The Headsman: Cristina Mîrzoi
Reviewed By Sarah Jane Huntington
This is a strange book, and I mean that in a complimentary way. It’s quite surreal in some parts and the imagery conjured and used is wonderfully rich.
It is also beautifully and impressively grim.
There are ten stories to dive into and each one is very different. They are all set around a single, curious village and are cleverly entwined with a cast of different characters. The Duke, The Witch, The Maid, and so on. The multiple points of view really work well.
The Martyr or the first tale, The Witch, are my personal favourites.
This book feels like dark fairy tales, mixed with sinister folk horror. There are sorrowful endings and hidden lessons to be learned.
Some of the tales are like ghost stories too and could stand on their own.
What I found very charming is how there are clues of later stories sprinkled throughout the first ones. Puzzle pieces to connect together.
The whole book really captivated me. I love folk horror but quite often, the true darkness of the genre can be easily missed.
This book doesn’t fail one bit. The only downside is that I wanted it to be longer. I could have happily read on for many more hours.
I wanted to stay in the world the author has created and explore some more. I will definitely be keeping a beady eye out for more releases by Christina Mîrzoi.
This is gothic, dark, unsettling, atmospheric, and quite brilliant.
Take a glimpse into the world of a headsman, a gloomy village in which each dweller has a secret: an evil witch, a shrewd florist, a naive young man, a foreign merchant, a dreadful husband, a mischievous maid, and a lustful duke. These stories are intertwined, weaving a dark narrative of love, trickery, brutality, and loss.
Under the bleak aesthetic, raw human emotions unravel themselves in a gripping story about moral decay. In a world that belongs to the wicked, how far can one walk this path while keeping a clean conscience?
The Headsman is a collection of short stories that focus on interconnected characters, sometimes looking at the same event from a different perspective. As a genre, it falls somewhere under dark fiction territory.
Sarah Jane Huntington
I am the author of several short horror story collections, Paint it Black, Iron Maidens, Between light and shadow and Waves of Mutilation.
Cabin Terror is my first full-length novel.
My stories have appeared in a few anthologies so far.
I am a nurse, currently working in hospice care.
You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJaneHunti1