Using his imagination and perspective, Tim Newton Anderson offers up this collection of 20 short stories with attributes of fantasy and the paranormal.
The collection opens with the amusing fantasy that cats (and dogs and other living creatures) are fashioned by guilds of artisans at a commissioned price. “The Cat Factory” is also a cautionary tale about appreciating things that aren’t perfect and, perhaps, to be mindful of what our cats might be conspiring to do.
“Angel House” bands together a group of people who are along in life for one reason or another – the death of a loved one, self-deprecation, substance abuse – and faces them with the prospect of seeing angels after taking tainted diet pills.
Each story examines human nature through the experimentation of free imagination, letting go of the laws of physics, nature, and even society to test the morality of human nature.
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Souls are sent to Heaven and Hell everyday, but sometimes a soul is sent in the wrong direction. A dedicated group of specialists possess the skills to go after those lost souls and bring them back from Hell. However, the task is anything but easy.
Sent to find a young girl’s soul, Getter wades through the ever-changing modes of Hell using a half-magical, half-technological tool known as a Finder. Along the way, he joins a fellow Retriever named Sneaker and an old-timer known as Destiny. While trying to get their jobs complete and make it our of Hell alive-the place is rife with demons and dangerous soul-eating creatures-they discover that the realm of the Underworld is close to an upheaval of power. Mephisto is gunning for Satan’s throne.
The construction of the book is complicated. Hell is so full of terrifying horrors, the senses are drown in misery and gore. Periodically, the reader is thrust into character histories, showing the intricacy of circumstances that led each one to their chosen occupation. These back-stories don’t often give a break from the over-stimulating scenery of the Underworld, for each contains it’s own tragedies. This novel is not for the weak of heart or stomach.
3 Stars – Over-stimulating in some aspects, but well-formulated.
With a foreword written by Rik Winston, the host of radio show UFO All Night, Consternation of Monsters is a collection of spine-tingling short stories that will leave you feeling wary of closing your eyes at night. I find myself left considering the possibilities…
Opening with The Hocco Makes the Echo, we are introduced to a brilliant boy who knows a little something about the woods that his father doesn’t know. As parents, we often try to toughen up children so they aren’t afraid of simple, common facts of life and nature. But frequently, children make observations beyond the realm of adult understanding.
I have always been a fan of stories that look at the world through an unusual set of eyes. Wolves Among Stones at Dusk applies this method by playing a scene through the eyes of a Mexican gray wolf. The wolf watches an unfortunate human scene of violence from atop a mesa. The author focuses on the scents that the wolf interprets, noting fear, anger, regret, and other emotions as they emanate as odors from the body.
Limited Edition plays upon the franchise of the Antiques Roadshow, bringing to light that out there, among the wealth of rare human collectibles (and the myriad piles of junk we collect), are hidden objects far older and more intrinsically important to human existence and progress than our shallow brains can fathom.
Some of these stories are interconnected, revisiting the lives of the characters in new situations. Each touched upon a poignant aspect of human nature as well as the supernatural. The reader is taken on adventures through the ancient, the mystical, and the powerful, delving into ideas of creation and destruction that most of us have not considered. All around us, ancient magic stirs and intersects with human life. When we chance to see these old, universal spirits, we have the choice to let them do their work unimpeded or grab hold of the ultimate power, even if that choice is ill-conceived.
Pick up this book and open up your mind.
Clare is a new field agent for Stake, Inc., an urban adventure tour company offering hunts for paranormal creatures: vampires, werewolves, and the like. Some of these hunts are staged, faked by actors and staff. Others are very, very real, especially if you have enough money. Based in the now, everything falls into place with a malfunctioning smart phone app meant to find magical energy signatures, a hidden bakery where everything is described as the best pastry ever, and a crazy apartment where the doors don’t always lead to the same rooms.
I enjoyed the mystery of getting to know the characters and who – or what – they are. This is just the first in the Heaven and Earth Series, each revolving around the residents of Apartment 7C above the Heaven and Earth bakery. The reader instantly gets a feel for Clare as a person and how she views her perceived place in the world. She as a few quirks even she isn’t quite aware of.
I give this one 4 Stars and recommend it to those who like reading about a variety of paranormal types or anyone who likes a short fantasy read. I felt just a tab bit confused in the first few pages as to what job Clare was working on due to what I felt were vague references, but everything clarified after that and ended with a great lead-in to the next book. I look forward to reading the next installment as time permits.
Visit Alice Degan’s Website for this and other books in the series, available from several retailers.