Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs here https://readandreview2016.wordpress.com/
Judith has been reading Chills & Creeps by Nick Clausen
Chills & Creeps Volume 1: Eight Scary Stories by Nick Clausen
Chills & Creeps is a short anthology of horror and fantasy stories, originally published in Danish, but now available to read in English.
It seems to me most logical to discuss each story in turn, allowing the chance to share my opinions whilst (hopefully) not giving too much away.
- Under the Skin
This was a good horror story to begin with, about an upholsterer with a liking for human skin, and it was certainly chilling. Whilst I could predict what was going to happen, it was still horrifying to see this unfold. However, although the story was tense, I thought the ending was a little lacklustre.
- Snapper the Fish
This was a horror story about a pet fish which only eats human flesh. I found it truly gripping and scary – I almost didn’t want to keep reading because of the horror, yet I found myself reading on regardless.
- Deadly Dreams
This was a fantasy / science fiction short story about a video game that comes to life and has dangerous consequences for its players. It was a reasonable story, but I don’t have anything majorly positive or negative to say about it.
- All Birds Hate Me
I thought this was the weirdest story in the anthology. The main character, Eagle, is a boy with an illness which causes all birds to attack him. The idea was scary enough – and Hitchcock-inspired, I’m sure – but as all the characters happen to be named after birds, the premise came across as odd and a little silly.
- Ghost Tennis
This was a reasonable ghost story; a family move into a new home, only for their son Joe to discover the tennis court is haunted and the only way of placating the ghost is by playing tennis matches with it – as long as Joe always loses, of course.
This was another horror story I found genuinely unsettling. Nadia, a young girl, becomes entrapped in her own home as it slowly fills with water…
I am not the biggest fan of deep water, and the thought of drowning is terrifying to me. I also happen to enjoy stories in which the home is transformed into a place of horror and danger.
- When I Snap My Fingers…
This is another entertaining and thrilling horror story about two siblings; Curtis takes his little sister Rachel to a hypnotist’s tent at the fair. However, once hypnotised, Rachel no longer seems herself. In fact, it’s almost like she’s become someone else entirely. And now “Rachel” is determined to destroy her family’s life.
- Lights Out
This was the last story in the anthology, a fantasy story about a boy who can control lights with his mind. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the others, and I thought it lacked any real ‘chills or creeps’. I thought it was a shame to end on a story that wasn’t scary, when so many of the other stories heavily featured horrifying elements. In future anthologies, it might be sensible to organise the stories differently – perhaps by beginning with the least scary story, to build fear and suspense as the anthology progresses towards the most scary story.
Following each story, Clausen added an author’s note, explaining where his inspiration for the story came from. I appreciated this and found it very interesting; I like seeing where authors get their ideas from!
On the whole, whilst every story was not necessarily my cup of tea, Chills & Creeps Volume 1 was an enjoyable and well-executed collection of short stories. They reminded me of the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine, and I think Clausen has a talent for transforming the ordinary and everyday into the terrifying and repulsive, playing on childhood (or adulthood) fears we’ve faced at one point or another in our lives.
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars
In this collection, you’ll meet …
Peter, who meets an upholsterer who really likes his skin. Mary, who gets a pet fish thatwill only eat human flesh. Daniel, who plays a game that becomes real in his dreams. Eagle, who has a disease that make birds attack him wherever he goes. Joseph, who plays tennis with a ghost. Nadia, who gets trapped in a house slowly filling up with water. Calvin, whose sister visits a hypnotist and becomes someone else. And Noah, who learns to control lights with his mind.
Eight stories spanning horror, dark fantasy and science fiction, all set in everyday life while exploring the dark, the evil and the supernatural. The Chills & Creeps-series was originally published in Danish to great reviews, and is now available in English.