Debbie Wiley
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Vietnamese Water Puppets
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Caravaggio, The Cardsharps, c. 1594.
Caravaggio, The Cardsharps, c. 1594.

From Debbie Wiley Book Reviews
The Crawlspace:
A Collection of Short Horror Stories
The Crawlspace: A Collection of Short Horror Stories by Darryl Dawson
by Darryl Dawson

Darryl Dawson gives readers a glimpse into the macabre, providing unsettling tales that fit together perfectly into one horror anthology that is sure to thrill!

The anthology kicks off with my favorite story, “Hamburger Lady”, in which a teacher tells of a ghostly appearance. Retribution is a key element to this story and Darryl Dawson creates a haunting atmosphere that makes it believable. “The Puppet Show” features a bizarre attraction at a deserted gas station. Anyone who has ever stopped at one of those isolated gas stations will get a shiver down their spine after reading this tale! “The House With No Clocks” shows a gambler whose luck is about to take a turn for the worse. “I Am He Who Laughs Last” is a new twist on the dangers of viral videos. Short but frighteningly realistic! “The Crawlspace” ties in with the cover and was easily the most horrifying tale for me, thanks to a fear of all things bug-related. “A Test of Faith” features a controlling, abusive husband and an act that changes it all. Darryl Dawson does an excellent job at conveying the abusive nature of the husband and making the reader sympathetic to the wife. “Trick” is a story of revenge by an old lady at Halloween. “I Scream, You Scream” takes on the ice cream man and turns him into a nightmare figure. “The Paper Technique” shows a hypnotist trapped by his own tricks. “Chien Sauvage” shows a cheating husband getting his comeuppance by a woman he meets online. “Yellow” offers a new perspective on the traffic light. Short but stunning! “Closing Time at Teddie’s” is about a haunted nightclub where a birthday takes a dangerous turn. “Connecting Flight” concludes this anthology and features a boy at an airport who can levitate. Just how far will he travel?

THE CRAWLSPACE offers up a variety of tales for all lovers of horror short stories. Ranging from the bizarre to the mundane (with a twist, of course), Darryl Dawson covers the gamut in his anthology. “Yellow” and “Hamburger Lady” are two of my favorites and both are very different in their impact but with one key similarity- retribution. Darryl Dawson taps into the reader’s need for justice, often offering it up in terms that can be both satisfying and disturbing. This is the mark of a good horror writer- one who can make explore your fears while at the same time drawing on societal issues, such as sexual abuse, adultery, and domestic violence. Bravo!

Publisher: AuthorHouse (September 2009)

Reviewed by Debbie, Debbie Wiley Book Reviews

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Copyright Deborah Wiley 2009 All Rights Reserved