I approached this book with a little trepidation, because the author has been a GoodReads friend for a number of years. What say I hate it? What say I think he's a dreadful writer and should have given up years ago? What say I go into an overly critical mode of reading because I'm like my grandfather who so refused to play favourites that when he was teacher to his own son (in a small country school some 70 years ago) he treated him abominably?
I have to confess that I channeled my grandfather for a while (and Grandpa, if you're reading this, I just want you to know that I understand your motivation and who-you-were, and it's all in the past, and I remember you with a great deal of love, and yes I feel your presence around me from time to time and my psychic friend Yolanda [name changed for purposes of privacy] tells me she often 'sees' you near me) and I read uber-critically. Not good, Kathleen. Not necessary. And I hate reading reviews where people pick the book (or movie or artwork) apart. I have to wonder where all that vitriol comes from (and you've got to agree with me that some negative reviews are downright nasty), or what gives someone the right to be so horribly condescending. So I started reading again.
Okay then, here's my honest opinion in three parts:
1) I really like the way each short story is followed by some author's notes - these help the reader see the stories as a development of the author's writing
2) I found the writing style rather pedantic in a number of the stories. Some words and phrases were redundant and disturbed the flow for me, and there was an occasional grammatical incongruity.
3) Despite not having been a fan of horror stories since I was in my teens (a long time ago, though not as long ago as when my grandfather was harassing my uncle), I enjoyed the ones in this collection (especially 'Blood is the Life', & 'Midnight'). Telander does a plot twist very nicely and his build-ups of suspense really work.
The Wild West ghost story is quite fun too ('Westville'), and the one about the boy and his neighbour ('The Bad Place') which captures boyhood really well. Of the 2 stories in the sci-fi genre, I didn't feel the "voice" of 'Connecting' quite worked, but 'Suspect in Interrogation Room One' rang true.
I'm not so sure about 'Kyra' but I very much enjoyed the sneak peek at the upcoming thriller 'Nothing is an Accident'.
All in all, I'm looking forward to this author's next publication and will read it without any pre-reading nerves.