The Ministry of Zombies was provided with a review copy of these sordid tales in exchange for a review.
It's unusual for a new author to release a collection of short stories after publishing their first novel - it used to be something a writer did after a decade or so. However, having read several Chantal Noordeloos stories in various anthologies I knew a bit about what to expect.
From this collection, the author clearly sees short stories as a standalone genre in itself - this is not a set of stories which has been thrown together, each justifies its place - something which I think let's down many collections by new authors. You get the feeling the author is playing the horror genre, testing out different themes & we, as readers, get to enjoy the results.
Is there a theme to this collection? Well, there is definite Dutch feel to the tales & some of the settings will please those of us familiar with this amazing country. Other than this, there is a wide range of settings & styles - murders most foul, from beyond the grave & just plain horrific - all well-written, edited & constructed stories.
There's a lot of murder, a lot of creeping death & traditional horror!
A few highlights for me included:
Death Awaits You - a bizarre case of murder or something else? The family setting here makes it all the scarier...ever get the feeling that it won't end well?
Uncle Edmund's Funeral - a macabre feel to this tale - the author had me at "a luxurious wreath of white lilies graced the mahogany top" This Funeral ends very badly for some.
Preaching - This is no delicate tale, I've never heard a pastor like this before. It's short & pretty horrific.
So, all in all, a fine collection. I hope Noordeloos continues with her short stories, she is certainly one the most exciting female horror writers we've reviewed in recent years.