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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: 51 Sleepless Nights by Tobias Wade

“I don’t know which was worse, taking the Devil by surprise or letting him know I was coming.”
from The 32

You’re going to be surprised to hear how much I liked this one. First, it’s short stories – a genre I have long-standing issues with – and second, it’s horror – a genre I tend to avoid outside of a very few favorites because I do most of my reading at night these days and I have insane dreams without adding such fuel to their fire! When I was contacted by the author, Tobias Wade, I was initially inclined to decline the request out of hand. Then I looked the book up on Amazon – the cover art absolutely sold me on this one. Isn’t that a fabulously eerie cover?? While I am a firm believer that you can’t judge a book by its cover, sometimes I do find that a cover (or title) will pull me toward giving something a second look. If the cover (or title or whatever) speaks to me, it suggests that what’s inside will to. This isn’t a direct correlation – it doesn’t always hold true – but more often than not it does. Just so with this book…

51 Sleepless Nights is a collection of horror shorts. That much is obvious from the title alone. But what’s not so obvious is the delicate, scalpel-edged, psychological component to so much of this collection. To me, that is what the cover art embodied. The book as a whole is seriously creepy, in the best possible way. There is a lot of “traditional” horror (spiders, death, ghosts, evil), and those stories are very well crafted and original (and original in this genre is increasingly rare to find, particularly given that these are shorts and each and every one has to have its own unique concept or idea). But it was the stories with the psychological elements that I found fascinatingly eerie and thought-provoking (as well as goosebump-inducing)… Many of them are very short, and I would read them very fast. As I was reading, I was thoroughly entertained and a little creeped out. Then I’d finish and think for a second about what I’d just read. Or maybe I’d think about it hours later, when something resonated with my memory of the story(ies). And then I’d get VERY creeped out…

There is a surprisingly deep element to this “horror fiction” that I think catapults it beyond the traditional genre in ways that are both promising and rewarding. Tobias Wade is a talented spin-master, and I look forward to seeing where his twisty mind goes in future!

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