Disclaimer: This book was kindly sent to me in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Seer of Possibilities and Other Disturbing Tales
Author: Thomas O.
Published on: March 2017
Goodreads synopsis: Sometimes, otherworldly beings reach out to you in strange and mysterious ways. They may have a request for you to fulfill, or maybe they simply take pleasure in terrifying you senseless. It’s even possible that they just want your help in creating something beautiful. If you’re lucky, you might even live to tell the tale… or maybe not. This book contains six stories that will enthrall you on one page and scare you on the next.
Review: I am back with yet another short story collection, only this time it is not an anthology. Thomas O’s short stories are simply perfect to get anyone in the mood for Halloween, even those who are not the biggest fan of horror. While the stories are not your usual scary bedtime story, and they do not feature the popular monsters or ghosts, they are twisted and disturbing enough to haunt you after you finish them.
At first glance nothing seems out of ordinary with any of these stories, but then you read a little further and the author drops subtle hints that something might just not be what it seems. The creepiness sets in unexpectedly and the stories end quite often in an unpredictable way. The way the author writes the ending reminds me of R.L. Stine’s novels, only these stories are not suitable for children.
The book starts with “The Seer of Possibilities” and it does not disappoint. Although I’ve encountered other stories featuring a supernatural being communicating through technology (after all, I am a big X-Files fan), this story was a great way for the author to show off his foreshadowing skills.
By far one of my top favourites was “Story of Death and Beauty” because it featured a concept I think a lot about – what do great artists have to sacrifice for their worldwide fame and sometimes it is nice to build on this and go further away from the realistic answers one could find and step into the supernatural world.
“The Phantom Arm of Sebastian Culpepper” started a bit unimpressive for my taste. The difference in tone between the two seemingly different stories of two different humans was distracting, but seeing everything come together was satisfactory in the end. My favourite thing about this story was how bitter the ending was.
“The Trees of Ohwayhee” is a story that mixes a bit of fantasy family story with a psychological mystery, both having their part in building the personality of our main character. This story reads like a personal diary of our character and I found myself rooting for him to change a couple of times, but sometimes change comes a little bit too late.
There’s also a story with a science-fiction setting – “Jasperson’s Game”. This story comes closest to your typical bloody horror, with well developed characters and a suspense that kept me entertained until the last page. Plus it is set on a different planet, that is enough to spark my interest.
“The Perfectly Behaved Boy – A Dark Christmas Tale” is perhaps the most disturbing for me because it is about Christmas. But it’s a good cautionary tale built on the idiom “be careful what you wish for”. Although a creepy story around Christmas is not something I necessarily wish to read – unless it’s A Christmas Carol, which seems like a small child when it comes to macabre compared to this one -, I really enjoyed this story and it is one of my favourites from the collection.
The author explores the horror genre within these six stories, but he juggles with a great variety of themes, explores different settings and manages to build great characters in 30 pages or less. Jumping genres so easily without affecting the quality of the stories is proof of the author’s impressive craft.
Thomas O. is definitely an author that I will keep an eye on from now on and he totally spark the Halloween mood inside me.
Is anyone else excited for Halloween? What are your favourite Halloween stories?