Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 28th Oct 2015
A copy of the collection, Cut Corners Volume 2, was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Grin Press. This time it wasn’t sent specifically in exchange for an honest review. It was a little thank you for reviewing other stuff but I couldn’t resist giving an honest review anyway. This is said review.
I do enjoy getting ARCS from Sinister Grin Press. You never know quite what you are going to get because they do produce a very wide range of stuff. This one was no exception. This is the first time I have read a collection from Sinister Grin so I was anxious to get into it and see what it was like.
In terms of the authors involved in this one, I have read them all in one form or another. Ray Garton wrote a short story I read in Widowmakers called, The Guy Down the Street, Monica J. O’Rourke wrote What Happens in the Darkness and Shane McKenzie was involved in the wonderful collaboration, Jackpot. Other than that I have not read anything else by these three. So are they worthy of being in this collection? Let’s find out.
A FLAT AND DREARY MONDAY NIGHT BY RAY GARTON
Harry and Louise are having their typical, dreary Monday night, until they hear screams outside their house.
When Harry goes to investigate he sees his neighbour, Amber being chased and punched by a man he doesn’t recognise. A man who is obviously high on drugs. A struggle ensues, and Harry gets Amber inside his house. He must then try and stop the other man getting into his house and harming himself, Louise or Amber.
Monday night isn’t so dreary now, and it’s just going to get worse.
This is a really good story to open a collection. I seem to remember reading something about this scenario that actually did happen to Ray Garton himself a few months back. I am very glad to see that he adapted that real life experience and turned it into this story.
This is told through the eyes of Harry himself. It reads like you are actually sitting across a table from Harry as he is telling you the story. It feels very real and very emotional. There is no big elaborate build up to the commotion, and no big elaborate rescue scenes or scenes of destruction. It’s like you are listening to a friend filling you in on a bad situation that happened to them.
It’s horrific though. You can imagine the pain and suffering everyone involved in the story is going through. Mr Garton builds a very real and tangible atmosphere in this, turning a situation that must happen hundreds of times a day, up and down the country, into the real and terrifying situation it would be for any of us.
This story though, has a wicked twist at the end that any writer or director for The Twilight Zone would be only too glad to see presented to them for one of their episodes!
A very effective short story which gets the message across very well – if you were in this situation yourself – you would be scared shitless!
★★★★★ for general.
★★★★★ for horror.
EXPOSED BY MONICA J O’ROURKE
A woman is obsessed. Her daughter Rebecca has been kidnapped and she knows who has her. So do the police but they don’t have enough evidence to arrest him. She takes things into her own hands and follows him to try and find out where her daughter is.
What follows is a tale of torture as she kidnaps the kidnapper to try and find out exactly where her daughter is.
This is a bit of a weird one. Told through the eyes of the mother of the child that has been kidnapped, you follow the despair and turmoil she is going through in trying to find her child and get her back.
But something just doesn’t feel right. This woman will do anything she needs to for information as to where her child is, including rather brutal torture on the kidnapper to extract that information.
The story is told in a such a way that you feel as if you are in a fuzzy psychedelic haze as you read it. It’s surreal to the point that you don’t know if it is actually happening or just a dream. It’s a very effective way of writing the story but at the same time left me feeling a bit confused at the end with slightly more questions left unanswered than I would have liked.
This one might take a few reads to fully understand.
★★★.5 for general.
★★★★ for horror.
BLEEDING RAINBOWS BY SHANE MCKENZIE
A man is acting for God. When he sees the colours in the sky he knows it is time.
He has been starving the dogs for a week. It’s time to unleash them at the party for the old couple. The colours in the sky dictate it. He has to reset the balance.
Another strange one but a very powerful one at the same time. Seen through the eyes of the mysterious man, you are taken on a journey from his childhood to the present day to try and explain to you, the reader, why he does what he does. Why he was picked by God.
This one is again, quite brutal. The difference with this one though is that the writing is perfect at starting the scene off then closing the doors and leaving your imagination to do the rest. This is a very powerful way of getting you to imagine the absolute worst.
