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Dark Steps Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 193 KB
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GQ84CE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #783,727 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in East Kent in 1970, Martin Pond was educated at the University of East Anglia. A career in IT followed, and continues to pay the bills. In 2007 Martin made a hesitant return to fiction, not having written seriously since his student days. He returned to UEA too, and took a diploma in Creative Writing.

Martin's stories have appeared in Unthology No 1, Streetcake magazine and Alliterati magazine, whilst three poems have appeared in The Artillery Of Words magazine.

Martin is currently working on a novel-length work, Drawn To The Deep End, and, as an experiment, is publishing the first draft, unedited, in weekly online instalments.

Martin's first collection of short fiction, Dark Steps, was published in August 2011. Two standalone short stories, Turn Around Where Possible and Cold, followed in 2012.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Kindle Edition
Short stories can be very hit-and-miss. Some have the feel of novels, but lacking in depth and character development. Others feel more like fragments from a larger story. Both types are unsatisfying, and make up the bulk of short stories I've read.

Pond's debut collection is surprising. For a little-known author, he deals with the tricky medium of the short story in a clever and engaging way. I picked up the book on a whim, but was instantly hooked, digesting the collection within a couple of days.

I won't list the stories or discuss their content; most readers are intelligent enough that anything I say could be a spoiler. Just read the book and enjoy it on its own merits.

I am often put off by books purporting to be "dark", as they normally only appeal to angst-ridden teenagers or gore-gasm seeking adolescents. These stories, however, struck a real nerve in me, I think mostly because the characters have depth and are easy to identify with, and hence when they find themsleves in disturbing situations, the reader has developed a genuine empathy, a resonance with them. There is a very real darkness hovering over us, not the stuff of the supernatural or horror movies, but the harsh reality of the choices we have made, the faults we have inherited, and the lives we find ourselves living. Pond captures these and spins them into engaging, thought-provoking stories that may stick in the back of the readers' minds for a long time to come.

Of course, there are faults among the stories. One might have a plot which seems a little predictable, while another bears some hallmarks of an early, inexperienced author. But it's obvious that Pond realises this, and includes these stories for completeness.
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Format: Kindle Edition
When Martin Pond asked me if I would review 'Dark Steps' for him I was thrilled. I like reading horror, Stephen King being one of my favourite authors, so I was interested in seeing what his stories were like.

This is Martin Pond's debut book. It contains eight short stories, the last one of which is an extract from a forthcoming novel. There is also a very nice introduction at the beginning of the book.

These are chilling stories with twisted endings. They reminded me of 'Tales of the Unexpected', a TV series that I used to love watching. The first five stories in particular are very short, but that's good if you just want to have a quick read. I also found a couple of them predictable, but then these were Martin's early works. Some of the other stories were thought provoking. I felt that with 'Egg', there is a moral to the story. No matter how much plotting and planning you do, for instance if you want to get your revenge on someone, chances are that it will backfire on you.

I thought that the descriptions were really good. I can't help wishing that there had been more stories in this collection though, at least fifteen, as you just want to carry on reading. However, I do know that Martin Pond has written another book and has more on the way.

All in all this is a very impressive first book and I'm really looking forward to reading more.
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Format: Kindle Edition
But something...something was off' says an anxious father, in Dream Feed, the second of the eight stories in Dark Steps, and this wary note of concern strikes a chord, for this reader at least, exemplifying as it does the voice of trepidation which characterizes many of the episodes in this memorable, if rather sombre collection of short stories.

The author has a good eye for details; the `flowers of rust' around the wheel of a car, the injured child's trainer's red LED flashing as she lies in the road, the `sibilant hiss of the baby monitor' and the `wheezing, arrhythmic parody of a laugh that again descended into a cough' - brilliant observations all, and part of the charm of this powerful collection.
Although there are moments where it feels like the reader is being led to a foreseeable resolution (particularly in The Inheritance) this is a minor plot issue, and the writing within the stories, the actual narration, is almost uniformly striking and very memorable. I come back to these stories again and again to remind myself of the gratifying arc of tension, suspense, and relief demonstrated in Dark Steps, as well as the intelligence in the writing, the observant eye in the narration and the terrible moment of realization that something is not quite right, something...something is off.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Dark Steps opens with The Waiting Room, a scary slice of future-shock spiced with sharp ideas and a chilling, utterly unexpected, denouement. It's probably my favourite story here, but that's not to detract from the delights that lie ahead.

Dream Feed will surely raise hairs on the necks of new parents everywhere as a spooky voice is heard over the baby monitor by a sleep-deprived father.

Near-Death Experience reminds me of M. Knight Shyamalan's Unbreakable - and there's no finer comparison in this genre.

The longest story here is The Inheritance, a clever piece of writing in which a son visits his dying police man father in hospital only to face some shocking revelations. The twist is obvious to the reader long before it hits the protagonist, but there's much worse to come. In his foreword, the author claims it's his least favourite story in the collection, yet it lingered in my mind long after I set the book aside.

Three other stories and an extract from Martin's work-in-progress novel, Drawn To The Deep End, complete the anthology. It's an excellent collection of unexpected tales told in everyday surroundings with a vein of dark humour running just below the surface.
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