Imaginative, strange, and sometimes funny, the short stories in this collection will take you from a military encampment in Afghanistan, through a trinket shop in California, to the secret, gruesome war being waged in the back alleys of civilization. Each tale strikes a different tone of the horrific and macabre, ranging from creature feature to the depths of the heart of an unstable, entitled man.
Take a trip through the unsettling imagination of Aaron Deck in his first horror collection.
I received this book for free from Author Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
So among 18-40 year olds tattoos are becoming a staple. Most people either want them, have them, or have a lot of them. I have a handful, Melanie has a handful, this author has more than a handful, as does his ex-girlfriend. How do I know this? Well first I have seen Melanie’s tattoos, oh you mean about the author and his ex-girlfriend. Well I talked to the author via email after he emailed us asking for a review and this book is about his ex-girlfriend.
The premise is a real person with real tattoos. I assume it is an actual person. This is the writing world though, so who knows. The introduction and meaning behind the book may be fictional. I don’t think so, but again, who knows.
Aaron (The author) was dating a woman who had many, many tattoos and so while admiring some of them, he began to think about why and how they came to be. Not in the sense of her sitting in a chair and getting the ink, but the meaning behind the tattoo. Even though the relationship did not last, his thoughts about the tattoos stayed and so he began to write stories about them. The story about the mermaid tattoo with an anchor. The fuzzy dice, the two hearts (I will get back to this one), etc.
The only tattoo that he did not write about was the one on the cover, which initially confused me, because you could tell it was a tattoo, or at least a drawing for a tattoo. Well that tattoo has a different meaning, and honestly, if you want to know, you should totally ask the author 🙂 So onwards to the stories.
This book is a horror collection. That means all the stories are from the same brain, and they all have elements of horror. Not necessarily gory, or overly scary. They all have a hint of the macabre. Which, honestly most horror stories should have something that has at least one hair stand on end. If not, then is it really horror? So of the 14 stories, get it 14 needles?, anyways there is one that is not horror, actually there are a couple that I would not consider scary. The mermaid story to me is sad, with a hint of horror. Taxing heart makes me want to personally shoot, nay, carve out the main characters internal organs and jump on them. He is a horrible, revolting, murderous-thought provoking individual. Obviously Taxing Heart was a good story.
You have Rat and Rat Dogs which is a really interesting look at a dog with vampire teeth. Seriously these are tattoos on Elio’s (The Ex) body. This story really made me sit and think. I love vampire stories, I enjoy stories about dogs, but will I enjoy a story about a dog with vampire teeth? Result is yes. As you can tell, not all these stories are scary, some are gritty, some are almost laughable, but they all resonate with you.
Now to my personal favorite, Roses for a friend. Yes, it is the only story Aaron proclaimed as not horror, but it has a little. I mean we are talking ghosts, and that can be horror-inducing. Actually, I think her neighbor is more the horror element than the ghost. So the story is about love found at a lung hospital. Everyone there is going to die because they have issues with lungs, be it cancer, or just a gradual decrease in usage.
When you only have so long to live, and you know that, you do what you can to make the best of it. Which is exactly what the three characters did, two found each other, one found she could slurp her way to hate. Whatever makes you tick right? Seriously, this story made me cry, and not like cute little tears, like big ugly crying at the injustice of life and the meaning of love.
As you can tell, I loved this collection, I read it in a day, I couldn’t put it down. Lately most of the books I have read have been this way, and I would either like to think that we just have super awesome authors send us books, or I am just so picky with my time that I only read things that immediately pull my attention. I don’t know, and I am sure that I have let amazing books fall to the wayside by not having enough time in my life.
This collection isn’t just about the tattoos, or their backstories. It is about the human, and non-human condition. It is about the best – Love – and the worst – Murder. There are elements that made me want to throw up and throw the book, and others that made me wish the story hadn’t ended. Seriously, there are a couple of stories that I want to ask Aaron to continue into full length books. I want to know how the Dogs came to be, I want to know what happens to the slurpy roommate.
There is so much more I want to know. I think that is one element of a great book/short story. That push for the audience to not lay the book down and say “that was good” but to throw it down and say “Not enough, I want more.” This is not the only book lately that makes me want to do this, but it is the first collection in awhile. Maybe it is because I have tattoos and so I can relate to back stories. Maybe it is because it is a good collection of stories that I am patiently waiting for the second collection *hint hint* I mean he did say that she was covered in tattoos. Or maybe he can do a collection about his own? Like the one on the cover.