Apples & Snail Trails – Russell Smeaton
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I swear to the book gods that one of these days I’ll buy the rest of the Demain Short Sharp Shocks! series of releases and give them all a read, because of the four or five I’ve now read, all have been truly enjoyable and fantastically engaging.
I actually snagged this book after seeing the author mention he’d not received a single review on Goodreads or Amazon while another author in the series just received their 80th. Part of my review motto if you will – read, review and bring attention to releases that are struggling for reviews.
This one, much like Mike Thorn’s that I recently read, is two shorts.
KR: You can read the Kendall Review for Mike Thorn’s SSS HERE
We start off with Apples. This was a truly unsettling tale about a father and daughter relocating to a derelict house in the countryside that used to belong to a relative. After beginning to get the house back into working order, some stuff happens and the story just gets turned on its head. I would love to elaborate more on the ‘some stuff happens’ part but I really can’t otherwise it’ll give everything away. This one is a perfect Halloween month read and the superstitions and folklore leanings were really well done. This was an easy 5/5 read.
The second offering was Snail Trails. With a title like that this story could end up in a few genres, but Smeaton delivers a horrific plague style story that was equal parts repulsive as well as horrific.
We follow a few different groups of people who all end up at the same spot in the woods and encounter the same catalyst for what befalls them. Again, spoiler-free, but I really loved the setting and what happens after. This would have been a five-star read except I found that the characters became jumbled. Each new character is thrown at us and at times I had to go back and reread to ensure that it was a new character. Not sure if it was a formatting issue or what, but even if there had been a section change marker or asterisk, it would have flowed smoother.
Smeaton delivers more gore here and the extended reach of what happens was a nice touch.
Overall, this is yet another well-placed release in the ever-growing Demain Publishing Short Sharp Shocks! series. If you’re not reading any of these releases yet, you need to change that. Every release that I’ve read now has landed firmly between 4 and 5 stars and everyone has been a one-sitting read.
Another excellent grouping of stories. Now, I’ll need to track down more Smeaton to see what else he’s conjured!
Apples & Snail Trails
Apples is a tale of a father and daughter finding themselves; Apples is a short dive into the horrors to be found in the English Countryside
In Snail Trails, Dave and the love of his life – Walter the dog – out on a walk one day discover all the snails, slugs and worms heading towards the hills. Dave and his faithful friend investigate. So begins the apocalypse…
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, 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, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
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