Chris Reed, creator of the Used Addictions comic book series and former editor of Theatre of Decay, has put together a chapbook of horror stories titled Death Vibes. The book collects four short stories and one poem, all previously published in places like Thirteen Magazine, Midnight Echo, and Trail of Indiscretion.
The stories are short -- the whole collection is only 15 pages -- which makes it a great book to take on the go or to pull out when you only have a minute or two to read. All five offerings are dark, and all pretty much what you'd expect from a guy who's written stories titled "Sick John" and "Conan vs. Rosa Parks."
The first story, "The Last Captain," can best be described as a brutal tale of high school romance (or the lack thereof). Next is "Sole Provider," the least horrific story of the bunch, but also definitely the weirdest. "Mushrooms" is a horror poem that first appeared in Aberrant Dreams, written in a narrative first-person style and very descriptive.
"Steve's Promotion" is my favorite story of the book, mostly for the twist at the end and the way that twist is presented. Reed does a great job of fusing humor and horror together in this one. "Lily's Grave" is the last story and definitely not for the faint of heart. It was the only story I'd read before getting my hands on the chapbook, and on the strength of that story I was eager to read the rest.
Death Vibes is a strong collection by a talented horror writer. My chief complaint was that the book was so short, but Reed also has a longer collection coming out called Vile Visions, which includes all of the stories from Death Vibes and plenty more (24 stories in all).
Both books will be available on the author's website (ChrisReedFiction.com) starting October 31st -- Death Vibes for $5 and Vile Visions for $10, both with free shipping -- but you can order a copy before then by contacting the author at c_allen_reed(at)yahoo(dot)com.