Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book Review: All Hallows’ Eve by “Hal L. O’ween”

by M. J. Joachim

Poor editing and random cuss words for the sake of filling up space are among my biggest pet peeves as a reader and reviewer. This book of short stories is full of both, to the extent that I literally skimmed some of the stories, because they were so crudely written. A few of the stories were good, but for the most part, this book lost me early on.

It wasn’t only the poor writing exhibited. It was also the lack of substance in some of the stories. Plots and characters were loosely thrown together, while your typical gore and scare remained. I get it. Halloween is about graveyards, monsters, scary things that go bump in the night. Good stories, however, need a whole lot more than that to capture my attention. I want to be drawn in and captivated by the scene. I want to feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up, or at least feel a rock in the pit of my stomach. What’s a little blood and guts, without the necessary fear factor?

At one point, I thought this book might be good for camping and telling scary stories around the campfire with teenagers. Just as I was giving it the benefit of the doubt, stories with extremely foul language came into play, and I knew I didn’t want to encourage teens to swear anymore than they already do. Sadly, there are some really good stories in this book, but they are overshadowed by the poor ones.

My biggest recommendation to all writers compiling short stories together is to set up some ground rules, and make sure all authors adhere to them. Set the bar high and keep it there. Put together an amazing anthology that will be praised by everyone who reads it. Authors who can’t make the cut need to have their work eliminated from the book.

It’s true what they say. One bad apple spoils the bunch. In this case, several bad stories ruined a perfectly good collection of intriguing Halloween stories.

On that note, I wish you a safe and happy Halloween,

M. J.

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