Demon Dance: Dark Tales To Rattle The Psyche – Vanessa Ravel
Reviewed by Steve Stred
When this short story collection came available to review, I jumped on it. I hadn’t read any of Vanessa’s other work but had heard great things. The cover and title looked intriguing and grabbed my interest.
Immediately this collection pops. The first few tales are written really well and the twists and turns are unexpected. She has a gift of getting you attached to the characters right away, which allows you to become invested early on.
Vanessa takes a few tried and true things (a reality show and working at a kid’s play place) to different avenues of horror. Watching the worker break down over the death of a kid in a ball pit was fascinating. The tale of the lady excited to be chosen for her favourite reality show only to find out it isn’t what she expected was great, and the action was fast and furious. Her story following a family as it tries to pick a Christmas tree would be a fantastic Tales From the Crypt Xmas special.
There is one story in here that I need to highlight. Flesh and Blood. This story is one of the best things I have ever read. The story follows a painter as he tries to return to his former status in the art world and his wife, who wants to return to their former wealth. Flesh and Blood is without a doubt superb. Intertwining the couples six year old daughter into the story as things grow darker and more depraved adds such an extra layer to the tale, it really made me feel uncomfortable and for that I am truly thankful. I hope in the future this becomes a stand-alone novella or full length work and the characters are expanded on.
Sadly, this was the last tale that strummed any chords for me. I found myself disengaged and unable to really connect with the rest. The ideas were interesting, but because of the high of Flesh and Blood, I had reached the mountain top, and was now finding myself annoyed that I still had to walk back down.
I would definitely recommend you all check this one out, simply for how good the start is, and how utterly phenomenal Flesh and Blood is. Unfortunately the rest of the shorts couldn’t compare..
Star Rating (out of 5): 3*
Sometimes what keeps us awake isn’t the things that go “bump” in the night, but the thoughts that say…
…oh God please forgive me sweet Jesus I did what I had to do
A family trip to the forest to cut down a live Christmas tree turns into a living nightmare. A grieving mother undergoes a terrifying transformation after taking a memento from her daughter’s body. A bedridden widow can hear the thoughts of plants, and they aren’t pleasant. And a struggling painter will stop at nothing to claw his way to the top of the art world, even if it means losing himself in his art. These are just some of the tales of woe and spite that will gnaw at your psyche and make you do the Demon Dance.
You can buy Demon Dance – Dark Tales To Battle The Psyche from Amazon UK
Steve has a new book coming out will ALL PROCEEDs going to charity!
Please read the following announcement and we’d love it if you could preorder ‘Dim The Sun’.
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