Horror Fiction Reviews / Short Story Collection

That Which Grows Wild

THAT WHICH GROWS WILD
By Eric J Guignard

thatwhichgrowswild

Dark, Beautiful, Compelling

Synopsis Blurb

That Which Grows Wild collects sixteen dark and masterful short stories by award-winning author Eric J. Guignard. Equal parts whimsy and weird, horror and heartbreak, this debut collection traverses the darker side of the fantastic through vibrant and harrowing tales that depict monsters and regrets, hope and atonement, and the oddly changing reflection that turns back at you in the mirror.

Stories include:

  • “A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love” – a teen experiences romance, while the world slowly dies from rising temperatures and increasing cases of spontaneous combustion.
  • “Dreams of a Little Suicide” – a down-on-his-luck actor unexpectedly finds his dreams and love in Hollywood playing a munchkin during filming of The Wizard of Oz, but soon those dreams begin to darken.
  • “The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co.” – an aged undertaker tells the true story behind the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, and of the grime that accumulates beneath our floors.
  • “A Journey of Great Waves” – a Japanese girl encounters, years later, the ocean-borne debris of her tsunami-ravaged homeland, and the ghosts that come with it.
  • “The House of the Rising Sun, Forever” – a tragic voice gives dire warning against the cycle of opium addiction from which, even after death, there is no escape.
  • “Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos” – a gunfighter keeps a decimated town’s surviving children safe on a mountaintop from the incursion of ferocious creatures… until a flash flood strikes.

Explore within, and discover a wild range upon which grows the dark, the strange, and the profound.

Content Review

Eric J Guignard’s writing is dark and beautiful and I am in awe of his writing voice. I hardly know where to begin in reviewing his collection That Which Grows Wild.  By the end of the first story, I was entranced, bewitched, and a bit in love with the book I held in my hands. I immediately gave thanks for the physical edition.  “Shelf-worthy,” I mumbled aloud.
“What?” asked my husband.
“The book,” I replied.
“That good?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said. “It really is.”
He patted my arm and went back to his own book.  He prefers sci-fi.
We had other, similar exchanges as I made my way through the stories between the rose-strewn covers.

No, I do not digress.  This book moved me to introspection, discussion, emotion, and a possessiveness of it as an object.  Its stories vary in genre and subgenre, intensity and gruesomeness. Dark fiction. Psychological horror. Speculative horror. Cosmic horror. Reimagined classic themes. Taboo subject matter.  Each story has its own path to your heart, mind, and soul. Each story wraps slow, gentle fingers around your insides and crushes the breath and blood from you, sometimes slowly, sometimes not.

I found each story engrossing, the characters engaging, the words captivating. I devoured the book like I would a decadent fudge brownie, dreading the moment there was no more to consume.  I could write a book expressing my views on each story individually, but I don’t think anyone wants to read that.

I have spent a considerable amount of time choosing one story to expound upon.  It was a difficult decision, but I have chosen “Last Night….”  It is dark speculative horror told in first person.  This story crosses subgenre lines as the narrator recounts a fantastical creeping apocalypse, his experience, his terror, his despair.  I found this story compelling, poetic, horrifying, and ultimately, emotionally wrenching.  It will stay with me longer than I should want.

That Which Grows Wild is for the discerning reader.  It is not a quick fix of titillating horror. It is, instead, a collection of deep and gripping terrors that engage the mind and emotions. It consumes the reader as the reader consumes it.  I highly recommend this shelf-worthy collection.

Get it on Amazon:
That Which Grows Wild: 16 Tales of Dark Fiction (US Link)
That Which Grows Wild: 16 Tales of Dark Fiction (UK Link)


 

About the Author: Eric J Guignard

Eric J. Guignard is a writer and editor of dark and speculative fiction, operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles. He’s won the Bram Stoker Award, been a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award, and a multi-nominee of the Pushcart Prize. His stories and non-fiction have appeared in over one hundred genre and literary publications such as “Nightmare Magazine,” “Black Static,” “Shock Totem,” “Buzzy Magazine,” and “Dark Discoveries Magazine.”

Outside the glamorous and jet-setting world of indie fiction, Eric’s a technical writer and college professor, and he stumbles home each day to a wife, children, cats, and a terrarium filled with mischievous beetles.

Visit Eric at: http://www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.

Eric’s Amazon Page

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