Now, this book has been on my list for waaaaaay too long. Close to two years I think. And that’s because originally I wasn’t aiming to review it. I was going to create a video to help promote it. A.F. Stewart was kind enough to send me a copy of her book and the permission to perform a passage of it on YouTube as a Spider’s Nest episode and then I never finished that project.
So, to review this one I actually went back to amazon, bought a copy and then read the whole thing. Because I figured, if I can’t get myself to finish recording that idea, then I can at least do a review. And Anita’s been so patient with me that she deserved a sale out of this. The artwork you’re about to see sprinkled throughout this review is artwork I created for the video segment.
Now that we have to backstory out of the way, let’s talk about
Killers and Demons II: They Return
Written by: A.F. Stewart
Genre: Horror, Short Stories Collection, Serial Killers, Demons, Supernatural, Gore
Publishing Info: October 4, 2014
Evil is back, with a greater appetite for death.
They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.
Killers and Demons II: They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.
The Villainous Roster:
Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his “cookie” of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, hanged as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane
And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…
Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators.[amazon]
Killers vs Demons
There are two distinct sections within this collection of short stories. Those that deal with humans that are depraved killers and those that deal with demons and their depraved existences. And there is one story cleverly tucked into the fold between those two sections that out and out surprises you with the shift in topics.
Our human murders take the lead in this collection, tearing into the pages and splashing blood out at your right off the bat. These stories felt a little bit rushed, because they were speeding past the set-up to get to the fun slasher-splatter parts. However, this felt like a purposeful choice. The pacing of the book as a whole was pretty fantastic.
The first few stories rip right in and then as you get deeper in they start to slow down and fill in the details. I did enjoy the scenarios that were explored in these stories though. The one that disturbed me the most started off with a man witnessing a brutal mugging. It went down-hill from there real fast. Well, down-hill in a “Holy S**t, did that seriously just happen?!” Kind of way.
And then there’s Alice. Poor depraved Alice who just wanted to have a little fun. It’s her story that I created the artwork off of, and she is- by far- my favorite story from the Killer side of things. I think a big part of that is the sweet, yet chilling, way the story is told through her voice. You can sympathize with her, she is just a little girl locked in the basement after all. Right?
As soon as we got into the demons side of the collection I felt like the stories started to slow down just enough to build a little more atmosphere before getting into wickedly written stabbing-tearing-action. But with the demons, a little more time was given to build up the details of the world around them, and how the demons played into it. Most of my favorite stories from this book come from the demons section.
The one story that will stick with me the longest though is the one that starts off with a young woman questioning her life choices in a coffee shop. I do not want to ruin the surprise of this story, but what I will say is -the way this story was fleshed out left me wanting more. I could read an entire series based on this one. The world that built up around the main character is absolutely fascinating.
5 out of 5 Blood Spattered Stars – If you’re looking for a fast-paced read with a lot of gore and violence splashed across it’s pages this is a great book to pick up.
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Connect with the Author, A.F. Stewart
PS. There’s even more of these illustrations. If you’d like to see me actually finish this video, let me know in the comment section. If enough people speak up, I will actually finish putting this together.