Friday, 18 March 2016

REVIEW: Martin Mundt - Synchronized Sleepwalking

Genre: Horror / Collection
Publisher: Dark Arts Books
Publication Date: 23rd Oct 2015
Pages: 256


A copy of Synchronised Sleepwalking by Martin Mundt was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publisher, Dark Arts Books, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

So, I get an email from John Everson at Dark Arts asking if I would be interested in a copy of Synchronised Sleepwalking for review. I have heard of John and indeed Martin in the circles so I was interested to take a look. When I discovered there were twenty-seven tales in this one, I was a little put off. That means a lot of work for someone like me who reviews each individual story.

Then in another email from John he stated: “I think it’s a pretty special, unusual book!” Interest piqued!

Each review will be a little shorter with there being so many but let’s see just how unusual this book really is!

Normally I give each story two ratings, a general rating for the story and one for the horror or thrills or humour. Each story in this collection is so different, they cannot possibly fall under one category. The feeling I kept getting was bizarre.

So for my second rating for each story, it is a bizarreness rating. This will include horror, thrills, humour and weirdness. If this doesn’t make sense, I apologise but I know what I mean and you will too when you read it. Mr Mundt will certainly get it!


A flash fiction piece about a man paying a visit to his dominatrix. When she leaves the room he has dealings with her parrot.

Strange to say the least.

★★.5 for general.

0 for bizarreness mix.


Mitch is a cop in a futuristic land where everyone is a criminal and has their crimes from their past lives downloaded from their brain into a device called the Rear View.

Penny has just turned eighteen and has automatically become a criminal.

Strange one this. It has a horrific atmosphere about it. Very dark and constricting. I liked this.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Chloe wants Brett. Problem is Brett is getting married and doesn't cheat. Bigger problem is Chloe won't take no for an answer.

Almost paying homage to Fatal attraction, this is a tale of lust and hatred and the horror of stalking.

Or is it? This has a wicked twist at the end.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A man storms into a brothel, hell bent on murder, after being dumped by his girlfriend. He didn't bank on bumping into Cleopatra.

This is hilarious. It's horror and bizarre and funny and brutal and sickening all rolled into one big ball. Horrific in many ways but will leave you with a smile on your face.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A man decides to build a circular staircase in his garden made up of books from his house.

His neighbours keep telling him it will fall down. He has faith though.

This story has rocketed right to the very top of my favourite short stories. This is a magical, wondrous story that had me in total awe from beginning to end. A very simple idea but so beautifully written I challenge anyone to read this and not smile from ear to ear when they are finished.


★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Another strange one in which a man full of optimism who wants to be a billionaire has to sell body parts for money and ends up as a piece of furniture.

Bizarre in the extreme but strangely captivating at the same time, to the point where you actually feel quite sorry for him.

★★★★ for general.

★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A rather sad story about an ex-circus fat lady who gets too fat for the job and has to retire. She doesn't stop getting fat either.

An ending that will make the strongest stomachs in the world rise to bring the breakfast back.

★★★.5 for general.

★★★.5 for bizarreness mix.


A tale about a lost dog, where the narrator reads from a lost dog poster he found. Another with a stomach turning twist at the end.

Sometimes you read a story in this book and wonder if Mr Mundt’s medication is strong enough.

This is one of those stories.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


An old man tries to enter a city but is turned away at the gates. He stays outside and starts to tell a story to a few people. The few people turn into a few hundred people and then a few thousand people.

He claimed he used to be a King and would be again. No one believed him. Everyone eventually believes a story teller.

This is beautiful. Such a difference from some of the earlier stories in this collection. This is almost like a parable. You can imagine the old man being surrounded by people totally engrossed in his story. Almost like Jesus being surrounded by people.

The lesson in this one is that it takes an excellent story teller to keep you engrossed in a story about an excellent story teller.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A vivid description of your dream. The one where everything that could go wrong is going wrong and you just cannot wake up.

