The Horror Zine Review
by Brett Matthew Graham
|Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 18, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches
by Brett Matthew Graham
Review by Jeani Rector
I am familiar with author Brett Matthew Graham, having previously reviewed his full-length novel The Tresspassers. Now Graham has compiled a new collection of ten short stories (six of which are reprints and four are new and original to this collection) and poetry for the book titled Suspentia.
For those of you whom the name Brett Matthew Graham rings a bell, it could be because he is a frequent contributor to SNM Magazine. In fact, in 2009, Graham was chosen as the SNM Magazine “Author of the Year.”
I will be the first to say that there are many short story collections out there, so it takes real talent for any of these numerous books to stand apart. I believe Suspentia is one of the better books of this type on the market today.
The difference between “anthology” and “collection” is that anthologies are short stories from different authors and collections are short stories from a single author. Graham is the single author in this case.
Suspentia is a thin book, clocking in at only 214 pages. However, it is very reasonably priced at $9.99. The publisher is SNM Magazine, using CreateSpace. Suspentia is competently edited by Steven Marshall and Kevin McClintock and the cover art was created by Samantha Marshall, depicting an androgynous face that appears to be decomposing.
Now for the review. Brett Matthew Graham gifts this book with beautifully descriptive prose that captures the locations, and better yet, captures the emotions of the protagonists wonderfully. He reels in the reader with just the right amount of suspense and consistently delivers nice twists at the endings.
As in all collections, there are strong stories and weaker ones. My favorites in this book include “Jalopy” because we are so sure the protagonist is right in his actions until we learn the real truth of the situation. It contains a nice delivery of the surprise at the end. I admit I didn’t see that one coming, which makes “Jalopy” a very successful story.
Another favorite is “Dr. Spindle’s House.” This story borders on brilliant. The imagination here is compelling. “Dr. Spindle’s House” is like nothing I have ever read. What happens to the defects from people once the doctors remove them?
And then we have “Pictures,” which follows the theme of how different people handle grief, except Graham adds his own unique touch. “Pictures” is another stand-out.
One of the weaker stories is “A Letter to Arthur Fisk.” This story lost my interest immediately because it is told through a series of diary-type letters. That makes this story past-tense, which makes it told in a passive voice. This style of fiction is “telling” the story instead of “showing” the story. It is hard to achieve suspense using a passive voice, and “A Letter to Arthur Fisk” is no exception.
Still, overall, Suspentia is a worthy collection. At only $9.99, it is good for the budget. I recommend it for any short story fan.
You can buy Suspentia HERE
About the Author
Brett Matthew Graham
Brett Matthew Graham writes prose, poetry and music. His debut novel, The Trespassers was published here by SNM Publications. He has 6 published stories with SNM Mag, prior to his novella collaboration with the Senior Editor, Steven Marshall, entitled, “Occultica.” He also appears in BBB II, III and IV, and is the 2009 SNM Author of the Year. This is his third print novel; a collection of his 6 published SNM short stories, 4 new stories, and his poetry. He resides in Shadyside, Ohio, with his lovely wife and enjoys playing in a local band with friends.
About the Reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, Lost Souls, All Destiny, and many others. Her novel of historical fiction titled Pestilence: A Medieval Tale of Plague was released in 2012.