The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales: Christopher Stanley
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I’ve had the fortune of previously reading two of Christopher’s Demain Publishing Short! Sharp! Shocks! releases, so when I saw this book announced I was excited. Christopher is a fantastic writer and I was keen to see what he could conjure up. Even more intriguing was the idea that this was a flash fiction challenge. Stories told roughly between 500-1000 words can be very difficult to pull off, but I knew Stanley would be up to the challenge.
What I liked: ‘The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales’ covers a lot of ground. That’s one of the exciting things about flash fiction and one reason why readers should dive into this. There is something for everyone and throughout I found Stanley was able to firmly control and elevate each of the short offerings. When you have this many quick slabs of darkness, it is tough to pick out a few that you loved more than the others, but I’ll take the easy road here and suggest my favorite was ‘Whistle-Stop’ purely for the Canadian connection. In this piece, a mother and son are on vacation. The mother grows frustrated that her son appears to be more interested in his video games than the gorgeous scenery around them. It soon becomes evident as to why. This was an enjoyable one and Stanley did a great job of mentioning some truly postcard-worthy places to visit.
Stanley is a fantastic writer and throughout he was able to do a lot with a little. Simplistic and to the point descriptions that made you feel as though you were reading a novel, not a story only a few pages long.
What I didn’t like: Again, I’ll choose the easy way out and just say that with a collection this large, not everyone will like every story. I enjoyed every piece, even if some of the ‘surprise’ endings didn’t completely do it for me. For each reader, each one will be a different experience, which is always the beauty of reading.
Why you should buy this: Stanley is a stunning author. Any place you start with his work, you’ll be in for a treat and with ‘The Lamppost Huggers…’ you’ll get to experience a number of phenomenal pieces and see his imagination at work. I really enjoyed this collection and am happy I was able to finally get to it.
If you’re looking for a reading slump buster or something that is quick and easy to pick up over and over again, look no further.
The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales
The man trying to make sense of his life now that his demon has been exorcised.
The woman who knows her son has been taken, even as he sits by her side.
The scorned professor who’s found a missing work from The Planets Suite.
Christopher Stanley’s debut flash fiction collection, The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales, boasts an impressive assortment of characters trying to make sense of a world gone horribly wrong. The darkness here is home to vampires, werewolves, witches and ghosts—but it’s the monsters you’ve never heard of that should worry you the most.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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