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Book Review - "Havoc After Dark" by Robert Fleming

Book Review - Robert Fleming's Havoc After Dark


Dark and Excellent Short Horror Story Collection


To say Havoc After Dark is a collection of fourteen short stories makes it sound so...normal. Just a few stories in a book, like any other book. But this isn’t any ordinary collection, and these stories are like nothing you’ve ever read. 

Though billed as a collection of stories in the horror genre, the horror comes at you from so many directions that people looking for typical monsters and mayhem might not get it.

Individually, these stories shine as startling gems of originality. Together? They are a masterpiece. A perfect illustration in words of why the short-story format can do so much more than longer fiction. It has to. In the hands of a master writer like Robert Fleming (whose work has appeared in literary magazines, newspapers, and collections), words have the power to move. To change minds. To chill and to haunt. And to spark intense feelings (as illustrated by reader reviews, both good and bad, appreciative and hateful).

I loved this book for the following reasons:

Usually, writers work from the outside in—they observe the world and find ways to describe people, situations, and settings so readers relate, recognizing the world they know or seeing it in a different way. Writers often write to express ideas or feelings, to elicit emotion. Mr. Fleming does this exceptionally well. But what sets him apart, is the way he also writes from the inside...out. He seems to channel voices as disparate as a woman come back from the dead, a paid killer, racists, troubled children in impossible circumstances, a dying man, Edgar Allen Poe, Nazis, a haunted blues musician, lawyers, priests, and voodoo queens.

He writes as if he’s lived a thousand lives and walked every city on earth. Witnessed history from all sides. Has been the oppressor and the oppressed. Been whispered to by ghosts, vampires, murderers, and the devil himself.

Each story is unique. Some are hard to read. The horror so real it punches you in the gut. Each piece is written in a voice so different from the last it’s mind boggling that one person could create such unique tales. Yet, they all contain lush descriptions, making their settings as rich and real as the characters, and this too is a hallmark of Mr. Fleming's work.

From the shortest to the longest, these stories grab you by the throat, drag you into strange worlds, and into the minds of those living the tale, for that’s the way it feels reading this book—as if you step into the story and live it right along with Mr. Fleming’s characters. 

The thread tying them together is the “horror”. The hatred. The loss of hope. The fighting against a world gone mad. And yes...against monsters, both human and otherworldly.

It's difficult to pick favorites, but I particularly enjoyed Life After Bas, The Inhuman Condition, Punish the Young Seed of Satan, and The Wisdom of the Serpents. I won’t tell you what they are about, but instead, encourage you to treat yourself to this collection.

This book is special. This writer is awe-inspiring. These stories will stick with you, and if you are a writer, they will inspire you to reach deeper the next time you set out to write a story.

My rating - 5-stars


Preview "Tales of a Vampire Hunter"

Click to buy, share, or preview the first few chapters of Tales of a Vampire Hunter - Omnibus Edition (the Collected Works of the Tales of a Vampire Series, Books 1 - 3).


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Emmanuelle de Maupassant and "Cautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges"

Book Review - Cautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges by Emmanuelle de Maupassant


Every once in awhile, I stumble across a writer who seems to come from another time, a time before Fifty Shades of Grey and the endless stream of imitators that followed. Back to the days when strong, intelligent women with darkly-woven souls wrote thought-provoking, deep, and literary works of fiction. 

Women like Sylvia Plath, Anais Nin, and Mary Shelley. The kind of women men feared and desired, repelled and attracted. Women who often wrote in secrecy, many of whom are still put down today by those who fear the power of their original voices screaming out into what remains largely a man's literary world. The kind of voice you cannot help but notice, penning prose that makes you shiver, think about your inner landscape and demons, and inspires writers to be better themselves.

Most of you know I have been fighting a medical condition for the past several years, one that has prevented me from writing as I once did. I've filled the gap, and my craving for words, by reading and listening to audiobooks when my vision will not allow written words to be seen.

So, though I may be late to the party, I want to introduce you to Emmanuelle de Maupassant, author of Cautionary Tales.

“We are the voices in the shadows …”

Inspired by Eastern European and Russian superstitions and folklore, here are twelve tales. Darkly delicious imaginings for the adult connoisseur of bedtime stories.

Listen,
Listen with your eyes,
and your lips.

Be drawn into a world where the boundaries between the everyday and the unearthly are snakeskin-thin, where the trees have eyes and the night has talons, where demons, drawn by the perfume of human vice and wickedness, lurk with intents malicious and capricious.

Listen with your skin
and your blood.

Here, the touching of your coat button as you pass through a graveyard can mean the difference between great fortune or eternal misfortune.

We’re here,
at the edges.

Tread carefully, for here the dark things best left behind in the forest may seep under your door and sup with you; the lover at your window or in your bed may have the scent of your death already on their breath.

We are the shiver on your uneasy flesh,
The creep of the unknown on your skin.

Whispered to you from the edges, from the haunted mouths of those who see more than you or I, here are twelve tales of lust and rivalry, of envy and deceit, and of secrets gouged from of the darkest depths of the human heart.

Is your shadow on the wall,
really yours, after all?

Emmanuelle de Maupassant strikes the pitch-perfect balance between rapacious sexuality and moral justice by using one to feed the other. She has done something unique with Cautionary Tales. She’s taken a literary tradition and transcribed it for the sexual landscape of the present day. – Malin James

Read more on  Emmanuelle de Maupassant's website, or purchase Cautionary Tales now.

The stories in this collection could have been written long ago by the Grimm brother's darker sister. The one they locked in a shed with a box full of dusty nursery books and only let out when the moon was full.

They are loosely connected in tone and their morality based sentiments. Despite that (which, I admit, initially turned me off), they are sexy little tales one can imagine pouring from a feverish mind, filled with demons and sex, fantasy and horror of the best kind.

*Disclaimer. My opinions are my own. I never accept monetary compensation for book reviews, nor am I in any way affiliated with AMAZON. I receive nothing from them, or anyone else when I recommend a book or writer, other than the pleasure of sharing good books with other readers.