Mark Souza is an excellent writer. Having already read two of his short stories, “Appliances Included” and “Second Honeymoon”, I didn’t hesitate to pick up this short story collection. Of the seven tales, there was only one I didn’t particularly enjoy, but that’s down to personal taste.
In “The Comfort Shack” we have a father taking his wife and kids to an old fort to learn some history, and a tale of war and prostitution follows them into their present. “Neath Lily Pond” brings us the disturbing case of a nanny tossing a child in a lake to drown. The nanny has no memory of her appalling action and a local journalist decides to delve into the history of the lake. Turns out there have been many incidents of children drowning over the years. Has someone placed a curse on the lake? And if so, what child will be the next victim?
The corn maze story, “Cupid’s Maze” reminded me immediately of the landscape from the film Children of the Corn. As soon as the protagonist noticed he hadn’t seen a car pass him by in an hour, I knew he and his fiancée were in for a night of terror. “The Diary of Horatio White” changes things up. This tale, featuring zombies in the Civil War didn’t really capture my attention. Most of the story detailed the battle with a short supernatural ending. Included among the seven stories are familiar gems: Appliances Included (chilling & possibly my favourite) and Second Honeymoon (dark comedy). Lastly we meet Murphy, a man who never gets to enjoy any good fortune. Despite getting lucky with a lady in red in a rundown bar, his good time is about to take a turn for the worst. “Murphy’s Law” can be a bitch sometimes.
If you’re looking for a happily ever after tale, stay clear of this book, but if you like your stories deliciously dark and terrifying, grab your copy now. I’ve said it before and I’m mentioning it again, Souza is a gifted storyteller, and his tales of horror are intriguing and scary. I’m looking forward to choosing my next read from his work. The nights are getting shorter, so it’s a perfect time to curl up on the couch, light a candle and immerse yourself in these spine-tingling tales. *****
Check it out on Amazon HERE
If you’ve been resistant to short stories in the past, try one of Souza’s!