and the cruely of bullying ending with paranormal visions and questions about fate and destiny. If a reader was as twisted as Cheryl Kaye Tardif, one might say that her endearing story, OUIJA, is about a gift that keeps on giving! There are several other stories and I was also thrilled to discover that, unlike so many other collections of this type, there is not a single piece of dead wood in the entire anthology.
I can't wait to try some of Tardif's full length novels. Highly recommended.
In her introduction to the anthology Cheryl says
My greatest desire is to get your heart pounding, to make you jump when you hear a strange sound, and to give you at least one sleepless night. If I accomplish any of these, then I've done my job.
It is hard to say which of the stories I liked best. They were all very readable and many of them had great "hooks". Here are some examples:
A Grave Error
Myrtle Murphy had everything she wanted out of life: a dead husband, a grown son who'd moved to the opposite coast and neighbors who minded their own business. But what she didn't have was money. She needed a job. At sixty-one and living off a pittance of an early retirement pension, she had no skills to fall back on. Unless you could call slipping your husband small doses of rat poison in his evening tea for over a month a skill.
The Death of an Old Cow (Myrtle Murphy Mystery #2)
Myrtle Murphy had everything she wanted out of life: except her damned mother-in-law was still breathing. And that wasn't part of the plan. The bitch should have keeled over after drinking the three cups of tea laced with arsenic. Instead, she was passed out on the couch - snoring, of all things. And alive. Myrtle scowled. The nerve of her!
I was just sitting down at my desk with a mug of nuked coffee and a week-old whole wheat bagel when the email arrived'the one that changed my life forever.
So now I'm an assassin. It's a job I'm good at. Hell, in this crappy economy, it's a job- period. Whenever I meet a potential client, there are no names exchanged. As far as they know, I have no name. I hand out silver-edged business cards that read: Pest Extermination Services of Toronto. P.E.S.T. for short. You won't find me in any phone book and the phone number on the card belongs to a throw-away cell phone.
So if you are looking for some entertaining quick reads, with macabre settings and endings, look no further.
Ouija, one of the later stories, so touches home as to be both horrifying and comical in the same breath. So many have had disconcerting moments with Ouija boards and this is quite typical of some of the legends surrounding it. I think I enjoyed Ouija and Remote Control best of this little crop of horrors with their quirky touches of humour, but the final story will chill you to the bone in its delivery! A wonderful crop of terrifying nightmares come to life, emphasizing how we so often enjoy being scared that we go out of our way to have campfire ghost stories. Well, these should give you a enough to keep you going for some time. Enjoy the shivers and always look over your shoulder...you never know who or what is lurking around you!