Leadlights: C.C. Luckey
Reviewed By Ben Walker
- Paperback: 166 pages
- Publisher: Colleen Luckey (31 Mar. 2019)
CC Luckey’s Leadlights is a collection of 10 original short horror and sci-fi stories, ranging from a tragic tale of reincarnation gone awry, to a Fantastic Voyage which turns distinctly non-fantastic, and a spin on the aliens as immigrants idea. There are futuristic settings, as well as modern-day ones, dips into the past, action stories, introspective sci-fi and a dash of horror.
It’s definitely not short on variety, and even though they don’t seem to have been published before, these tales never fall into the everything reads the same trap. That said, the collection only manages to thread its fingers loosely through yours, instead of grabbing on tight. The stories trundle along nicely, there are characters worth rooting for and the scenes, for the most part, are set up well enough that you can easily picture yourself amongst the various worlds presented.
These are stories that leave you with a little smile on your face, or you might give a slight nod and say “yeah, OK, I see,” at their endings, but you won’t be leaping out of your seat and flinging the book into the fireplace, worried that its words will haunt your eternal soul.
The one outstanding story is Caretaker. This starts off with a haunted house, but then takes an increasingly bizarre turn, with some intriguing and sometimes blackly funny imagery. While the ending doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, it’s weird enough to stick in your mind. There’s a hint of what it’s about on the book’s cover, but even that won’t fully prepare you for some nightmarish visions and wince-inducing confrontations with the house’s peculiar guardians.
It’s those moments of weird horror that shines brightest here, only there weren’t enough of them for my taste. The sci-fi stories never go anywhere fully unexpected, with decent concepts often drifting down familiar avenues. The final story is perhaps the guiltiest of this, as two explorers look for life on a ravaged earth only to discover some unusual companions. The ending relies on a cheeky bit of wordplay with a scene that feels ripped right out of an 80’s movie, and though it gave me that aforementioned little smile, it didn’t make me want to rush back and take in the whole experience again.
So while it might not shatter your brain, or rock your world view, Leadlights offers up a fairly decent distraction for a few hours.
Cover art by Julia Y, who you can find at JuliaYIllustrations
These are Leadlights; stained glass windows looking out into the darkness. This book of ten wildly different tales of horror and dark science fiction will transport you into previously unexplored realms of the imagination.
Follow Jaz through her investigation of a topsy-turvy house infested by undead sentinels. Witness firsthand a cautionary tale about a calamitous alien contamination. Visit the castle of the family Hawthorne, as three generations of powerful women are affected by a disturbing malady that redistributes their maturity and vitality.
Every page will take you on a new adventure. So come along… If you have the courage.
A horror fan and writer since who knows when. Ben started dabbling in online reviews around 2001. Nowadays he has a booktube channel, which features bizarre book reviews and further nonsense. When he isn’t writing, he’s probably looking at GIFs and eating Mexican food.
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