Winter Freits: Andrew David Barker
Reviewed By The Grim Reader
The ARC pit at Kendall Reviews can be an unforgiving place. Books cover the floor, scattered, torn and unread. Kindle screens flicker trying desperately to catch a wandering eye. The ramblings of mad reviewers past and present are scratched deep into its walls. The pit is a wasteland, but, now and then, treasures are found.
It was a Sunday evening. I’d almost given up rummaging through the literary detritus when I stumbled upon Andrew David Barker’s collection, Winter Freits, from Black Shuck Books. I loved my previous Black Shuck book from Dan Coxon, so I was only too keen to jump into Barker’s latest. Could lightning strike in the same place twice? Ice, Ice, baby.
There’s something wonderful about horror stories set during winter. Winter Freits is a fine collection, but it does get off to a false start as Polar Vortex outstays its welcome. There is nothing wrong with a story in which a woman wakes hurt before stumbling to a nearby cabin where she is pursued by a spectre. The problem is to do with pacing. A great beginning leads to many questions, but things progress far too slowly and the Grim Reader’s mind began to drift away like the falling snow outside.
Thankfully, The House on Lidderman Street provided excellent backup. The story sees a tradie given a painting job in an abandoned house where something or someone lurks upstairs. As the hour’s pass, strange noises and movements are heard, leading to both violence and terror. The feeling of isolation and dread is palpable in this story, and the ending is ice cold.
The final story, Christopher, is a melancholic tale of grief and loss. The best kind of ghost story in my opinion. Barker does well in drawing rich characters for you to invest in, and this mournful tales proved to be the standout for me.
A tighter edit to the first story would’ve seen me score Winter Freits higher. It wasn’t to be, but, as Meatloaf put it “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”. And so…
3.5/5 Snow Cones from the Grim Reader.
Andrew David Barker’s WINTER FREITS presents a trio of wintry writings in: Polar Vortex, The House on Lidderman Street and Christopher.
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.