Paths Best Left Untrodden: Kev Harrison
Reviewed by Yvonne Miller
Paths Best Left Untrodden reads more like a collection of memories rather than short stories. From Folklore to Cosmic Horror, from Eastern Europe to Britain the setting and myriad of emotions on display are exquisite. Kev Harrison depicts an elegant but deeply heart-breaking and brutal collection of our worst fears. It’s disturbing but oh so perfect. Harrison is an artist of trauma, he knows exactly how to inject a longing and flaw into his characters. I enjoyed his raw examination of the human condition and the consequences of actions wrought upon them.
Big Game is a deeply disturbing story about hunting. Just what happens when the prey isn’t an animal? It’s original, emotionally charged, and full of scenes that have you questioning people’s morality.
Suppression was one of my favourite stories in the collection. The characters are living in a world where impulse suppression is tested for future criminality. I’d love to say that this is an impossible scenario but in today’s world, it may just become a reality. It would lower the number of finances needed by the world’s governments in fighting crime. I found this story wholly terrifying. Harrison tapped into fear and set it alight, I could feel the parents panic, their worry. The world had been building to this point and shit finally hit the fan!
The Solstice, a folklore horror was another stand-out story for me. A story that felt steeped in Eastern European beliefs. A first-born child is called upon to have a mask made out of their fears to ward off the wolves that threaten their village at the Solstice. This story was like liquid gold- valuable and rare. This story was created to unseat you, and boy has it worked. I think there is just something about stories involving children that cut me open.
Special Order was the gem for me. A Cosmic Horror that reminded me of H.G. Wells and Lovecraft, a pizza restaurant owner is approached to make special pizzas that the world will not quickly forget. This is horror and its rawest and it’s the unknown aspect of this story that intrigued me and kept me hooked. I’d love to read more from Harrison in this sub-genre because he created something so palpitatingly dark and addictive.
Paths Best Left Untrodden is exactly that. These are roads that you do not want to walk down, it is filled with hazards, fear, and pain for the traveller. Kev Harrison is nerve-splittingly brilliant at examining the human condition. He has pulled back the layers of life to highlight how fear is a shoestring – pull too hard and it’ll break. He has created a most unapologetic trojan horse. This author cannot write a bad book. I will buy anything he writes.
Paths Best Left Untrodden
The debut collection from Kev Harrison, author of THE BALANCE, this tome brings together tales of ghosts in the machine, folkloric creatures let loose, abandoned places and dystopian nightmares. Containing thirteen stories – three of which are previously unpublished, with three others never before available in print, take your first tentative step onto the PATHS BEST LEFT UNTRODDEN.
Well, what can I say about myself? I’m a 33-year-old married woman and mum to 3 crazy boys, aged 13,6 and 4. My eldest has a genetic condition that causes a visual impairment so as you can imagine life can be very chaotic and provides many challenges along the way but I would 100% never change any of them. They fulfil my life beyond measure.
I adore books – I adore shouting about books! I’m a reviewer of mainly horror and dark fantasy. Whether that’s featuring werewolves, evil creatures or the depravity of humanity, I will read them all.
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