[Review] – Screamscapes: Tales of Terror

By Evans Light

This is a great collection of stories. Some authors just speak to you. There are a lot of great authors out there, but sometimes you (the reader) and the writer just click. I am starting to feel that with Evans Light’s writing. I can’t really explain it, but the pages of his stuff literally fly for me. I am often guilty of picking something up, reading a few pages, and having no idea what I just read. I either go back and re-read more carefully, or I just miss that part of the text. The point I am trying to make, is I don’t have that problem at all with Evans. I am keyed in with every sentence. I am more involved in the story. I am there. Like I said, I just think that some writers click for certain readers.

This book consists of ten stories over the course of three hundred pages. This book also gives you very brief, but informative, explanations of each story and their origins. Usually I skim right through that stuff to get to the next story. Not here; I was rapt. I was mesmerized. I was locked in. Maybe that clicking thing I mentioned earlier.

I will be numbering my top four.

“Crawlspace” is the first story and my favorite of the collection. It is in my top ten short stories of all time. I loved the shifts back and forth in my mind, between sympathy for the character, and then thinking he is getting what he deserves. The reveals of things he finds in that crawlspace were big; jump of the page big. The ending for me was perfect. Evans took a creepy story and ended it on the darkest note possible, in my opinion. It was horrifyingly beautiful. (#1)

“Whatever Possessed You?” is a story about a writer. A writer that finds inspiration to finish his book from an unseen, evil (?) force. Writing that line, I feel I have been here before. It’s a theme we have seen previously. This one turns the theme on its head, and goes new places, for sure. (#4)

“Gertrude” – I had read this one before in an anthology. It’s the absolute best example of a jump-scare-coming-from-the-page that I can think of. The imagery of the final scene stuck with me for a bit.

“Abroreatum” – This had a different feel, different setting than the rest of the stories. It takes place in the pioneer, western expansion of the early 1800s. I loved what it did with taking a very famous mystery from history and giving it context. We all read about it in our middle school history books. Yeah, for me, the historical and biblical significance of the story was enthralling. (#2)

“Nose Hears” – This was one of the shorter stories, and kind of humorous.

“The Mole People Beneath The City” – This is a story within a story. The main is regaling a story to people on a subway train. The build and escalation of this one is great.

“Payback” – I gotta throw you a warning on this one. We have two somewhat-friends in this story, and one of them has Asperger’s Syndrome. The other character is extremely mean to him and that gets right to the point where it is getting hard to take. Right at that moment, there is a shift and the story starts to unravel in a different direction. If you can get through the build-up, it is very fulfilling. The ending is perfect. (#3)

“Curtains For Love” – This is an extremely cool take on your standard, haunted house story.

“The Package” – This was funny as hell and a nod to Lansdale.

“Black Door” is Evans’s take on YA horror. There is some cool, slow build horror in this one.

More Light please.

Grade: 4 Stars

Review by Well Read Beard

Twitter: @WellReadBeard
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR1LRbDUnpE&t=3s

I received a copy of this book from Corpus Press for review consideration.

Published by Dead Head Reviews

Dead Head Reviews is a platform that promotes authors, publishers, film makers, and just about anyone you can think of in the horror community. They mainly focus on the book industry, but if something is horror-related, they want to get their hands on it.

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