on Oct. 14, 2010 :
A thrill per penny! Can't beat that chill factor!
From the opening story in this shocking collection, "A Grave Error," to the closing, "title" story, "Skeletons in the Closet," author Cheryl Kaye Tardif had me gasping with fright...many times over. These stories are shocking! Frightening! Original!
Don't ask any lover of horror and thriller books why they enjoy being frightened! There's no easy answer; it's just an odd malady with which we're cursed--or are we blessed? I don't know! All I know is that I truly enjoyed being frightened by the creepy characters and nightmarish events in this book.
Being the curious kind of person who likes doing things opposite to the natural order, I started with the title story, even though it's last in Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories.
Tardif dreamed of putting a book of creepy stories together since she was about sixteen. Some of these are current works and some were written more than twenty-five years ago. To pique your curiosity and arouse your interest, these are the works she chose for this special edition, in order of presentation--A Grave Error,The Death of an Old Cow, Maid of Dishonor, Atrophy, Picture Perfect, Sweet Dreams, Separation Anxiety, The Car, Deadly Reunion, Remote Control, Ouija, Caller Unknown and Skeletons in the Closet.
To give you a fair idea of the reading "tricks-or-treats" in store for you, let me share my opinion about a few:
In describing the Gothic, eerie feel of the old house and furnishings in "Skeletons," Tardif sets a scene that gives a creepy feel to the entire story. This is a bizarre story of a young woman whose grandmother asks her to visit the family mansion to check things for her. Her only condition is for the girl to stay out of the closet in her bedroom, so guess where the girl ends up--after squelching her guilt feelings, of course?
What she finds there is a trunk filled with horrors and much more. The girl is frightened and shocked, so is compelled to investigate. She's reading some old letters about her long-absent mother when her grandmother catches her. What happens next will make you cringe--the shockers that horrors are made of!
The girl learns all the secrets the closet contains...and then some. Where had her mother been while supposedly traveling through Europe? What does a sanitarium have to do with things? Why did her grampy drink so much and what happened when he suddenly left Grammy to care for her and her mother alone?
Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories is a fun, little fright all the way through. It left me wondering just how many sweet, little old grandmothers would go this far for a grandchild? Would I? Oooooohhh...spooky thought!
Well, after starting with the end story, I then read the first, "A Grave Error," and what a treat that is! Any woman who has ever had an irritating husband--who's having an ugly midlife crisis--and an interfering mother-in-law will relate to this one, but I hope none of you do what Myrtle does.
When her husband Norman has a midlife crisis and treats her with utter disdain--practically boring her to death--Myrtle gets out the old rat poison. And just what does she do with it? Does she do Norman in? Turn her wrath elsewhere...or...? And how does her ill-natured mother-in-law get involved? What does Myrtle learn from the old woman that prompts her to invite her to stay overnight? Tea for two, anyone?
As the author says about her Myrtle Murphy trilogy of shorts, Myrtle is a woman "you'll hate to love." And I admit, I sort of like the old girl myself. She does have a sense of humor, refers to Norman's crisis as a "Norman crisis," and just wait till you read what she does with a bottle of ketchup. To-ooo funny--completely unexpected in a shocking story like this.
You will have to read for yourself to find the answers to all the questions posed above, but I assure you that Tardif answers them in a style true to the horror genre. Perhaps her life-long idol Stephen King will pass the crown to her one day?
I also got goosebumps from Tardif's supernatural offering "Picture Perfect." It's about sisterly love and envy and is the author's personal favorite. All the stories are well-written, well-paced and "peopled" with interesting characters with whom we can all relate.
Cheryl Kaye Tardif never ceases to surprise me with the versatility of her talent. What an author! What a book! I highly recommend that you pull your comforter up tight and turn the lights up bright before starting to read.
At only $2.99, this little eBook will give you a thrill per penny. Can't beat that chill factor!
END NOTE: I'm a long-time fan of this author, having discovered her when she published her most popular book Whale Song: A Novel, and then I just had to go back to read her first novel, Divine Intervention, and her second, The River. I've followed her career ever since and was honored to interview her for my next book DREAM REACHERS: VOL. 2 (co-author Chase Von). Even at that, it stunned me to find that she has dedicated this eBook to me. What an honor! Thank you, Cheryl.
(reviewed 60 days after purchase)