Award-winning and best-selling authors from across the genre spectrum join forces in this edgy collection. These deliciously frightening and reflective tales of phobias will cause your heart to race and your body to perspire.
Authors: Lauren Algeo, Marisa Oldham, Angie Martin, Sloane Kady, Glede Browne Kabongo, Shay Lynam, Heather Osborne, Sandy Richards and Jalpa Williby
***ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS ANTHOLOGY WILL BE DONATED TO THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS (NAMI)***
Experimental by Lauren Algeo:
Synopsis: Four people, four boxes, one nightmare. There’s no way out for Michael, Heidi, Sabina and Jace, and no escape from their own minds. Do they have the mental strength to withstand insanity?
Review: Algeo lures her readers into a suspenseful short story that both captivates and draws wonder to all four of her characters. There is a variation of one question that is really prevalent throughout the entire read—why were they selected for imprisonment? What did they do to deserve this punishment? This author does a fantastic job with character development and has a well-written story that seems like it will continue into a potential full-length novel in the future. If you are a reader of psychological suspense, you may find this to your liking. While reading, you may find major similarities between this short story and the major motion picture, SAW.
The First Step by Marisa Oldham & Angie Martin:
Synopsis: Following a terrifying ordeal, Adele has wrapped herself up in the comfort of her own home for the past four years. Can one man bring her the courage she needs to take the first step into a new world?
Review: This short story is slightly predictable, but by no means lacking in suspense. After suffering over a major psychological and horrifying event that caused her extreme fear and anxiety, her trust in others has been completely shot. Four years of being locked away with locks, bolts and bars across every window, she has imprisoned herself within the safety of her home. Both authors create an intrepid and eerie story that is well-written, but may not be extended into a full-length novel at a later time. If you are a reader of psychological suspense, this may be perfect for you.
A Mind’s Undoing by Sloane Kady:
Synopsis: Inside Kate lived a fear so profound even sanity couldn’t reason with it and reality couldn’t shake it from its foundation. When her greatest fear comes knocking, will she recognize it, or will it push her farther into a world of her mind’s making?
Review: Kady also has a predictable short story, yet it remains captivating and alarmingly psychological throughout. Kate’s fear is losing her family, but after the confirmation to her friend that she has stopped taking her medication—things fall into place quite quickly. This author does a fantastic job with character development and has a well-written story, but may not be extended into a full-length novel at a later time. If you are a reader of psychological fiction, you may find this to your liking.
Mark of Deceit by Glede Browne Kabongo:
Synopsis: Ambitious career girl Natalie Grainger Fox is in for the fight of her life when she becomes the unwilling recipient of a computer flash drive that could bring about the collapse of her employer—a global powerhouse that may be guilty of financial fraud and cold-blooded murder.
Review: Kabongo has a wonderful way of inviting her readers into the world of suspense with her well-written stories and creativity. This author walks with her character, Natalie, through every possible avenue of danger after an unwelcome visitor provides documentation of fraud allegations and deceit that have been swept right under her nose for years. She is forced to look over her shoulder constantly and those that she cares about may be in imminent danger if others are watching her. Ultimately not knowing who Natalie can trust, this provides a great psychological read that will leave you wanting to read more.
Synopsis: When a glitch in the system traps three teens inside a virtual reality, they must band together and face their worst fears in hopes of finding a way out.
Review: This short story is highly creative and psychologically riveting. Lynam delves right into the fire with her world of technological advances. This story encompasses psychological suspense and science fiction by creating equipment that can help you work through your worst fears. As this author takes her three characters through their worst nightmares, there is a bond formed between the three teenagers solely in spite of their fear. Lynam does a superb job with character development and has a well-written story that seems like it will continue into a potential full-length novel in the future.
Jezebel’s Embrace by Heather Osborne:
Synopsis: With an abusive mother dominating every aspect of her life, Lilith has grown to fear intimacy and touch. When she finally manages to escape, the death of a kindly lady draws her back. Will Lilith learn to conquer her fear, or will it consume her, mind and soul?
Review: Osborne takes her readers into the house of an abuser. This story is creative and well-written; however, there is a lapse in character development and pace, more than likely due to it being a short story instead of a full-length novel. After Lilith leaves her small southern town to attend college, with the help of a kind woman—she thinks that the fear is over. When the woman who helped her escape is found dead after a few years, she is drawn back to that town and the freedom that she once felt has been replaced with that same fear that had taken over her as a child. If you are a reader of psychological suspense, this may be perfect for you.
Heaven’s Hell by Sandy Richards:
Synopsis: Ernie had a devil of a time with life; nevertheless, salvation came calling surrounded by hellish circumstances.
Review: Richards’ short story is a bit predictable as well, but the psychological suspense is enticing and captivating all the same. Ernie has had a tough life, the life of an abused teenager. With her family being highly religious, she wouldn’t have suspected that the most evil and vile of them all would be so close to her. After suffering from the abuse for so long, her resolve was a simple one—revenge. Becoming a vigilante of sorts, is what she deemed herself. Ernie was the town’s protector against vile people like her abuser—except, the world doesn’t always work the way you want it to. One mistake, one mishap—and it could all come crashing down in one fearful and terrifying moment of vulnerability. Richards does a superb job with character development and has a well-written story that will leave the reader wanting more.
Touch of the Untouchables by Jalpa Williby:
Synopsis: Zak has only known one way of life: stay inside the wall. When a forbidden excursion goes wrong, he meets up with an enemy of unknown danger. In facing his worst fear, he is forced to question everything that has been his world and determine his own reality.
Review: Williby has a wonderful story that lures the reader into this little suspenseful adventure. Zak’s brother is the daredevil and Zak—well, he is just the one who has to follow along and make sure that his brother doesn’t get himself in trouble. Against orders, they travel beyond the wall and into the forest where danger is sure to await. After a run in with a band of Untouchables, Zak is hurt and unable to help his brother get back home safely. Leaving Zak on his own to go find help from inside the wall, his brother darts away quickly—but what they don’t know is that there is always someone watching and waiting to pounce. Williby does a fantastic job with character development and has a well-written story, but may not be extended into a full-length novel at a later time. If you are a reader of psychological suspense with a little adventure, you may find this to your liking.