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Tales From The Weekend edited by David J. Howe (book review)

January 26, 2021 | By | Reply More

‘The Road To Holly Tree Farm’ by Paul Lewis launches ‘Tales From The Weekend’, a short collection of weird fiction from Telos Publishing. Jacob is at home on a snowy winter night waiting anxiously for his wife Sarah to return from her outing in Cardiff with friends. The country roads are treacherous and the road to Holly Tree Farm is little more than a rutted track. His mobile rings and it’s her, stuck, anxious, afraid and out there all alone. An odd mix of mobile phone technology and the supernatural.

‘An Affair Of The Night’ by Darren Shan was about an on-off love affair between a vampire and a mortal lady who is now ageing. He was a nice vampire and she was a nice nurse and they had a nice time. It lacked drama but was sort of nice and a pleasant read.

In ‘Back At Six’ by Freda Warrington, estranged husband Graham is allowed to take son Tim out for a picnic by bitter ex-wife Lucy. Graham sinned (just once!) with a female colleague and now pines to get back with Lucy and replace the new boyfriend. They go to the woods and end up on a strange mound. A realistic tale of modern family life and its many anxieties with a bit of weird tacked on at the end. I share Freda Warrington’s outrage at fly-tipping in beauty spots.

More modern family life in ‘Madswitch’ by Justina L A Robson. Carol is a scientist but has quit her career to care for her autistic brother Andy and her mother, who has dementia. Her husband Mark sells insurance and considers his relatives a useless burden. Meanwhile, Carol is trying to grow cures for autism, dementia and perhaps depression in her shed. This is almost Science Fiction. I liked the way Carol coped with everything and the general Yorkshire attitude of just getting on with it is something England could use more of today.

‘Don’t Bite Your Nails’ by David J. Howe is quite mad. A young man strictly forbidden to bite his nails by stern parents gets a flat of his own and cuts the fingernails to go to a party. Strange results. The quantity of fingernail clippings seems unlikely but it was amusing and ended cleverly.

People die and turn to zombies almost instantly, so quickly that sometimes it’s hard to be sure they’re dead. The zombies are confused rather than nasty and almost no trouble but they like going for a walk and then can’t find their way home. ‘Walking The Dead’ by Sam Stone wasn’t laugh out loud funny but it amuses for half an hour and any original take on zombies is certainly welcome.

‘Life In A Northern Town’ by Steve Lockley is set in the past when kids used to work down t’mill for tuppence a week and lived in a shoebox in t’middle of t’road. A humorous cliché now but it was grim and worth remembering. Here a dozen orphans huddle against a graveyard wall for shelter and some beast attacks them. Protagonist Jack is an able and likeable kid and it’s a gripping horror story.

Last but by no means least is ‘Hollow’ by Simon Morden in which an oil rig drill bounces back with disastrous results. Geologist Jo is the only lady in the seventy-person crew and we follow her as they try to save themselves. Lots of technical detail and pellucid prose. My favourite in the book.

Tales From The Weekend’ is a solid collection from some talented, award-winning writers and certainly worth the time spent on it.

Eamonn Murphy

January 2021

(pub: Telos, 2017. 135 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84583-120-2)

check out website: www.telos.co.uk   where signed copies are available at no extra cost.

Category: Books, Horror

About the Author ()

Eamonn Murphy is a science fiction, fantasy, horror and graphic novel reviewer who writes a bit too. See https://www.amazon.co.uk/~/e/B01GEVVV5Q

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