This is written in such a way that it does convince you, the reader, that you are in fact having the dream in the story. Very effective and very scary.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A man walks into a shop to buy a chicken but the store owner refuses because the man wants to kill it immediately. Through some sense of strange honour, the store owner relents.

Bizarre but hilarious at the same time, this is a story of honour and dignity and the loss thereof. Brutal, bloody, but very funny, this has set things up very nicely for part two.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


After the murderous rampage of El Pollo in part one of the story, the infamous Brothers have arrived to exact their revenge on the killer chicken. They better have come prepared.

This is the continuing saga of the most badass chicken in the world.

Reading like the cruellest of spaghetti westerns, this story will have you quaking in your boots the next time you have to cross paths with a chicken! You will never know if he might be......El Pollo!

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


In the concluding part if the trilogy, the end battle is in sight as the killers arrive in town to avenge the death of the Brothers.

El Pollo is the only one they want but they will stop at nothing to get him.

A heart wrenching finale to what is surely one of the most memorable legends that I have read in recent times.

Viva El Pollo!

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Jeff has had enough of the cat. He's also had enough of his wife, his daughter and his mother in law.

All he needs is a hammer and some nails.

I was reading this story actually thinking about the logistics of it and had to remind myself it is just a story and not to be taken seriously.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Barry likes explosions. He would like to take this like to a new extreme but cannot find a willing partner. Then he meets Bambi.

Full of sexual tension and charged with a certain explosive tenacity, this story is both sickening and hilarious.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A man walks into his local 7-11 and is caught up in the middle of a robbery when he also comes across Christopher Walken trying to buy some crisps.

This is another of those totally abstract stories from Mr Mundt that has me wondering about his medication again. You know what though? I am getting used to them and they are becoming engrossing as well as thoroughly entertaining and very funny.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


An old blind man and a boy are begging by the side of the road. The boy lies to the old man. Is it for malice or for his benefit?

I think I understood this story but I am not sure. On the one hand it was full of viciousness and one person taking advantage of the other. On the other hand, it was beautiful to watch one person care so much for another. Which was right?

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


No idea. It’s a story about drugs and people taking them all the time.

I felt like I was spaced the entire time I read it.

★★ for general.

★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A heart-warming tale of love and the effects of love, even after death.

A chance to get your breath back in this collection and learn that Mr Mundt’s heart seems to be in the right place. An excellent story for the more spiritual of you out there.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


This is the story of Wally and his fascination and love for ex movie star, Livia Turner. He has invited her to his house under the pretence of doing an interview.

She agrees but it all seems a bit weird.

This one I didn’t really get. It was really just Wally and Livia having a conversation about the good old days. I didn’t really get it, unless I missed the punch line at the end.

★★ for general.

★★ for bizarreness mix.


Mr Cody is an estate agent. He has been invited by Derwent to try and sell his father’s house, Voss House. It is a strange building and the request to meet at 10pm also seems strange. Mr Cody though, is used to this sort of request from his clients. That is why he is so good at his job.

Creepy. Very creepy. Can’t tell you much about it but this house is haunted. Almost living. Mr Cody knows what he has to do to get out but can’t bring himself to do it.

Excellent creepy tale that will have your skin crawling.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Alien beings descend to earth promising eternal existence if you pass through them. Only question being, do you?

This is one of the scariest things I have ever read. It is written in such an unassuming way that you get totally ensconced in the story, believing everything you are reading. Much like the character telling you the story.

This is like my ultimate fear come true. Or is it simply a variation of one of the biggest stories, some would say biggest lies, there has ever been?

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Magnuson is having a really bad day. Anything that could go wrong is going wrong. He's now stuck in traffic. If the guy behind him honks once more he's going to kill him.

Funny, but serious and brutal tale about the simplest of things. The guy behind who won't stop honking. Sometimes you just gotta get on with it because sometimes, they have their reasons.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


A young lad with a terrible drug addiction has heard about a shop. A shop where the proprietor can help with anything. He goes to him for help with his addiction but he needs money. A lot of money.

