Clever. One word; clever.
That is how I will summarize Still the Shadows by Elizabeth Fields, a collection of four short horror stories suitable for young adults or adults who have a preference other than the hack ‘n slash gore and zombie apocalypse that seems to be on permanent repeat on Amazon’s “Top Choices” list. Clever tales, clever technical writing, clever delivery and execution. Clever.
Still the Shadows balances the four short horror stories into equal parts of first and third person narrative as well as length, tone, and sentence structure to offer a smooth read that does not have a robotic feel that burdens down the reader. Basically sampling every flavor that is served up in horror author culinary school and balancing it into a four course literature meal.
Flypaper is the first twisted tale of a young couple that gets stranded and is dependent on the “help” of an elderly couple. If help is what you want to call it.
The Apartment (My personal favorite of the four since I have an affinity to haunted house stories) is a first person tale of a young woman’s supernatural experiences in a new apartment while she attempts to adjust to a new high pressure job in a new town away from her family.
Cinnamon is an easy and short read that explores the fear of spiders. If just the mention of the eight legged furry buggers makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, this story will make you look for a fine tooth comb!
The Change is one of the two longer stories in the collection and is the crowning diadem of the unexpected twist. The Change is a story about a few surviving humans that remain in a civilization when vampires take over as the ruling class. Readers will appreciate that Fields puts a spin on the tired vampire tale by “giving Dracula a new cape” instead of recycling the same hum-drum vampire narrative.
Fields understand the difference of layers in horror as her stories run the gauntlet from subtle startle to full on terror. Unlike some writers that tire the reader out by bashing them with terror the whole time, she puts the reader on a rollercoaster ride of emotions allowing for the highs and lows of fear. This shows great restraint and highlights Field’s experience as a story teller.
One can appreciate how Fields takes the reader to one place in her stories, but then delivers them to a different location other than where they expected to arrive. Don’t expect to cut any of her stories short, even though they are easy to read and digest, trying to skip ahead will only leave the reader lost as the story will have taken a much unexpected turn when the carpet gets pulled out from under them.
Still the Shadows will fulfill the needs of the person that is craving a change to their literary palate. I recommend this book for the young adult and for the adult that can appreciate a variation to the same old song and dance that the Amazon top 20 has to offer. I can think of about 19 other authors in the same genre that given the chance to read Fields’ workwould think, “How clever.”
Elizabeth Fields books can be found at Amazon.com
Learn more about her at www.elizabethfields.net