Matt Hayward – Various States of Decay Review

Genre: Horror
Length: 234 Pages
Publisher: Poltergeist Press
Release date: December 15, 2019
Synopsis: From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of What Do Monsters Fear? and A Penny For Your Thoughts comes twenty new tales of terror!

Including the Irish Short Story of the Year-nominated Intercepting Aisle Nine

From a white doomsday crawling with abominable beasts to the bizarre case of a marketing company advertising within people’s dreams, these stories explore the extremes of Hayward’s prose—contrasting the heartfelt with the deeply disturbing.


Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review

I had high hopes for Various States of Decay after really digging The Faithful and Practitioners. My hopes and expectations were met full force. Matt Hayward is as equally skilled in the short story world as he is when tackling a novel. The title of his collection couldn’t be more appropriate. The stories have the feel of a world decaying around the character. Maybe it’s more accurate to say time is running down to its enviable ending. I loved the variety of horror and rot in each story. Matt Hayward has a great talent for getting the reader to connect to his characters. I found myself invested in them and for me the character is as important as the plot.

I really dug Happiness Inc. with its futuristic aspect while retaining all elements of a damn good horror story. Dark Stage, In The PinesBangers And Mash and The Conductor were a few others that I really dug. They left their image burned in my mind. I loved most every story in this book. Mutt and Spread didn’t make the cut for me, but as with all shorts results vary. Overall, I really had a great time in the decaying world of Matt Hayward’s mind. I’ll be continuing to keep my eye out for his work. Now I need to see if I can dig up a copy of A Penny For Your Thoughts which I’ve heard is another winner from Matt Hayward.

Link to purchase Various States of Decay

Matt Hayward, biography

Matt Hayward is a Bram Stoker Award-nominated author and musician from Wicklow, Ireland. His books include Brain Dead Blues, What Do Monsters Fear?, Practitioners (with Patrick Lacey), The Faithful, and A Penny For Your Thoughts (with Robert Ford). He compiled the award-winning anthology Welcome To The Show and wrote the comic book This Is How It Ends (now a music video) for the band Walking Papers. Matt received a nomination for Irish Short Story of the Year from Penguin Books in 2017. He is represented by Lane Heymont of the Tobias Literary Agency and can be found on Twitter @MattHaywardIRE or at his website


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