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Dark Steps [Kindle Edition]

Martin Pond
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £2.10 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

A collection of short stories, a series of twist endings, and one author's dark steps back into writing...

A teenage boy waits to take a sinister test he may or may not pass; a new father hears a strange voice on his daughter's baby monitor; a poisoner's best-laid plans go terribly astray; an enigmatic man gets as close to death as he can; a young boy wonders why Christmas just doesn't feel right this year; after the year from hell, a man is driven to extreme measures; a dying man reveals a black secret to his son; and, after four years in limbo, a man's life starts to unravel...

These dark tales of the unexpected are for fans of the short fiction of Stephen King, David Morrell and Dean Koontz. Step outside of the every day and take dark steps into a shadowy place...

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
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #610,283 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging, thought-provoking anthology 23 Sept. 2011
By Simon
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling stories with twisted endings 21 April 2012
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tales both unexpected - and cunningly expected. 8 Sept. 2011
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Leaves the reader wanting more
Described in the author's own words as his "dark steps back into writing", the seven stories (and one novel sample) of Dark Steps show a skilled wordsmith at work; one whose cool,... Read more
Published on 3 Dec. 2012 by Mark Kilner
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey! Pond!
Do not read this if you are a nervy parent. Pond's characters inhabit a cruel world where childen are poisoned, put to sleep (probably), disappeared and run over while powerless... Read more
Published on 15 April 2012 by lastoftheholdouts
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, page turner, more please
Short stories, easy to read and easy to become wrapped up in. The many times I found I had held my breathe and the need to know what is going to happen next was unbelievable. Read more
Published on 5 April 2012 by Donna Cawthra
4.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a collection
A gem of a collection from writer Martin Pond, who reveals a real talent for the twist in the tale.

I really enjoyed these short stories, from the haunting `Dream Feed'... Read more
Published on 28 Mar. 2012 by Susie
4.0 out of 5 stars Was left wanting more!
I was unsure whether I really wanted to read this book but wanted to support a colleague, but by the end of each story I had been truly sucked in and wanted more! Read more
Published on 13 Feb. 2012 by Charlie
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief but Good
Interesting and thought provoking short stories. Sometimes you can see what's coming other times you are left wondering ! Enjoyable read.
Published on 10 Oct. 2011 by Amazon Customer
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