Crow Shine – Alan Baxter
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Crow Shine is my second read of Alan Baxter’s after checking out the fantastic Devouring Dark last year. I also have Manifest Recall coming up on my TBR and after reading both of these releases, I’m really excited for that one.
I had Crow Shine on my radar for some time now, and when I saw Baxter offer it up for review on Twitter I jumped at the chance.
Crow Shine is a collection of 19 short stories and it covers a wide gamut of genres. It’s a fascinating foray into Alan’s imagination and each story pulls its weight on their own. I found only two stories didn’t resonate with me, and I think part of that was their length. They each could have been stand-alone novellas.
The collection bursts through your minds door right off the hop with the title story. Crow Shine is a stunning supernatural-rock and roller, following a family member who discovers his grandfather’s secret to his musical success. This is one of those tales that Baxter probably gets asked to either write a sequel or extend it to a full length frequently. Just top-notch storytelling and you’ll find yourself drawn in so quickly.
The story Tiny Lives is hauntingly tragic. An immigrant who can breathe real life into toys he’s made. All for a tragic cause. This was a story that had my um… er… allergies flare up unexpectedly.
Old Promise, New Blood was a fun romp through a familiar idea and Mephisto really helped crank up the creepy factor all around.
Where Baxter shines (sorry about that) is his ability to make the characters relatable and the stories engaging. You become one with the surroundings quickly and he throws out little details that make the air smell and the ground feel.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
(A great collection, I hope Alan gifts us some more short stories in the near future.)
The dark fantasy collection features 19 stories, including the Australian Shadows Award-winning “Shadows of the Lonely Dead”; and original title story “Crow Shine” in addition to two other never before published stories.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here
The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
Something lurks just beyond.
Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.
Now the kids who reside near McConnell’s Forest live forever in fear.
Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.
Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.
But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.
She’s out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.
From the dark mind of Steve Stred, the author of Wagon Buddy, YURI and Invisible comes this fast-paced, seat of your pants coming-of-age tale. A quick, violent, bleak read, The Girl Who Hid In The Trees will make you think twice about those sounds you hear far off in the woods.