Talking Walls and Cigarettes is a collection of seven dark short stories that deals with both real life monsters and those that dwell within us.
A bartender still grieving the tragic death of her brother, shunning from her family, and the whispers in the street is visited by a man who appears out of thin air to offer her a way out of her own personal hell in The Salesman. A poor family is cursed by a mysterious old man in the woods and the children are at risk for falling victim to their parent's unspeakable acts in Porcelain. The title story follows a man as he is tormented by demons in his own mind. In Homecoming, can a young woman find what she's looking for years after her father's abduction by other-worldly beings?
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.26(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Comprised of seven short stories, this book delivers for its genre. I made the mistake of trying to read some of these stories right before bed, and I am not ashamed to say that I slept on top of my boyfriend with a night light on. Several of the stories effortlessly awaken a primal fear buried deep in us all. The writing was impeccable in its ability to draw you into the story and never let you go. Though the stories are short, the scenes are spun so rapidly that you cannot look away. One story in particular, In His Cellar, absolutely frightened me to no end. There was no happy ending at all, and it played on a very real fear that nearly every person experiences. The rest of the stories were varying degrees of scary and skin crawling. Some opted for the in your face scare tactic, while others went for the subtle ending that made you stare, open mouthed at the final page. Some stories have a paranormal twist to them. For me, the stories that are always the scariest do not involve paranormal elements. The truly scariest thing out there is the human mind, and this book showcases that. If you're a fan of the horror genre, this book should be on your shelf. It isn't a campy, monsters say boo book. It is a genuine attempt to uncover your deepest fears and capitalize on them while weaving a story so brilliant around you that you cannot escape. I daresay it'll be a long time before I venture into the horror genre again. **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Kelli Beck, Erin Beck, and Enchanted Book Promotions.
I received a copy from this book in exchange for an honest review. In this horror short story anthology, authors Erin Beck and Kelli Beck provide a varying palette of horror – from the disturbing appearance of a ghost to alien abduction to demons to terror only present in the protagonist’s mind. The themes of the stories vary greatly, but their quality is consistent. The first story, “Cough Syrup” was by far the most complicated story to understand. The main character is dealing with grief, comes from a dysfunctional family, and eventually starts making some bad decisions. It was dark fiction more than horror, but definitely set the right mood. Next up came “In His Cellar”, which I thought was hands-down the best story in the anthology. Dark, bleak, with no way out. There are no good guys, there is no redemption, no hero saving the day. The main character falls prey to a sadistic serial killer. The only outcome is evident, and pain necessary. The story is strong, to the point, and terrifying. “The Air in Venice” had a good premise – a boy turns up in a city and brings along the Plague – but I felt like parts could’ve been explained better. The story jumped from one thing to the other, as if it didn’t really know which direction it wanted to follow. “The Salesman” was an okay story, but it wasn’t really scary. All in all, it seemed to have a pretty upbeat message. I liked the premise of it, but it could’ve been darker. A woman is visited by a ghost, which may not be a ghost at all, and they end up making a deal. “Taken”, the next story in the anthology, talked about alien abduction. This was probably the weirdest story, and I’m generally not a fan of alien abduction stories, but I ended up really enjoying this one. I could’ve easily seen this story turn into a novella though – there was sufficient back story and plot to fill a novella. “Porcelain” was another hit for me. A mysterious man curses a family, and what follows is so random and horrific that I absolutely enjoyed it. If it happened in real life, I’d scream my head off, don’t get me wrong, but in fiction, this is the kind of story I like. Surprising, different, with an ending you don’t see coming by a long shot. “Talking Walls and Cigarettes” is the last story in the book. A man is slowly losing his mind, hearing voices that aren’t there and seeing demons. When he suspects the nextdoor elderly lady may be a demon, things start to go terribly wrong. A story about what happens if your own mind turns against you. Dark and disturbing, and a very enjoyable read. My top three stories, in order, are “In His Cellar”, “Porcelain” and “Talking Walls and Cigarettes”. All in all, a balanced anthology offering a lot of variation in theme, with some truly dark and disturbing gems.
Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite Talking Walls and Cigarettes: And Other Dark Tales is a decidedly wicked horror short story collection by Erin Beck and Kelli Beck. For these dark tales, you'd better remember to read with the light on. One thing of note was that the entire book was impeccably well-written, the dialogue was flowing and believable, and each of the short stories had a fascinating, though quickly wrapped-up plot. The stories themselves however, may be enough to give you nightmares for days. But there is something smart about these tales too. It isn't just SAW in book form. They have heart, meaning, and somber intentions that transcend the pages and get deep into your brain to make you think. I don't want to describe all of the stories, but I will quickly tell you about some of my favorites. 1. The Salesman: A thought-provoking and mind-troubling story about a lonely, remorseful bartender and the saint or demon who is helping her deal with the sins of her past, this one was as eerie as it was thrilling. The writing was quick, clean, and had an almost gritty air of a cop drama. I literally had the hair sticking up on the back of my neck. 4. Cough Syrup: When attraction becomes obsession, Phillip's desire for Evelyn has become his whole life. He walks her to work and back and watches her whenever she is at home...all without her knowing. The pure somber and desperate setting of Phillip's neighborhood and predator vs. prey dynamic between many of the characters is what really stood out in this disturbing tale. Although I've never heard of Erin and Kelli Beck before reading this collection, you can bet I will be on the lookout for any other things they create. With twisted stories and fantasy seeking minds like theirs, they could very well be the female versions of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.