Green Fingers: Dan Coxon
Reviewed By The Grim Reader
The putrid stench of the unclean was everywhere, fortunately it was wash day at Kendall Reviews! Before a trip to the ARC pit, a good hosing down was required, and whilst the water was cold, my mood was not. I was excited at what could find its way into my grubby, calloused hands. After what felt like eons rummaging through the literary wasteland that is the ARC pit, I came across an offering from Black Shuck Books. Shucking all over.
Dan Coxon is a name I was unfamiliar with prior to delving into his collection of short fiction, Green Fingers. As the title suggests, Green Fingers embraces the horrors of mother nature. As a huge fan of John Windham’s Day of The Triffids, I was eager to fend off the other reviewers. After a brief scuffle with Steve Stred, I left with a smile on my face and retreated to my bunk.
Coxon certainly isn’t the first author to delve into the dirt’s secrets. The opening story, Invasive Species is short, to the point and sets the tone for the collection perfectly. Like a Boston Ivy, Invasive Species creeps upon you, smothering you, leaving you nowhere to go but on to the next tale.
Things get even better with By Black Snow She Wept. Just imagine Alma Katsu’s The Hunger but with a deadly fungus. This is another excellent story that gave me shivers and had me checking my skin for the rest of the evening.
The Pale Men is perhaps my favourite story. It’s a short, grim tale of loss and of how a son uncovers his father’s unusual relationship with his drinking buddies at the local watering hole. The Pale Men gives nothing away. A mysterious bag closely guarded by his late father’s friends contains an unimaginable horror. The ending to The Pale Men is sure to test your gag reflex.
We Live in Dirt is easily the most unusual and weird story in the collection. Huge mushrooms and a bizarre VHS tape containing evidence that could land the local mayor in huge trouble if found lie at the heart of the story. This one got away from me a little and didn’t quite have the same impact as the previous two. Still, it wasn’t a bad story per se.
Green Fingers has a much more familiar feel to it. Creepy trees pop up in horror stories almost as often as vampires and zombies, yet there is still something truly terrifying about the great oak in this story.
Among the Pines turns the weird up a few notches and finishes the collection on a real high. It’s a brooding tale that uses atmosphere to create huge amounts of unease amongst a small group of campers. Mysterious noises can be heard coming from the woods, acting like a kind of siren’s call. Among the pines is a very ambiguous story that leaves you with more questions than answers. It’s something I’m not always a huge fan of but Coxon nails it here.
I’ve reflected on this collection a lot, and the more I do, the more I realise how much I enjoyed it. If this is simply an appetizer for Dan Coxon, then you can send back the menu. I’m ready for the main course. Outstanding. And so…
5/5 neatly trimmed bushes from the Grim Reader.
A series of micro-collections featuring a selection of peculiar tales from the best in horror and speculative fiction.
From Black Shuck Books and Dan Coxon comes Green Fingers, the nineteenth in the Black Shuck SHADOWS series.
The Grim Reader
The Grim Reader resides on the Gold Coast, Australia. A school teacher by day, a lover of dark fiction, heavy metal, Arsenal FC, bourbon and coffee at night.
The Grim Reader loves nothing more than reading and rocking.