It's been sometime since I reviewed anything in here, but I'm back to my old, usual, friendly reviewer mode. To kick-start my first review of the year, I decided to go with a very rich, interesting anthology. I got this one as a prize during my Creepfest stint. Let me tell you, the prizes were so worth it! Now, on the subject...
There are a few pervasive fears that run deep inside our collective psyche as society; the fear to dark, to enclosed spaces, to clowns, to dolls. I guess it has to do with our necessity as a group to protect our children, our future. Demonic kids, or dollies, threat to undermine those values we hold most precious. And because of this same reason, even if you don’t go to sleep fearing your teddy bear will come at you with the kitchen knife, this anthology will cause you a shiver or two next time you’re in the company of a lovely porcelain doll. Even more so if it is antique.
The anthology contains eighteen stories that go from gruesome to highly atmospheric, passing through you typical blood and gore, and even adding a couple of very original narratives. As always, I selected my favorite three to review.
THE RIPPER’S DOLL, by Jason McKinney. This story has a great development and a twist in the middle that will make your jaw hit the floor. After I reached that mid-point, I couldn’t stop reading. A total page-turner. The story does go a few paragraphs too long robbing the ending of its strength but even with that; this is a story you will remember for years to come.
THE DEVIL’S WORK, by Carole Gill. This was by far the one I enjoyed the most. It is so well crafted. The characters are likable, yet you fear them. The authorial voice is very clear through the main character, yet it is never intrusive; if anything, it increases the reader’s feeling of witnessing events not made for their eyes. This story truly uses the eerie, atmospheric factor as one more tool to enrich the storytelling. A prime example of modern Gothic style.
MONSTERS ARE MADE, by Rob Miller. Among all the creepy, scary stories that form this anthology, MONSTERS ARE MADE is the only one with more than a hint of comedy in it; and I don’t mean black humor. The satirical vain of this very original tale will make you wish it weren’t so short. Kudos to the editor for having the courage of inserting a piece with such a different take on the macabre.
Now, if I’ve done well my job, you have a better sense of how diverse are the tales you’ll encounter when reading SATAN’S TOYBOX: DEMONIC DOLLS. You’ll also be asking yourselves were you can get a copy of such promising work. Well, go no further than a click right here. I do hope you enjoy the ride.