I'll start by saying that this is a 3.5 star review. 4 stars is higher than I'd like to allocate but 3 would be a bit unfair.
I purchased this book having been a long time fan of the genre, and having read several enthusiastic reports of the author's work. Whilst I don't think that any of the stories in this collection are actually stand-out brilliant, a few are good, most aren't bad and even the 'fillers' are readable.
That said, one or two of these tales are a bit confusing, a couple I thought were - quite frankly - daft, and most are somewhat derivative, although Fowler's writing voice and treatment of well used themes is sufficiently his own to make the reader feel as if we're not merely reading another author's re-hashed work. And to be fair, true originality within the exhaustively explored horror field would be quite an achievement..
If I've any specific criticism of this collection it would be that quite a few of these tales - even some of the ones I liked most - left me feeling somehow that there was a more gripping story in there somewhere; that the finished work was somehow less memorable than it might have been.
But all in all a decent introduction to the author's work, and it certainly hasn't put me off reading more by him.
14 illustrated, worst-scenario anxiety tales, laced with black humour. Everyday humdrum situations escalate into cataclysmic horror, in stories with titles such as "The Vintage Tablemat Collection of the Living Dead", "Norman Wisdom and the Angel of Death", and "Dale and Wayne go Shopping".
About the Author
Christopher Fowler is the creative director of a film promotion company and lives in London. He is the author of the novels ROOFWORLD, RUNE, RED BRIDE, DARKEST DAY, SPANKY, PSYCHOVILLE and DISTURBIA and of the short story collections CITY JITTERS, THE BUREAU OF LOST SOULS, SHARPER KNIVES and FLESH WOUNDS