The Headsman – by Cristina Mîrzoi  – Book Review


Take a glimpse into the world of a headsman, a gloomy village in which each dweller has a secret: an evil witch, a shrewd florist, a naive young man, a foreign merchant, a dreadful husband, a mischievous maid, and a lustful duke. These stories are intertwined, weaving a dark narrative of love, trickery, brutality, and loss.

Under the bleak aesthetic, raw human emotions unravel themselves in a gripping story about moral decay. In a world that belongs to the wicked, how far can one walk this path while keeping a clean conscience?

The Headsman is a collection of short stories that focus on interconnected characters, sometimes looking at the same event from a different perspective. As a genre, it falls somewhere under dark fiction territory.

Hey fellow book lovers! I hope you’re all well and enjoying good reads. I’m here today to talk about The Headsman – one of the oddest reading experiences I’ve had in a while. This is a short story collection, or is it? Well… actually, it is. However, I had to double-check what type of book this is about halfway in.

The stories contained in this svelt collection aren’t your run-of-the-mill horror, and definitely fall under the umbrella of the quieter side of the genre, leaning more into dark fiction. We’ve got murder, mystery, heinous characters, weird characters, and an overall feel of the gloomy town that every story is set in. Each story has an element of mystery/intrigue to it, and I flew through them all, even the ones that I found a little less interesting than some of the others. There’s a sense of poetry to the writing that made me feel cosy.

Where this book really excels is in its overall construction. You can read it as a collection, each story its own satisfactory, self-contained tale with a neat ending. Or you can read it in linear order and treat it as a novella, because the stories and characters are all set in the same place, and are all interlinked. Reading it this way gives you a bigger overall narrative, and treats the separate stories as chapters instead.

I’ve read collections that link characters and themes before, but I have honestly never seen it done like this, and so effectively. I am sincerely impressed with what the author pulled off here.

I’d recommend this to people who enjoy dark fiction, interweaving narratives, and a sharp and short read.

If you’d like to get your own copy or check out the author, the links you need are below:


Cristina Mîrzoi on INSTAGRAM

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