They are calling to you.
Do you hear them?
They are the whispered echoes of your darkest fears.
From the pen of horror writer Paul F. Olson comes Whispered Echoes, a stunning dark fiction collection that will carry you down lonely twilight byways into a world of darkness and dread. It’s a world of forgotten roadways, sleepy small towns, deep forests, windswept waters—a place where the uneasy spirits of your imagination roam free and anything at all can happen.
Author: Paul F. Olsen
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Release Date: 23/06/2017
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of Whispered Echoes: 4 out of 5
I received a copy of ‘Whispered Echoes’ from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Whispered Echoes is a collection of short horror fiction written by Paul F. Olsen. Most of the pieces were originally published in the 80s and 90s (with the exception of Bloodybones, this being a new novella).
From the word go you can tell that the author is highly-skilled. His writing style is wonderful and draws you in so that even when there’s nothing happening, you feel absorbed. His talents, for the most part, seem to falter when it comes to writing an ending. With the exception of Bloodybones (which is flat out amazing) I’d say I felt like he only managed to write an ending for one of the eleven short stories. I got the feel of what he wanted to do. He wanted to write up to a certain point and have the reader wondering what happened. Have the reader piecing together what happened in their own mind. But, in actual fact, it often felt like I took a turn onto a street and there was quite literally nothing there. I often felt like I had put so much into getting excited for the piece only to be short-changed by the authors inability or total unwillingness to write an ending.
Every single short story, every last one of them, had the potential to be groundbreaking. Up until the 95% mark they were just that. Two of my favourites, perhaps so because one (Through the Storm) felt like it had an ending, and the other (The Visitor) because it felt like it almost had one, will stick with me for a long time as two of my favourite short stories. Not just from this collection, but in general.
The rest could have done the same. If the rest had endings I would have given the book seven stars out of five, just to be a maverick (not to be confused with the Dallas Mavericks … nobody wants to be one of those. Golden State all the way … apologies for those of you who know nothing about NBA and were totally lost there … also, apologies to Dallas Mavericks fans, you have a Curry, just not Steph Curry).
The series had some interesting concepts that I hadn’t seen before; a town where everything was as if it had been designed by a child on drugs and frequently changed to more strange variations of itself. There was a simple, unassuming man who vacationed in a simple, unassuming little town for a month every year, leaving devastation in his wake.
It also had some concepts I’d class as oldies but goodies; The tale of a ghost boy seeking help from beyond the grave, not realising he was dead and gone for decades. Inheriting haunted property, Indian burial grounds boasting unquiet spirits and, last but not least, a serial-killing ghost.
It had everything I wanted, except for endings.
What it did have, above all else, was Bloodybones. Bloodybones is worth buying this anthology for on its own. If you hate short stories, still buy this book just to get your hands on that novella. It has everything from spooky goings on to solving unsolvable mysteries. I genuinely could not put Bloodybones down. It also proves that Olsen’s skill as a writer has improved over the years. He was great before, but Bloodybones is better. It also proves that he does know how to write an ending. And a very good one at that. Bloodybones is quite easily the best short fiction/novella I have read this year. I think it will keep that title without a shadow of a doubt. If I had my way, I’d have it made into a BBC mini-series in the style of ‘The Secret of Crickley Hall’.
To summarise: Buy this book, because Paul’s writing is wonderful, even if his endings don’t exist for the main part. Also, because if you don’t … well, you won’t be able to read Bloodybones. And that would make you a very unlucky person, indeed.