The intoxication from a pint of vodka, the electric buzz from snorting cocaine, the warm embrace from shooting heroin – drinking and drugging provide the height of human experience. It’s the promise of heaven on earth, but the hell that follows is a constant hunger, a cold emptiness. The craving to get high is a yearning as intense of any blood-thirsty monster.
The best way to tell the truths of addiction is through a story, and dark truths such as these need a piece of horror to do them justice.
The stories inside feature the insidious nature of addiction told with compassion yet searing honesty. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths, and some of the most incredible names in horror fiction have tackled this modern day epidemic.
“A Wicked Thirst” by Kealan Patrick Burke
“The One in the Middle” by Jessica McHugh
“Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will” by Max Booth III
“First, Just Bite a Finger” by Johann Thorsson
“Last Call” by John FD Taff
Torment of the Fallen” by Glen Krisch
“Garden of Fiends” by Mark Matthews
“Returns” by Jack Ketchum
©2017 Mark Matthews (P)2017 Mark Matthews
Each story really held it’s own in this book and really made for some terrifying (and sometimes almost too real) depictions of what addiction is like. I’ve had friends who have died from overdoses due to addiction and it’s not easy to watch. I cannot imagine living it (but I can a little better after reading this).
I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting into when I first picked this book up. I thought it was just another horror anthology, but I was dead wrong. This is a collection of stories about addiction told as if they were a horror story (which they basically are). You are no longer in control of your body — the addiction is.
I will tell you this about Garden of Fiends — it wasn’t easy to finish in one sitting. Not because the stories weren’t good, but because they were too good. They were so brutal and brutally honest that I found myself having to stop after each one to digest exactly what happened and how I felt about it.
Adding to a well-done collection of stories was the narration by Rick Gregory. This is the first audiobook by him I’ve listened to and I loved it. You can tell that Gregory has worked around, with, and through narrators for a long time because he really understands the nuances of what telling a great story are.
Overall, an enjoyable collection of short stories that easily could have been standalone stories. I’m glad that Matthews put them all together though because I got to read them all in one spot. After finishing this I went and hugged those who are close to me.
-Brian’s Book Blog