Paths Best Left Untrodden by Kev Harrison
The debut collection from Kev Harrison, author of THE BALANCE, this tome brings together tales of ghosts in the machine, folkloric creatures let loose, abandoned places and dystopian nightmares. Containing thirteen stories - three of which are previously unpublished, with three others never before available in print, take your first tentative step onto the PATHS BEST LEFT UNTRODDEN.
Over the years I've read a lot of Kev Harrison's fiction and have loved every word of it. His short stories have been featured in many different magazines and anthologies and he also has some very impressive novellas under his belt.
So when I found out he was releasing a short story collection I was genuinely so excited, Paths Left Best Untrodden went straight to the top of my TBR mountain (it really is that high) and got stuck in.
The collection starts off strong with Big Game. It's set in the future, but it doesn't feel like it's too far into the future that we won't be experiencing this word for ourselves which gives it a dark edge. It's soon realised that this is no ordinary camping trip.
Supression; this story is every parent's nightmare where children are subjected to inhumane laws which dictate their lives. Of course a loving parent would do anything to help their beloveds.
I loved The Solstice Kev Harrison is a master of folk horror and this tale did not disappoint. I loved the setting and atmosphere of this tale it felt so real and vivid. As tradition dictates a young boy must do whatever is required of him to protect his village.
Special Order set in a takeaway pizzeria in Woking of all places! This tale really made me chuckle, thoroughly enjoyed this one. When times are hard you must do what it takes to stay afloat!
Snap is a dark body horror offering of things that go bump in the night!
The Fourth Wall is hands down my favourite! Closely followed by Contaminated. This for me was a really gripping tale, combining mystery with horror. It tells the tale of Valentina, a cam girl who has her life turned upside down by one her loyal customers
Left Behind like Big Game was a eco horror tale set in the near future. The setting is Venice and now this tale has seriously put me off going there! I really liked this one, there's such a build up of foreboding creeping in right from the get go and the ending is truly dark!
There's something about Contaminated that really got to me. This one just felt so real and it feels like this could happen to anyone. This is not a tale for hypochondriacs! It was such an unusual tale which shows that Kev Harrison has such range when it comes to weaving dark tales
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch was dark dark dark tale! I really loved this one!
I found Muscle Memory although obviously horror also quite sweet. A man wakes up in a hospital ward and must discover who he was before the accident
Reasons For My Abscondence shows Kev Harrison can write in so many different styles. This was in a letter form where a young teacher attempts to explain what really happened at Minsterfield House.
I first read The Waiting Game when it was first published in Fangs from Aphotic Realm. I loved it then and I still love it now. A perfect tale of love and retribution.
Last but not least is Communion. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels meets The Silence of the Lambs meets Kev Harrison! Great story!