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The Hangman's Replacement: Sprout of Disruption: 1
Taona Dumisani Chiveneko

Staring Into the Abyss

Staring Into the Abyss - Richard   Thomas, Kraken Press, George Cotronis For me, a novel and a short story collection aren’t that different. Sure, the characters change every few pages but, in a good collection, the tone and mood draw a thread that ties everything together. The reference in the title to the famous Nietzsche quote sets the proper stage for the thread that runs through this collection.

The stories varied in subtlety and depth, but they all offered an aspect of the dark side of the human condition. This aspect of humanity on display contrasted with the prose and the word selection in a way that I’d never experienced before. I found it hauntingly, disturbingly beautiful.

I found some of the shortest stories (Twenty Reasons to Stay and One to Leave and Amazement, for example) offered textured worlds that demonstrated a great skill in Richard Thomas for efficiency and a confidence in his readers to read between the lines. Add this to some stories with unique structures and a couple longer ones with flushed out characters and you have quite a collection.

I would happily recommend this book to anyone that was a fan of short stories, or a fan of horror but I don’t think I could drop it in anyone’s lap without a bit of a disclaimer.