Sunday, November 13, 2016

Five Stories High by K. J. Parker; Sarah Lotz; Robert Shearman ; Tade Thompson; Nina Allan


‘They didn’t see the house until they were practically on top of it. A single building emerging from the dark. It didn’t look welcoming. But the front door was open. The door was wide open.’

Irongrove Lodge – a building with history; the very bricks and grounds imbued with the stories of those who have walked these corridors, lived in these rooms. These are the tales of an extraordinary house, a place that straddles our world and whatever lies beyond; a place that some are desperate to discover, and others to flee. At one time an asylum, at another a care home, sometimes simply a home.
The residents of Irongrove Lodge will learn that this house will change them, that the stories told here never go away. Of all who enter, only some will leave.
Multi-award-winning editor Jonathan Oliver has brought together five extraordinary writers to open the doors, revealing ghosts both past and present in a collection as intriguing as it is terrifying. Along with a linking narrative, this collection features five novellas by Nina Allan, Tade Thompson, K.J. Parker, Robert Shearman and Sarah Lotz.

This book contains 5 stories linked together in a narrative by Jonathan Oliver

When is a wood louse not just a wood louse? The answer to that is in the first story "Maggots" by Nina Allan.
A happy, family oriented young man, home visiting from college begins to suspect that his aunt is an imposter after she briefly goes missing and then reappears somehow changed. He is the only one who notices this difference. There was a delicious sense of foreboding that permeated this story from start to finish, made even more intense by the fact that I actually cared about this family and was hoping things would turn out well for them. I would give this story 5 stars

"Priest's Hole" by K.J. Parker is a story about a shape shifter who makes his living by becoming other people. It got off to a slow start, and did eventually pick up a bit but it just didn't grab my interest that well. Not to say it was a bad story, it was just not my type.

"Gnaw" by Tade Thompson
Harry and Tara move into the house with their 2 children Adrienne and Corey. The spooky happenings begin almost immediately, and it's not just the children who see and hear things that should not be there. This was one of my favorite stories in the book, again 5 stars from me.

"The Best Story I Can Manage Under The Circumstances" by Robert Shearman
I don't know what to say about this. It was like some kind of bizarro fiction. It begins with a very strange pregnancy and gets more weird from there.

"Skin Deep" By Sarah Lotz
This was a story of accused murderer Malika "the butcher" told from multiple points of view. When Malika and Robin meet they feel an instant connection. It doesn't matter to them  that she is 20 years his senior or that he doesn't have a cent to his name. When they decide to move in together and he wants to live in Irongrove Lodge, Malika buys the apartment to make him happy even though she feels there is something off about it. If only she had trusted her gut!
 This was in my opinion the shining star of  this book, the absolute best saved for last.

I received an advance copy for review.

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