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A Penny Down the Well: A Review

Penny Down the well

7/10

Author: J. A. Crook
Kindle Edition
Genre: Horror
Amazon Synopsis: In the second collection from horror author J. A. Crook, readers will be exposed to a myriad of harrowing tales from one of the most unique minds in horror today. “Down the Drain,” is a story where Jared, a new renter at a low-class apartment, is subjected to the apartment’s vile past, and is left to encounter the very mystery that terrorized the prior tenant. “Their Last Ride” puts you behind the wheel with Clint, who has happened onto a position with the nearby funeral home, but becomes quickly aware of the harsh demands of driving the dead. “A Penny Down the Well” will shock you as it explores a segment of a bullied child’s life, and how a little wish enacts a revenge on his enemies in ways he could have never expected. “The Wheezing Man” corrals you into the strange town of Glencoe, Kentucky, where the Quinn family decides to make a stop to avoid a coming storm, only to step into the very center of something much, much worse. “Our Spirits Out West” will take readers along the old Oregon Trail with the Greyson party, to encounter adventure and hope which inevitably deteriorates into terror and helplessness, begging the question of what darkness we people will resort to in order to survive the worst of the world. These five tales will thrill and horrify you from start to finish, certain to pervade your nightmares for years to come!

I’ll quickly mention this as I am a nitpicker but won’t be mentioning it again, this book could do with a cheeky little proof read to weed out some of the spelling and vocabulary errors that I came across (though these are few and far between).

Onto the meaty goodness of this review! The stories were pretty creepy, which is definitely what you’d want from a horror book and each story was a nice length for a short story- short enough to read on a lunch break, but not too short so as to be without substance.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the contents of the stories as they are only short and I’d ruin them for anyone who wants to read them, so here are some of my thoughts on the work as an overall piece:

  • The first story had some pretty unflattering views about women which were a little unsettling, probably because it didn’t become apparent until the end that the male character was in fact a douchebag and this was the only clue that I spotted up until that point:

    “Of course, to women, diamonds had plenty of function: they were attractive, they were symbolic, and they were costly. Any man willing to spend his hard earned money on the vibrant adornment was a man willing to invest in his woman, and they wanted that”

  • I loved all of these stories for the atmosphere and creepiness, but my favourite would have to be “The Wheezing Man”. There’s never anything wrong with a good old fashioned apocalyptic death cult in the middle of nowhere!
  • Each of the stories left me wanting a little more, I hope that the author will be writing longer stories in the future or possibly even expanding on these ones- they raised so many questions about the main characters, hearses and cannibalistic demons that I would love to hear more about them just to satisfy my curiosity.

All in all, I loved the originality and thought provoking nature of these stories but I would love to read some more detailed work by this author in the future!

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