Monday, 11 February 2013
Book Review: These Lonely Places
These Lonely Places
by R K Kombrinck
Short Story Collection
A collection of short stories to make you dread the empty house across the street; to make you wonder what lurks in the woods behind the park and question the smile of your kind, elderly neighbor. "These Lonely Places" is a collection that takes the world you know, the world of the familiar and mundane, and turns it into a playground of ghosts, demons, harpies and murderers.
Don't read this book late at night with the lights off! The author has taken a lot of everyday things, such as a laundry room, an empty office, a Thanksgiving celebration and filled them with lots of things that go bump in the night. What I enjoyed most about the book, although it was scary, it wasn't filled with blood and gore. No, the terror is more subtle than that. It reminds me of some of those old black and white horror films, where you never actually see the monster or creature, you just hear the victim's screams and your imagination fills in the rest.
Mr. Kombrinck sets the scenes in as few words as possible, with one flash fiction story only being 500 words, but it still reads as a complete story. To be able to do that with such a short word count is amazing. He has a knack of starting off the story in a mundane way, but then the tension just keeps racking up as you read. In some stories I was gasping for breath, wondering what was going to happen, as you knew something was going to tear down all that normality in a flash.
One of my favourites in the collection was The 16th Floor, about a deserted suite of offices. I think there's something naturally unnerving about a place usually filled with people that is so empty. Or in the case of this story, not quite so empty after all.
For short stories, it can sometimes be hard to get enough insight of characters and settings, but again, everything in this collection reads like a complete tale. You never once thought anything was left out. They were just the right length for the stories they wanted to tell and you got to know the characters. A great collection if you are a fan of horror stories with some twists in the tail.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby