By Jeff Strand
In many ways, a novella is the perfect length for a tale of horror. Enough room for story and character development, yet short enough to get straight to the bloody point! This book from Bram Stoker Award-nominee Jeff Strand contains five of his macabre tales, collected together for the first time. You’ll find nerve-wracking suspense, insane humor, a cute dog, and plenty of weirdness, especially in the last one.
STALKING YOU NOW – The reprehensible man in the restaurant doesn’t know that somebody at another table is watching him. Somebody filled with hatred. Somebody waiting for him to be alone. Somebody with duct tape and a gun. It’s a night for vengeance. And a hell of a lot more.
AN APOCALYPSE OF OUR OWN – Missy and Kevin are friends. Just friends. But now people are leaking blood from their eyeballs and turning into homicidal oozing mutants. Fortunately, Kevin has access to an underground shelter, but now they’re trapped down there. Can the Friend Zone survive the end of the world?
FAINT OF HEART – Rebecca’s husband doesn’t return from his weekend camping trip. And when somebody shows up at the house, it’s not him. At gunpoint, Rebecca learns what has happened. Two men have kidnapped Gary. He went through a weekend of pure hell. They’ll give him back to her, but first, Rebecca has to relive his entire experience, step by horrific step…and survive…
KUTTER – Charlie Stanlon is a serial killer. A ghastly, vicious sociopath who chains women to a table in his basement and tortures them to death. He has no friends. He has no family. He despises his co-workers. His only pleasure in life is to cause pain and terror. Until the day he finds an adorable Boston Terrier and takes it home…
FACIAL – Greg has just killed the man he hired to kill one of his wife’s many lovers. He’s now got a dead body in his office. Carlton, Greg’s brother, desperately needs a dead body. It’s kind of related to the lion corpse that he found in his basement. This is the normal part of the story…
Jeff Strand’s book Five Novellas is just that: a collection of five of his novellas. If one has not read any (or all) of the novellas collected therein, this book is an amazing deal. Even if one has read them, the book is a vital part of one’s Jeff Strand collection as well as one’s horror collection. This collection is horror humor gold!
And bonus content if you collect physical books: each story is preceded by a black and white of its original cover art. You really do get it all in one volume!
Now let us look at the novellas individually, shall we?
Stalking You Now is a horror suspense story twisted with dark humor. This one is an excellent example of Jeff Strand’s unique, irreverent style. Having had the pleasure of hearing Strand read excerpts of his work at Killercon, my mind converted this first-person treasure into Jeff’s voice reading it. It was exquisite.
An Apocalypse of Our Own is quirky, funny, and grotesque to the point of being apocalypse satire. The mind-boggling combination of character banter, plot twists, and dry, dark humor make this singular apocalypse story enjoyable to read even if apocalypse stories are not your thing. And I say that with confidence because apocalypse stories are not really my thing, and I enjoyed this one.
Faint of Heart is the most serious and disturbing of the novellas, in my opinion. This story is a horror thriller, flowing with suspense and fear and violence as well as Strand’s trademark colorful characters. It is a page-turner, building and building, pulling the reader along without resistance. The ending was not what I expected, and I mean that in a good way.
Kutter is a twisted masterpiece of horror, humor, and wrenching depth. Yes, depth. I could write at length about the underlying psychological and sociological implications presented in this novella, but I cannot do so without giving too much away. I may present my thoughts on that later as a separate post with a spoiler alert warning. For now, deep thoughts aside, Kutter is a brilliantly written story, entertaining, impactful, bloody, graphic, wholly engaging.
Facial is warped, irreverent horror fun. The novella is in first-person, and the chapters switch between characters telling the tale, making it a true mental rollercoaster. Hold on tight. Now, don’t let that put you off. Jeff does this with ingenuity and skill. It’s highly entertaining! I loved this story right up to the mind fornication ending. Yes, the ending will fornicate your mind. Thanks, Jeff. Maybe buy a girl a coffee first next time.
Horrifying and humorous, Five Novellas is a highly-recommended, shelf-worthy tome.
Get it on Amazon: Five Novellas by Jeff Strand
About the Author: Jeff Strand
Jeff Strand is a four-time nominee (and zero-time winner, but c’mon, he lost to Stephen King TWICE!) of the Bram Stoker Award. He is a two-time nominee and one-time WINNER!!!! of the Splatterpunk Award.
His novels are usually classified as horror, but they’re really all over the place, almost always with a great big dose of humor. He’s written five young adult novels that all fall into the “really goofy comedy” category.
His book STALKING YOU NOW was adapted into the feature film MINDY HAS TO DIE. He hasn’t seen it yet. Nobody has. It premieres October 4th at the Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival in Belfast, Ireland.
He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and one gigantic freaking cat.