19 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

If You Go Into The Woods by David Gaughran

Short stories are tough. You have a limited amount of words and space to not only develop your characters, but also the storyline. I’ve seen some authors do amazing things with short stories… if only this was one of those times.

I went in thinking “Oh good! Creepy stories for October!” and left with “Umm… what the heck did I just read and how can I get that 15 minutes of my life back?”. Here’s the thing… the premise of the stories are awesome. Both are “thinking” stories. The writing is even really really great.

The problem is the ending and development of how we get there. In both cases I was left with a “oh yeah, well so what” thought. The second story I think actually had some real promise to be a short story and I kept waiting for the author to get there, but it just never really developed, it just fizzled out.

The first story was a little too wordy yet didn’t have enough information, so we were left with a “so what” ending.

Honestly, I think if the author were to take these ideas (especially the second one), he’d have himself a really nice novella out of each one. As they are now, “meh”.

Recommended to people who like stories without endings 😉

If You Go Into The Woods is a collection of two unsettling short stories. The title story is set in Caslav, a small town 60 miles east of Prague, Czech Republic. Jiri Beranek is drawn to a nearby forest, captivated by birds hidden high in the trees. Each time he enters, his desire to see the mysterious creatures is checked by his fear of the dark. When he finally forces himself to go farther, he finds a new reason to be afraid. This story was first published by The Delinquent (UK) then selected by Short Story America for inclusion in their anthology of their best stories of 2010.

The bonus story – The Reset Button – is set in Stockholm, Sweden in the depths of winter. Linus Eriksson, a divorced bachelor living alone in his small one-bedroom apartment, is a man with a memory problem: instead of not being able to remember anyone, nobody can remember him. This story is brand new, exclusively available in this e-book. These two creepy tales have a combined length of 4,000 words, or around 16 book pages.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Book count for 2012: 28

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