Well thanks to "Reading By Dawn" we have a Five Star Review on Amazon - here you go:
The Thirteen Signs.
Published by Nocturnicorn Books.
Edited and Compiled by Dean M Drinkel. This book contains enough shorts that truly will/should surely be nominated for awards and stay with you.
Stories that take primal fears, medieval monstrosities, angry employees, lost and loveless topiarists, angered and cruelly shaped young men.
This Anthology and its works had pieces that have shown me and other writers, readers how you write and create a masterpiece within a short limited space of words.
It has given me inspiration and my love for short fiction like no other book/anthology ever has.
This contains stories that go beyond pulp, hyper reality violence and poses deep questions on the soul, humanity, spirituality and the horrors we put unto ourselves.
The stand outs were for me:
Leo by Tim Dry,
Tims story telling is deftly handled- to convey a multitude of emotions, depth and an unnerving reality had me truly tied up with Leo' mind and personality.
From the get go " ... I was very different from the very moment that I poked my head out of her diluted, ruby-lipped fanny..." to passages of "The one that was only really used for finding snot, picking off the scabs from damaged knees and cradling plastic toys". And the rest, the way that within a few sparse paragraphs and pages you are given the whole history, niggling small moments, that familar nostalgia of place, smell touch, reverting us into deep reveries and deliberations- that allow you to be with Leo on his journey from the ginger haired boy to Leo The Lover. Leo a man strong in many aspects but deeply clawing for that attention and worth he lost in a way from his Mother pushed me in my seat.
I really love Tims prose, distinctive writing and am willing and working towards to getting more of his work to be on my shelves.
Carapace by Raven Dane, which left me wanting more and left me emotional.
I now have read a story that, no hyperbole left me near to tears by the way the genre is treated and handled with unique perspective and care by love by Raven.
Its rare that within a short, a place where recently my love slumped has been reaffirmed.
It is mesmeric, the detail, the history of this world and Kingdom of Wrax- of mutated creatures in a Ye Olde time works wonders and gives it that edge of time, a verve and history that is a welcome combination that slots together magnificently.
Ravens piece featured has made me fall in love with short story writing. It has strangely affected me in a very personal way.
All three from Tim/Raven/Lily encapsulating themes, worlds and terror, benign , fierce, real, primal that as a young rookie finding his feet have affected me as a Free Lance writer myself.
Her short is nothing short of gripping. It never stops but has a pace where you are not skimming but luxuriating in this vivid world she has crafted.
Come Join The Blood Parade by Lily Childs, is really a story that made me go-"I WISH I wrote/and could write something like that"- the pace is sensual, the minutiae of detail in her prose encapsulated me.
I love nature, inanimate objects birthing life or coming to life, and this is that and much, much more.
Truly a grand piece.
Trevor Kennedys and Robert E. Tates
SOLOMON CARSON AND THE DEATH OF A VIRGIN, is about a man receiving messages from another realm. It is a highly enjoyable and a vastly assured piece. And I have yet to read a short written by two writers before- until niw! But both feel as one in this short and never are there dominant passages and moments.
Seven For Eight by Romain Collier was a welcoming surprise, being his first English written short that since the recent events of France, his story has that addition of sadness, revolt and perspective weighing on the story and giving it a very up to date relevence.
Hooked by James Everington, is another that stood out among this masterfully takented crowd- that is the most, for me, by the book horror/extreme in its by the book tropes- but it is very pacy, grisly gory and a has a killer edge.
Editor and fellow contributors short Worshipping The Snake by Dean M Drinkel is also one that was, is, still firmly stuck in my mind, coiling and striking with its vivid clarity and vivaciousness and dark sinners sensuality. Dean is a dark horse, with a variant of knowledge, originality and prowess in his writing skills.
The only short that I did not get along with was Mark Wests - The Order Of Aries.
It is probably down to me not having read all of this certain characters-Mike Deckers- various stories featuring in a stream of Drinkels Anthologies, and not yet bonded with him as a character much.
Its fast, well written, but its very cliched and on the nose. But it got a cringe from me in one moment where a nail gun is involved so Mark still, with the weakest among the bunch, still affected me.
The rest are all very good.
The Scorpion Dance by Amelia Mangan is short about a dwindling musician who finds a new rite of passage in life through sex, revenge and rebirth. Layered and strong and as usual not a cliched piece that unrolls the familar whether personel or frequently experienced from social media/ media itself and our pop culture obsession-and having a slathering of the absurdists goods of malevolent/dormant evil arising from a failed name in our dog eat dog world of arts and consumerism.
One In Twelve by Steve Byrne felt quite like a retrodden story, a piece about a man worrying about his wife's involvement in a stream of Sagittarius murders. But like all its not bad writing, just left me with the feeling if - read it once and will read it a dozen more times.
A Sorrow Of Sweet Pipings By Jan Edwards was a unique almost cosmic horror that felt like somebody who knew and loved that sub genre in horror.
Very poetic, assured and I have been aware of her as an Editor of grand Anthologies herself with Alchemy Press, but as a writer I wish to seek out her own works.
Ganymede by Emile-Louis Tomas Jouvet was just a very singular piece that I felt by the description was misplaced. But oh boy how wrong was I.
Vivid, lyrical, fresh.
Leeber by Christine Dougherty, is a very Shakespearian love story thats both sweet/deadly. A nice tip of the hat, but not even that- its just a cliche in many genres and dibs generes since the Bard himself, but without being anything like the infamous star crossed lovers of Romio & Juliet, it is its thing and better for it. The question being, is love stronger than fate?
You will have to read to find out.
It is a Five star read, period.
It holds a dear place in my heart as it will shape people's futures and perspectives as readers, writers and critics alike.
As it has done me.
Overall: This book features truly exceptional pieces of work. Awards worthy?
Yes. Will these stories stand the test of time? The majority of them will indeed.
This book will stay with you, all down to these short, and nothing short of seminal pieces of horror/speculative fiction.