Saturday, 9 May 2015

X2 by CM Saunders

I have really enjoyed this collection and note that it is number 2, so I will definitely be looking up the first in the series, along with the other novels that CSM has written; I really love the way he writes.

 Little Dead Girl:
Jeff has been seeing a ghost, not the sheet over the head kind or the spooky howling type.

There is a real sense of tongue in cheek in the writing and I love it, however in amongst that humour is the sad, lonely life of Jeff and the haunting little ghostie and her sad tale.

The build up in this story is amazing and the ending so knocked the socks off me, I was not expecting THAT.

 An utterly brilliant way to start a group of short stories.

Is a tiny little antique shop in Portsmouth, run by the Needham family for generations, always just getting by on tourists income but shunned by the locals who have wild rumours and stories of murder and Satanism. However now it is in the hands of the last Needhams, Neil and he is as quiet and introverted as is possible.

Spread across four stories the Curiosities shop is a wonderment of a time gone by and in the small storage area the walls are still painted with the magic rituals used by his Grandfather.

Again the humour is snort out loud in this story but tinged with sadness.  When an old man comes in one day looking for a certain book he gets more of a bargain than he hoped for.

Rosie loves her son Mark and her nightly routine of counting all his drunken paces from front door, to kitchen to bedroom come to an abrupt halt one night.

This tiny little story really gave me the shivers, well played CMS.

The Night Visitor:
Brian won’t hurt you, he just wants to watch you sleep and maybe move a few things around in your house – ok freaked out!

This strange little story just got weirder and freakier. The humour flipping to horror/sadness/gore is clearly a signature of CMS and what a brilliant talent to have, it catches you off guard every time.

Hero of the Day:
Nathan gets his 5mins of fame after diving into a burning house to try and save a baby.

This story gripped me from the start and I rushed through to the end only to be slapped in the face by the author. Fantastically written, no humour here only shock and horror. The last line is the killer blow.

Embracing Solitude:
Rick is finishing up his latest novel and on a whim decides to brave the long drive home to his doting wife, having shut himself up in a caravan for 10 weeks he was ready for some home loving.

The tragic destination was an unusual turn up in this collection so far,  whilst horrific and heartfelt it was not in keeping with the current feel of the book; but still immensely well written.

Treat Night:
Stuarts love for his wife Valerie is almost obsessive, but not just in a young love kind of way, there is an undertone of something more sinister.

A meal out at their favourite restaurant soon turns sour when she goes missing, as Stuart is frantic in trying to find her no-one else apparently is, the ending was sort of half a surprise for me but not unexpected.

Whilst no humour in this story the building terror is easily conveyed from Stuart to the reader as CMS has built such a rounded view of their life.

Handsome Jack:
Rhys and Mark, childhood buddies, are having a drink in a (supposed) haunted pub. Fired up earlier in the night by the Landlord, when something does go bump in the night things start to get a little hairy.

With furniture flying and scratching noises going on what friend wouldn’t run screaming for the door!  The last line is fabulous!

Tiny Little Vampires (flash version):
Lewis was having a bad few days with mosquitoes. CMS does an amazing job of describing the itchy feeling, the resulting skin trauma and that nauseating buzz sound to the point where I was feeling like I needed to swat something.

Not sure I would go as far as Lewis though, yuck. Another totally brilliant short story with a gory ending.

Tito and Jimmy are trying to work out what happened as they look upon a motorcycle accident but also what they are going to do with the pile of mush that was once a human. 

As part of the “freelance” local Brazilian ambulance service they can decide to where to take the body for what price, not to mention for what use!

When something/one starts a tap, tapping in the back of the ambulance poor old Jimmy must have a peek back there.  It seems that “Roadkill” as Tito has christened him belonged to a gang whose motto was “live forever” and he appears to be trying to do so.

The gore is so prolific that it became comedic for me, although I am weird. The exchanges between Tito and Jimmy in their disbelief and solution to this problem were also gigglesome.