Jason Darrick’s collection of short stories is a horror debut chalk full of visceral gore and violence. But there’s more. Not only is the author willing to test your claims that your stomach lining is made of steel and put those bragging rights to shame, but he will push the envelope and terrorize your mind as well. These tales are short, but full of action and bloody suspense.
I admit self-published fiction makes me wary. It’s too often filled with sloppy, amateur mistakes that make seasoned readers cringe—not to mention my sadistic internal editor. Darrick’s book was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect the level of writing that I found, or the extreme levels to which he was willing to take the reader. I cringed, and as much as it pains me to admit, I turned green around those proverbial gills.
The first offering, Drip, is a staggering piece of flash fiction that clouts the reader upside the head and demands they take notice. This is your wake-up call folks, and only a small hint of what lurks ahead. Darrick comes out swinging.
The Figure slows things down, giving the reader time to submerge into setting and character. After reading this chilling tale, you’ll probably never look at the harmless flecks of ash drifting from a fire the same way again. It invites the audience into a twisted realm where nothing is quite as it seems. We’re forced to remember why shadows terrified us as kids and why, perhaps, we should still fear them as adults. Bad things happen to good people. They really do.
The devious twist at the end garnered a measure of respect from this reader. I love the unexpected, and anytime something makes me sit up and take notice, let alone giggle with manic glee, I must defer.
The Forest is a darkly savage tale, truly not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Here, I discovered Jason Darrick is not afraid to push the envelope. He’ll ball that thing up and shove it down your throat. This story follows a group of stranded people as they disappear one by one, hunted down by crazies. It’s like Survivor meets Wrong Turn, but with the author’s own brand of in your face horror.
I found this to be the most versatile story when it came to showcasing ability. It reaches beyond the usual elements one would expect to find. When the protagonist, a loving husband, discovers what happened to his wife, Darrick pulls all punches. He tugs those heartstrings tight, lets them snap like a rubber band, and laughs while he does it. The choices this man must make are brutal. I didn’t know whether to cringe or cry, so I did both.
The only complaint I had about The Forest was the end. After all the suspense and heartrending drama, I guess I expected something a little more climatic. Though, in all fairness, some may like the gentle approach after such a mind-numbing ride.
Hanna was a sordid, gripping tale of power struggles and revenge. Here, I thought Darrick shined the brightest. It explores the dark underworld of BDSM and what happens when one woman decides she’s had enough. He was fearless in this endeavor, taking the violence to an entirely new level. Hannah should not be judged by topic alone. It’s an intense ride. Think War of the Roses for the depraved, full of psychological and physical warfare that will leave your mind spinning. The twist at the end = brilliant. Once again, I smothered a demented peal of laughter.
The final offering in this collection, Mr. Vore, places the reader within a comfortable frame of mind, lending a false sense of security before ripping them out in a savage chokehold. You will never look at weight loss or infomercials the same way again. I guarantee it. Mr. Vore saturates the last pages in this book with blood and bodily harm.
Overall, the editing wasn’t bad. Only a few repetitive words snuck in there. The style was crisp—easy to read. It’s a refreshing twist for a newcomer. Thank you, Mr. Darrick, for not dousing us with adverbs and tired clichés before striking the proverbial match! My biggest complaint was not with the wording or telling, but with punctuation. It’s nothing an extra pair of eyes or two before publishing wouldn’t fix.
Fear in Words Volume One – The Stories left me with several impressions. I see a lot of potential within this author. It was an impressive debut and the collection, intense and original. If this was any indication of what might be in store, Jason Darrick is one writer I’ll be keeping my eye on. He entertains.
His work can be purchased here Amazon.
~Best wishes and happy writing!~