Again a bit surreal, this one paints a perfect picture of someone who is totally insane. Or are they? Things happen that just couldn’t happen in the real world? Maybe he is on a mission from God. It’s really up to you to decide. Or not.
Perfect writing in this one. Well-paced with just the right amounts of conflicting emotion and madness. I could read this character in a full novel very easily.
★★★★★ for general.
★★★★★ for horror.
So there you have it. My take on Cut Corners Volume 2. This is an interesting little collection. The first story is pretty clear cut but very effectively written to give you the true sense of horror that could hit any of us at any time, in our own home!
The next two stories are almost dream like. Surreal and imaginative that leave you with some questions in your mind long after you have finished them.
I would be interested now in tracking down Volume 1 in this collection and also look forward to Volume 3.
★★★★.5 nearly perfect.
★★★★.5 plenty of scares.
If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer then please consider using the links below to buy Cut Corners Volume 2 or any other books from Ray, Monica, Shane or Sinister Grin Press. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.
Sit back and enter the horrifying worlds of these adepts of fear.
Three brand new stories guaranteed to slice open a smile from ear to ear.
Sanity not required! Read at your own risk.
A Flat and Dreary Monday Night by Ray Garton
Exposed by Monica J. O'Rourke
Bleeding Rainbows by Shane McKenzie
An idea formed in the dark recesses of the minds of Travis Tarpley and Shane McKenzie, in that place where only mushrooms grow. A publishing company that puts out books that freak, horrify, terrify, petrify, appall, shock, startle, stun, dismay and in general scare the pants off of people; mostly themselves. Then a strange thing happened, people bought the books.
Then a stranger thing happened, Shane wrote books of his own and people bought them too. So Shane left on his own dark quest to pursue his own mushroom growing ideas. So now based somewhere near Austin, Texas; in a small room with a barking dog and run by Travis Tarpley, Tristan Thorne and Matt Worthington, comes the risen oddity that you now see. We want to give the horror fan something they will be proud to spend their hard-earned money on. And we still want our books to be the razor blades that bury into the flesh of your face and slice open a smile. We want to give the true horror fan exactly what they’ve been looking for. So look no further, you sick bastards. We’re here………or at least that’s how we remember it.
And for more about Sinister Grin Press, visit their site or find them on social media:
Ray Garton is the author of several books, including horror novels such as LIVE GIRLS (which has a movie in the works), CRUCIFAX, E4 AUTUMN, and THE FOLKS; thrillers like TRADE SECRETS and SHACKLED; and numerous short stories and novellas. He's also written a number of movie and television tie-ins for young readers. He lives with his wife, Dawn, in California.
And for more about Ray, visit his site or find him on social media:
Monica J. O'Rourke has published more than one hundred short stories in magazines such as Postscripts, Nasty Piece of Work, Fangoria, Flesh & Blood, Nemonymous, and Brutarian and anthologies such as Horror for Good (for charity), The Mammoth Book of the Kama Sutra, and The Best of Horrorfind. She is the author of Poisoning Eros I and II, written with Wrath James White, Suffer the Flesh, and the brand-new collection, In the End, Only Darkness. Watch for her new novel, What Happens in the Darkness, later this year from Sinister Grin Press. Monica works as a freelance editor, proofreader, and book coach. Her website is an ongoing and seemingly endless work in progress.
And for more about Monica, find her on social media:
Shane McKenzie is the author of many books, including Muerte Con Carne, Pus Junkies, Addicted to the Dead, All You Can Eat, Mutt, Fat Off Sex and Violence, and lots more. He wrote comics for Zenescope Entertainment in their Oz series, Grimm Fairy Tales series, and Grimm Tales of Terror series. The film El Gigante, done by LuchaGore Productions and directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, is based on the first chapter of Muerte Con Carne. He continues to write screenplays for LuchaGore. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife and daughter. He's staring at you right now.
And for more about Shane, visit his site or find him on social media: