This anthology contains thirty-one stories that will make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. Come along for a trip to the rural areas of America where folklore becomes reality, to the brightly lit cities where demons await, and then travel to the ghost town that is Chernobyl. Each story takes you on a creepy journey where nothing is as it seems.
It is not often that you read an anthology and are unable to pick out several stories that just do not work. Typically the nature of a collection is that some stories are good, others not so much. With Breaths in Winter, I enjoyed every story. I think the reasons I like them so much is the creativity and originality and the many unexpected twists and turns. These are not stories that have been done a thousand different ways. Each is a unique and compelling glimpse into a world we do not want to be a part of but cannot help but look.
A few of my favorites:
Under A Blanket OF Blue: Sam Clark just wants to save his wife and child but a virus has changed the woman he loves into a voracious killer. Now he must fight against all he holds dear to survive.
This is a bleak story where emotions run deep. The lengths Sam must go to are horrifying and unconscionable. This is a graphic, disturbing story that allows us to imagine the loneliness and heartache when all you love has been lost.
Excerpt: “Sam Clark knew he’d kept her locked in that back bedroom too long when she began to eat chunks of her own face. Pinched off with ragged nails, and when he peered in through the keyhole at her, he could see the hard white flashes of sharp cheekbone stark against her dusky complexion. She had taken her own top lip first off and was now wearing this awful permanent grin. Her speech was odd, like a person who had been loaded with Novocain. Her teeth were stained with her own blood.”
Twilight Poison: Lauren returns to the rural mountains to visit her granny, who has always regaled her with tales of times past, stories that Lauren doubts hold truth but are entertaining none the less. But this time the tale she hears is different and she wonders if she should fear the little old woman who speaks of a boy with a monster inside, a monster that craves flesh.
Excerpt: “Abortion after the fact, that’s what it was,” the old woman said, rocking her chair back gently. Beneath her the ancient porch floor, warped with weather and time screeched a lonesome cry. “A termination of motherhood,” she continued. “Hell, seventeen years and mothering never got any easier. But then nobody ever said it would. Bear that in mind, little girl.”
The Dancing Water: Two siblings play in the shadow of Chernobyl, unaware of the danger that will forever alter their lives. This is a haunting story that while incredibly jarring is lyrically beautiful. It is a poignant tale of love and loss and grants us a look inside a world where the veil between life and death is torn and ghosts roam freely.
This is an anthology that I will revisit again and I recommend for those who love paranormal stories but also to those who appreciate original, well-written fiction.
- Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: lulu.com (December 3, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0557734118
- ISBN-13: 978-0557734115