A Sinister Six by Steve Boseley
A few months back I sent out a random tweet announcing I was looking for indie horror books to review and Steve Boseley (a nice English gent) sent me his collection of A Sinister Six: A Collection of Six Darkly Disturbing Stories. It took me awhile to get through them (not due to the quality of the stories, just the fact that I tend to read too many books at once ), but it allowed me to savor each one; some more than others, but that should be expected with an anthology.
Mr. Boseley’s collection is definitely in the realm of quiet horror, which I always find more satisfyingly frightening than the genre’s riotous little brother splatterpunk. The word sinister with its snaky sibilance is a good title for what transpires within these tales. The stories, like the author’s mostly milquetoast male protagonists, creep up on you slowly, lulling the reader into a comfortable world of banal middle-class normality and mundane complaints of everyday life until–with the deft flick of a pen–sad little flats and row homes transform into blood-soaked charnel houses. Cool!
Two standouts bookend the collection: Die, Blossom, Bloom about a grieving widow tending to his wife’s award-winning garden and a horrific secret and I’m watching You about a harangued husband’s descent into paranoia and violence. The writer is at his best in the realm of these mild-mannered beta men who can turn on a dime into something quite monstrous. The remainder of the volume is nicely rounded out with creepy tales of ghosts, an evil book, and a twisted take on a classic detective story: all standard horror fare, but Boseley handles it well. His respect for the restrained, classic horror found in collections such as Ghosts of an Antiquary is apparent, and it’s a nice change from the fantasy and action currently dominating the genre. I mean, who’s scarier than your neighbor?
The only story I failed to connect with is Spongebob, which is spread throughout the collection in eight parts–maybe it was the time that lapsed between each reading or the fact that I barely know what Spongebob is. When I finished, I tried to read them again in order but gave up. Sorry, Steve. I’ll try to give it another go.
The language is solid and skillful, and well edited considering this is a self-published volume. I would recommend this to fans of classic, quiet horror (like me). I look forward to more from this author.
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