Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
J.A. Crook has compiled a collection of dark fiction and taken special care to fit many of the stories together like a puzzle. There are bits and pieces from one story referenced in another. If you pay close attention you’ll see how they fit and enjoy the way they connect. Humansville is where it all starts, in a town so far from civilization the gas pumps don’t have a digital display. A place where you find yourself in a remote town and fear a maniac is just around the corner waiting to make you disappear. But is the killer who you expect it to be? Amid the recesses has some pretty good storytelling going on and I found a few of the shorts really enjoyable.
The Eastern Tunnel is one such story. A man is waiting for the bus after work. It’s been a long day and he is really looking forward to getting home. He soon finds out he is waiting for a bus that already came. The story is really well put together and the twist is nicely hidden. It had a bit of a twilight zone feel to it, which was very cool. At the Bottom was another really fun story. It kept me wondering just how bad things were going to turn out for this poor hoarder. It turns out hoarding wasn’t his only problem. I found some of the stories a bit easy to see the ending before I had finished them. These were a bit predictable but still pretty good short stories. A few others left me wanting a bit more substance, but overall Amid the Recesses was an enjoyable read.
Length: 133 Pages
Release date: December 8, 2015
Amid the recesses, darkness reigns. In “Humansville,” a small town in Missouri is visited by an outsider. Fate stirs him into the hands of a most unusual family and evil permits itself to a seat at the table. In “Black and White,” a disease that some see as a blessing is instead a curse, opening the dark shroud of our world to things meant to be unseen. “The Eastern Tunnel” brings to question the fate of our simplest actions and the how both violent and subtle the passage of one world to the next may be. “The Horse, The Elephant & The Lion” follows a despairing mother like a thick shadow, wading with her through the tragedy and terror of her dreadful loss. “Chasing Crows” wipes away the oily obscurity of depression to show that hope comes in unlikely forms. “At the Bottom” documents Eddie, buried beneath his guilt manifested and reveals beneath the filth of his pain the truth of his sickness. “Memoirs of Jacob Bright, Ten Days Haunted” submerges us into madness that can only be satiated with timely blood. “Of Love and Death” convulses our spirit with shattered love and loss and exposes how death is no match for true love. “Binky” captures our worst of fears—the threat to a child and how from the maw of darkness can come a warning that changes everything. “Soup” settles unfinished business in the town of Humansville and twists and turns into unexpected and sudden endings. Finally, the macabre “The Widow, I” reanimates vengeance and brings it viciously to the doorstep of a supposed killer. In Amid the Recesses: A Short Story Collection of Fear, spirits bound by the depth of our deepest fears entwine around the finger of terrible fate.