Christmas Terrors: A Mini Collection Of Dark Fiction – Alyson Faye
Reviewed by Steve Stred
I first heard the name Alyson Faye earlier this year when I was recommended her Short Sharp Shocks! release from Demain. Sadly I still haven’t gotten around to reading that, but now, after devouring Christmas Terrors, I’ll be checking that out asap.
This collection is made up of six absolutely jaw-dropping stories and while it floats around the “Christmas Theme,” these are worthy stories of being read year-round.
We start off with “A Gift for Krampus.” This is a very dark tale sharing how a father creates a doll to fool Krampus. The imagery in this one is outstanding.
Next up is “All the Lost Children,” a ghost story about a lady not wanting the local church to be sold. Emotionally haunting, I really enjoyed this one.
“Night Skating” may be the shortest story of the collection, but don’t let that fool you. It packs a wallop. We are introduced to two young boys. Best friends. They love winter and spending time on the frozen river. Then one night the one boy can’t go and Alyson makes sure to crush the reader. Phenomenal.
“It Came Upon a Midnight clear – One Christmas Eve” keeps the emotional roller coaster going. We meet Luce, a young lady struggling with loss as Christmas approaches. So, as horror tales tell us is the norm – she buys a ouija board. Things go horribly wrong and we benefit because of it.
Now, up until here, the stories have been great, but the last two were stunning.
“Jacob and the Angel” was a completely unexpected dose of horror. A young boy meets an angel. Two days later his father and his father’s helper find him wrapped in the angel’s wings. The rest is completely amazing and bonkers. Like a cross between Neil Gaiman and Adam Nevill.
But Faye didn’t stop there. We get the bonus story, “When Dead Eyes Weep.”
The most haunting and devastating story in the book, we arrive as a boy and his family prepare to take a mortuary portrait with his dead younger brother. As the picture is taken, he spots what he believes is a tear falling from the deceased eyes. Things unravel from there. I loved this story so much. It was morbid, creepy, unsettling and just destroyed me emotionally.
Saying all of that, I just want to make a quick statement about the cover.
This is a collection of previously released work (except for When Dead Eyes Bleed, which was a bonus.)
Yes, it has a premade cover template from Amazon. The picture is one that I believe Faye took herself. Inside are a number of pictures of churches etc as well.
I don’t want you to be put off or pass by this collection because of the cover. I can’t speak for Faye, but from my impression, it looks like she wanted to get a fun Christmas collection out in time for the holidays. I’m fine with that. I’ve interacted and chatted with Alyson a bit and she’s always been lovely and very encouraging.
So please, do take a chance and ignore the cover doubt that you may have. This is one of the absolute darkest and most satisfying collections I’ve read in some time.
I’m so glad I snagged this one, and I know you won’t be disappointed either.
This is a collection of stories, both long and short, set around Christmas and the winter’s chill, where the dark lurks.
Meet Krampus, go night skating, visit haunted Halifax in West Yorkshire, spend a night in Cliffe Castle, Keighley where something evil waits and drop by Undercliffe Cemetery in Bradford where stone angels rule.
There is a bonus hithertoo unpublished story as an early Christmas gift, the Gothic chiller, When Dead Eyes Weep.
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