Author: Julia Benally (Twitter/Facebook/Amazon/Goodreads)
Reading time: 6-8 minutes
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Much like the main character in Julia Benally's "Headlights" you'll find yourself breathless after reading it.
One of the things I really enjoy about the short story form is that you tend to get dropped in the middle of the action, rather than reading page after page of backstory. Man, does this story have action.
Without divulging too much of the plot, the story is essentially one long chase between the main character in the story and some mysterious form, one whose presence is indicated by strange headlights that seem to follow her where ever she goes or tries to hide.
You feel the character's innocence through the writing, and the tension builds at just the right pace. Will you ever find out what the form is and why she's being chased? Well, you have to read the story to find out, and it's well worth the handful of minutes it will take you to get from beginning to end of this one.
Reviewer's Note: This story originally appeared in The Horror Zine in July 2018. You can get Julia's book, "Pariahs (Ilings)" on Amazon.
Author: Amr Nasser (Smashwords/Twitter)
Reading time: 8-10 minutes
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
The beauty of language and description is on full display in Amr Nasser's The Chant. You will find yourself quickly immersed in the setting, reading on not only to solve the mystery presented in the first few lines of the story, but also to experience the rich language that brings life to the story.
There is an eerie sense that something is not quite right almost from the beginning of the story, the author does a fine job of building the suspense as you continue. I personally enjoy when an author leaves you with as many questions as they answer, and this story definitely falls into that category. There are many things to enjoy about this story, and even if you end up not liking it, you'll likely find yourself reading to the end anyhow, because the author does such a wonderful job building toward a climax.
Reading Time: approx. 20 minutes
Author: Holly Jane (Wattpad/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I will be the first to admit that horror is not among my favorite genres. But to give Jingle Hells a fair shake, I decided to look at it from a different perspective.
First, the presentation style is akin to something you'd find in Bram Stoker's Dracula, where the narrative is pieced together by diary entries. It's an effective method, especially for first-person narration, as it brings you "along for the ride". You're experiencing the events and emotions along with the character. This story does well in this facet.
In terms of the plot, there are times where you can sense what's coming, though the author tangles you up a little with some twists and turns. I have read stories that try too hard to throw you off the trail and end up being nonsense. This story isn't one of those, though I did find myself wanting just a few more facts to get a more satisfying conclusion. At times you may find yourself chuckling at some of the diary entries. It could be intentional humor by the writer, or perhaps my own habit at scoffing at some of the implausible things that tend to happen in horror stories.
Generally, it's a somewhat lighthearted frolic through the horror genre.
My picks are a collection of reviews from fellow short story authors. I've tried to procure stories from different genres, from a wide variety of authors. Most importantly, you'll know how long it will take you to finish reading them.
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