Whiskey And Other Unusual Ghosts: S.L. Edwards
Reviewed By Yolanda Sfetsos
- Paperback: 163 pages
- Publisher: Gehenna & Hinnom Books (July 14, 2019)
Whiskey and Other Unusual Ghosts by S.L. Edwards
Whiskey and Other Unusual Ghosts debuts a meteoric new voice in modern dark fiction. In these tales, you’ll discover the humanity of horror, and the traumas that birth ghosts of all kinds. From inner demons to the bloodied fields of war, Edwards maintains his unique voice while whispers of classic writers such as Arthur Machen and Thomas Ligotti shine through. Edwards enters the contemporary dark fiction crowd with a standout collection that is likely to cement his position amongst the modern greats.
I’m always excited to read new short story collections. They’re great snack-sized tales I can squeeze in between longer books, as well as a way of discovering new authors. And this collection started with an introduction from Gwendolyn Kiste, so that caught my attention.
Whenever I read an anthology or a collection, I like to review the stories individually, so here’s what I thought of each one…
MAGGIE WAS A MONSTER: This was a great start. I usually don’t like stories told in second person POV but in this story, it was the best way to tell the monster’s tale as it observes how Maggie grows from a mischievous little girl to a very troubled woman.
This deals with some pretty heavy subjects, including the sadness of parents constantly fighting and addiction, but it’s told in a very unique way that kept me interested all the way through.
I’VE BEEN HERE A VERY LONG TIME: Oh. Another story featuring a closet monster who loves a kid so much it helps him! All this monster wants is for Carl to be happy, and doing so takes this story to some really bizarre extremes. This is creepy and strange.
WHEN THE TREES SING: OMFG. This was such an uncomfortable story to read. It’s really disturbing because it deals with the very real effects the horrific Vietnam War had on soldiers. How it changed them, how PTSD destroyed them, and how easily a man’s mind can slip away when their horrid actions haunt them endlessly. It might have been awful and the character is totally unreliable, but I really enjoyed it.
AND THE WOMAN LOVED HER CATS: This is quite the morbid little tale about a mansion going to ruin after the man who built it dies, and the widow tries to fill all the empty spaces with cats. But these aren’t kitties of the cute and fluffy variety, not with Behemoth running the place. I felt sorry for Joe.
I liked the callous way this predatory cat takes over everything and destroys everyone. It’s clever and creepy and has a killer ending. Loved it!
GOLDEN GIRL: Sadly, I DNFd this story about puppets. I should’ve enjoyed it because I usually like creepy dolls, but nope.
MOVIE MAGIC: I enjoyed this little love letter to horror movies and the genre in general.
Peter is on a date at the Haunted Palace Cinema. It’s a place that offers the full experience, and he soon finds out, it’s more than just on the screen. This was fun and I loved the kudos to so many familiar horror movies, as well as the atmosphere and descriptions of this cool cinema.
WE WILL TAKE HALF: This story started out very sad, and when I realised it was going to be about the changeling myth with a twist, I was excited. Unfortunately, it started out well, but I quickly lost interest. The concept is cool and it’s well written, but the bottom half didn’t work for me.
THE CASE OF YURI ZAYSTEV: I liked the sense of location in this one because the writing totally captured the freezing, barren atmosphere, but I couldn’t warm to the main character. And that pulled me out of the story.
A CERTAIN SHADE: DNFd this one pretty early on.
CABRAS: DNFd as well.
VOLVER AL MONTE: Another DNF that I just couldn’t read.
WHISKEY AND MEMORY: Found it really hard to get into this story because the main character was such an ass. The fact it was the longest tale in the anthology didn’t help. John’s descent into a hellish trip down a very abusive memory lane made everything much harder to get through. 😒
PROPHECY IN BRIEF: A nightmarish shortie that’s okay.
Well, there you have it. This collection was an uneven read for me. The stories I liked, I really liked. The ones I couldn’t get into, I lost interest in pretty early on and couldn’t finish.
My biggest problem is that these stories are full of awful and selfish characters. Seriously, with the exception of Joe from AND THE WOMAN LOVED HER CATS who is a nice man caught in a very creepy situation that I enjoyed very much, everyone else was terrible.
Don’t get me wrong, unreliable and crappy characters can tell great stories, I’ve read many and have enjoyed them. Sadly, it wasn’t the case here.
One thing I did enjoy was the writing style. This author can tell stories with a nice sense of location and atmosphere. So, while the characters didn’t work for me, the descriptive storytelling did. I also loved the illustrations at the beginning of each story, they were cool.
My favourite tale was AND THE WOMAN LOVED HER CATS, which was wicked and creepy and totally awesome. The whole collection was worth reading just for this one.
Whiskey And Other Unusual Ghosts
Whiskey and Other Unusual Ghosts debuts a meteoric new voice in modern dark fiction.
In these tales, you’ll discover the humanity of horror, and the traumas that birth ghosts of all kinds.
From inner demons to the bloodied fields of war, Edwards maintains his unique voice while whispers of classic writers such as Arthur Machen and Thomas Ligotti shine through.
Edwards enters the contemporary dark fiction crowd with a standout collection that is likely to cement his position amongst the modern greats.
Yolanda Sfetsos lives in Sydney, Australia with her awesome, supportive gamer husband and neurotic, photogenic kitty.
When she’s not writing or reading up a storm, she’s either out walking, watching a movie or TV show, checking thrift stores for bargain books, or thinking about the new dark ideas fighting for attention.
Breaking The Habit
All Isla wanted to do was enjoy her honeymoon.
She was looking forward to relaxing on the beach and enjoying cocktails with the love of her life.
Instead, she ends up in the middle of the woods in a cosy cabin, where the past she’s worked so hard to bury can find her.
Turning what should be the best night of her life, into a bloody fight to stay alive.