The only way of getting the money is to rob his father. But his father might also know of this shop.

This is a very cool story.  Very dark. You do feel sympathy for the character but hate him at the same time. When you come to the last pages though, you cannot help but scream for him. Excellent.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Tyler Lawton has been searching for The Scrimshaw Museum for years. He knows he is close and his excitement is beyond belief. Will that excitement remain when he actually finds it?

I understood everything until it got to a certain point then I lost it. Sometimes I think I am just not smart enough to get Mr Mundt’s work.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for bizarreness mix.


A beautiful anniversary picnic to make memories that will last forever, on probably the most memorable anniversary for the entire world.

A poignant tale showing that some nice things do happen on the most disastrous of days.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for bizarreness mix.


Astronauts falling from the sky fascinate a young boy right throughout his childhood until he becomes old enough to be one. He wants to know where they come from.

A lovely calm tale of death and the mysteries behind it. This to me is an example of just how death can sometimes be taken for granted.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for bizarreness mix.

So there you have it. My take on the tales included within Synchronised Sleepwalking.

My impressions? This collection will stay with me for a long long time, for varying reasons. It possesses some of the most bizarre stories I have ever read. It possesses probably the best short story I have ever read in The Pale Blue Zenith of the Sky. It possesses one of the scariest stories I have ever read in To Continue Forever. It possesses probably the funniest trilogy of stories I have read about a super hero chicken, El Pollo.

What it definitely shows us is the varied and mighty impressive imagination of Martin Mundt. Sometimes horrific, sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful, his writing is just fantastic. His pacing is perfect. His use of language and vocabulary super and so perfectly fitting for each and every story.

I defy anyone who picks this collection up not to get something good from it. I absolutely loved it and I look forward to the next collection from Mr Mundt. The man is a genius at short story writing.

Normally, my rating for a collection is made up of the average of all scores for the individual stories. You know what though? Given the fact this book has twenty-seven stories in it and I loved so many of them, I cannot give it less than full marks!

Highest possible recommendation!

General rating:

★★★★★ I can give no less!

Bizarreness rating:

★★★★★ So bizarre it's.....well....bizarre!

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Synchronised Sleepwalking or any other books from Martin. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

To sleep, perchance to dream... And in dreaming lies the danger! With Martin Mundt as your dangerous Dream Master, in the 27 tales within, you'll visit places dark and places strange. You'll live dreams both oddly hilarious and eerily heart-wrenching.

From a couple with a fetish for fireworks to a tower of words that reaches to the sky and beyond... from a dominatrix with a perverted parrot to a triptych of El Pollo tales of fowl revenge... from an ex-girlfriend who'd make Kathy Bates' character in Misery seem like a good time girl to a Lovecraftian descent into the darkest magic... These dreams will kidnap your imagination and take you to places you've never dared before to see. Hide all the sharp objects in your bedroom and prepare for some serious Sleepwalking...

Martin Mundt has published one novel: "Reanimated Americans" with Creeping Hemlock Press; two collections of short stories, "The Dark Underbelly of Hymns" (originally published by Delirium Books), and "The Crawling Abattoir" (originally published by Twilight Tales Publications), and both re-issued in 2013 by Dark Arts Books at; as well as a novella, "The Cranston Gibberer" with Bad Moon Books.

He had three stories appear in the anthology "Candy in the Dumpster", the first book published by Dark Arts Books in 2006. He founded the webzine in 2004. His play, "The Jackie Sexknife Show", was produced by the Crooked Twilight Theatre Company in Chicago in 2003. Seven of his short stories have received Honorable Mention in "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" anthologies.

His film reviews can be found at He won the Flash Fiction contests at the World Horror Conventions in 2005 and 2006 with stories that cannot be read in front of children.

And for more about Martin, visit his site or find him on social media:

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