Bedtime Stories: Russell Smeaton
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Am I a sucker? Probably. Easily persuaded? Probably. Changing my ways? Probably not.
I had the pleasure of reading Smeaton’s Short Sharp Shocks! Series release ‘Apples and Snail Trails,’ and after my review was featured, Smeaton messaged me and asked if I’d be willing to check out his release ‘Bedtime Stories.’ I said absolutely, but I wasn’t sure when.
We follow each other on most social media platforms and interact a bit, and I kept seeing him post about the struggle to get reviews. Then I saw my arch-rival, my metal hombre, my devil horns bearded brethren Morgan K. Tanner review the book and I said ‘AHHH! Morgan!’ with an angry shake of my first to the red beast in the sky. So, yeah, Morgan read it and enjoyed it so I bumped it up my TBR.
This was a fun read. It runs between flash fiction and short stories and could easily be done in a single sitting. I took two sittings as I was finishing off another book and engrossed in three others.
Made up of 15 stories, I found only a few didn’t resonate with me, which is impressive from a newer author.
For me, personally, the first three stories were my favourites of the group. ‘Monday Morning,’ was a very fun take on work-life and colleague relationships. ‘Snot’ was great, grotesque fun and makes me wonder about the nature of my month-long congestion right now. And the third story was ‘Balls.’ What a story. An innocent stop at a rest area turns into a horrifically amazing post-apocalyptic journey.
Throughout, Smeaton takes some fantastically simple starting points and transforms them time and time again into nightmares. Take ‘Stoned.’ A straight forward story about a man who goes on a sort of walkabout, only instead of the outback, he buys a surfboard and a van and takes to living at the beach. Then Smeaton throws a curveball and it goes off the rails. Same with the fantastic ‘Snake Charmer.’ A man heads to India to try and get answers about his brother’s death. I could legitimately tell you exactly what happens in this story and it’s so amazing and so bonkers you wouldn’t believe me.
Smeaton created fifteen really unique worlds and as a reader, you dive in incredibly quick, which speaks to the ease and welcoming nature of his writing style. While a few didn’t click, they weren’t without merit and as always a collection like this will have variable results based on each reader.
I highly suggest you give this a go. This was a really fun collection and I’m always about helping authors get reviews and eyeballs on their work.
A collection of short stories by Russell Smeaton. We present to you 15 quirky takes of modern Lovecraftian horror with more than a dash of whimsy spread over the whole smorgasbord.
“If Thomas Ligotti and Neonomicon-era Alan Moore got together with Pooh’s A.A. Milne to collaborate on a series of short stories, it would feel a lot like “Bedtime Stories”.
“Russell has blended horror, fantasy and a bit of science fiction into what is a remarkably seamless collection”
“A uniquely personal collection of 15 short stories, some horrific, some otherworldly, but all of them strange and beautifully crafted.”
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the 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
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