A collection of polished Flash fiction, it leaves the reader with poignant imagery and as horror, a lingering sense of unease.
Bad flash can be like a half rendered idea, an unfinished thought -thankfully Shards is a collection of carefully crafted work that leaves you with a sense of foreboding, or wishing you hadn't just eaten.
Like any collection there are things the reader will prefer dependent on their own tastes and experience. While there were pieces that didn't grab me as a reader, there was nothing in the collection that felt to me as if it were padding.
There is a sense here that Shards is a bit of a showcase of what Cummings is capable of as a horror writer. While all tinged with the macabre there is breadth and depth in its offerings. We have the delicious and darkly humorous Smoldering Eyes at only 5 lines long, the witty Revision is Murder and the rather grotesque Itch.
My three top picks though were:
- R U OK - terrifying in its depiction of a very realistic and plausible situation
- Post Card from Paris (a reply) - again because the story skirts the edge of plausibility - this horrifying situation could happen.
- Congo Jenga - almost for its title alone, as an excellent metaphor for the tale it names. This tale riffs nicely of the dangers of traveling the dark continent and the punishment that awaits those with dark desires.
A reader might be forgiven for thinking that writing flash is easy because it's short, I think like poetry though, writing good flash, polished flash is a skill that requires practice. And Shards is the collection of a well practiced horror writer.
Shards is available through Amazon Kindle, Smashwords or in print form from Brimstone Press. It contains 33 macabre and monstrous tales of varying length.
Note: this book was provided by the author at no cost to myself.
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