This is a spoiler-free review, so enter freely!
The “Shadows” books are a series of micro-collections by Black Shuck Books, all written by different authors, and unconnected from each other. Today we’re looking at number 17, VOICES, by the criminally not-as-well-known-as-he-deserves-to-be Kit Power.
I’m sure some of you must know that our fearless Goat Leader, Kayleigh, is basically a Kit Power superfan. She owns every book he’s released, and if you’ve come across her reviews of his work on Goodreads you’ll see her enthusiasm. So when I told her I’d never picked up one of his books, she reacted… er… strongly. She reacted sort of like you might expect Angry Goat to react to news they’d be displeased about. This intrigued me, so I picked a book from his collection at random, curious to see what all the fuss is about.
Since each of the stories contained in this svelt collection are micro-fictions, I’m going to kick my usual review format off this cliff edge that I’m perched on, and instead offer a concise summary of my thoughts on each story, followed by an overall conclusion.
What’s the worst thing you can imagine happening to your child? Think again – it could be worse. This is brutal, disorientating, and deliciously hellish.
Like a Charm
Are you feeling lucky? Well, are ya, punk? A classic ‘be careful what you wish for’ story. Wait, did I say classic? I meant f***ed up.
The Pied Piper is a dick. Side note: Kit Power is truly excellent when he’s writing in the first person.
All Loving, All Knowing
This is my favourite in the collection, and one of my favourite shorts in general. The less I tell you the better – the real fun of this dark tale is going along for the ride, but you don’t know if you’re on a rollercoaster, or a doomed train, or a weird rusty bicycle. I won’t risk spoiling a single thing, it’s too good.
Just desserts, but replace sweetness with the bitter aftertaste of evil.
Another favourite, once again written in the first person. Reminds me of The Shop, from Stephen King’s universe.
I hope you’ve got a good poker face.
A strange story and a melancholy note to end the collection on. YAY! I BASK IN MISERY – EVEN IF IT’S MY OWN!
Overall, a solid collection of teeny tiny shorts with nary a weak one amongst them. You can either dip in and out of this when you have ten minutes to spare, or enjoy what’s still a relatively quick read if you go cover to cover (as I did). What I REALLY enjoyed, perhaps as much as or even more than the stories themselves, is Power’s writing. Seriously – this guy. I see what Goat Leader was bleeting on about. There are writers, and then there are writers, and Power is one hell of a writer. Maybe I’m being hasty only one book in, but my impression already is that it’s just ridiculous that he doesn’t have a much bigger fanbase. I mean, I’m legitimately annoyed that he slipped under my radar for so long.
I’d recommend VOICES to all sorts of horror fans – there’s a little bit of lots of different things in there so I think almost everyone will find favourites.
If you’d like your own copy (and for goat’s sake, do yourself a favour and treat yourself to one), you can find it here:
Kit Power doesn’t currently have a website, but if you’d like to learn a bit more about him, you can find him on Patreon, and also on Gingernuts of Horror, where you will find his outstanding article series, ‘My Life in Horror’ (yes, I’m already now on a Kit Power binge!).
I’d also like to quickly shout out Black Shuck Books – an outstanding indie press that consistently puts out quality books by writers of the highest calibre (including Gary McMahon, Paul Kane, Charlotte Bond – the list goes on!). I highly recommend browsing what they have to offer if you’ve somehow inexplicably not yet discovered them. You can find them here:
Leave a Reply