The Birthday Girl & Other Stories by Christopher Beck

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Christopher Beck gives birth to three different variations of horror within this short collection of his work, with many different tropes of the horror genre – first we have a tale steeped in an eeriness that as a reader we are unsure of the intentions of our protagonist, the second we see life in all its darkness and inner turmoil / grief and then we have the delightfully peculiar and some what witty finale – all in all a mixed bag which for me did have more questions than answers.

The first story of the collection Missing Child follows our protagonist as he ventures into a school to pick up his step daughter. Doesn’t seem odd quite yet does it, but Beck takes us by the scruff of the neck and moves us into this unease that awaits us as our protagonist starts to unravel before us the reasons that have lead him here. There is unease sewn into the very fabric of the story, it’s atmospheric, dark and a little disturbing as we are unsure of his intentions or what he will find when he gets there and if his ramblings will build to something more. My only gripe about this story is the conclusion – it seemed a little bit of a shame considering how much I was invested in the outcome. A good story don’t get me wrong but the ending could have been so much better.

The second story of the collection and the title story The Birthday Girl really got to me, it’s the type of thing I’ve thought about often (having children of my own) and if what happened to the mother in this, happened to me, I’ve often thought what my children would do, if they’d know what to do, it’s heart rending and tragic – the horror of the piece bleeds into the reader and I believe is more impactful if you have children yourself – but if you haven’t I’m sure it’ll make fine reading too.

The third story The Trash Can was a comical horror, it had me chuckling along as I read and it was a great little idea, but I had many more questions than answers as I read it – and I’m sure others will too. But it was funny, interesting and I just wanted a little bit more, or more of the uncanny in the story – I love my weird fiction and this is that a weird horror comedy.

All in all an interesting collection of ideas, it could have been a bit stronger in my opinion but it showcases Christopher Beck and his range within the horror genre – and I look forward to discovering more of his work.

The Birthday Girl & Other Stories is published by Demain Publishing more information is available here.

Author Christopher Beck

You can follow Christopher on Twitter @Chrifive

Check out Christopher on Facebook HERE

For more information about SSS! please visit the Official Demain Website

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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