Thursday, 5 January 2017

Shadow Moths, by Cate Gardner (Frightful Horrors) | review by Stephen Theaker

This little collection of two stories by Cate Gardner is the first in a planned line of ebooks from a new digital-only micro-press, Frightful Horrors. Its short length is reflected in its price (and it is available in the Kindle lending library and Kindle Unlimited to the respective subscribers). “We Make Our Own Monsters Here” follows Check Harding on his pilgrimage to the United Kingdom’s best puppeteer, in hope of being his apprentice. On the way he checks into the peculiar Palmerston Hotel, where guests are provided with ladders to reach the light switches. “Blood Moth Kiss” is about Nola, who lives on a Royal Air Force base with partner Pete during a time of war. While he seems to go on missions, she is apparently beset by intangible exploding moths as atrocities loom. The book’s description describes the author as an “award-nominated genre author”, without specifying which genre that is – perhaps that’s appropriate given that neither story falls neatly into any category. They’re not westerns, that much is clear, but one could identify elements of fantasy, horror, sf and literary fiction in both, plus a dash of doomed, gothic romance in the second. Both are good. On my Kindle an unnecessary line of blank space appears after every paragraph, but in such a quick read that doesn’t have time to become the mind-frazzling irritation it can be in a long novel. ***

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