Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Bottom Feeders and Other Stories

The Bottom Feeders and Other Stories -- By Aaron Polson
This review comes with a couple of disclaimers: this collection is authored by the host of Skull Salad Reviews, horror writer Aaron Polson. The second disclaimer is that I only review work that I enjoy. My aim in reviewing is to point readers to good stories in the small press.
So it's no surprise that I enjoyed this collection of dark tales. This is a collection of fourteen stories where dark things lurk under the surface of normality. Aaron is adept at creating the tales of quiet horror that I am fond of: creepy tales of escalating tension
Readers may recall that I'm a fan of flash (stories under a thousand words). 'Everything in Its place' is a weird flash story, showing who things can so easily go awry in the world of Aaron's imagination. Flash doesn't owe the reader any explanations. I like that. I enjoyed this slither of strange horror.
Cover for 'The Bottom Feeders and Other Stories'A young couple, Zach and Courtney, come to the town of Broughton's Hollow fields to claim their inheritance. I enjoyed the vivid description of the inhabitants with their waxy grey skin, their unreasonable love of the desolate land, and their tendency to express the unspoken. Zach slips easily into the ethos of the community, but pregnant Courtney is determined to fight for herself and her unborn child.  
One thing that I enjoy about horror is that it doesn't have to be fair. You never quite know where you're going to end up when you read it. I keep thinking about the unfairness of 'Brian Cullen's Confessional."  When Mark returns to Black Mountain to attend the funeral of an old friend, the events of childhood rise up and overwhelm him.  
Fourteen fine tales, of hidden horrors, mutant creatures, and strange pasts. Read the free version of The Bottom Feeders and Other Stories at Smashwords or shell out a mere 99 cents to get the full fourteen tales in the bonus edition. Recommended.

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