Title: The Devil Took Her: Tales Of Horror
Author: Michael Botur
Publisher: Sager Group
Page count: 331
Horror fans rejoice! Award-winning Kiwi horror author Michael Botur is back with this skin crawlingly-good collection of horror tales. Botur’s voicey style is filled with quintessential Kiwi flavour (and setting). The writing draws you in and doesn’t let you go, no matter what you think of the protagonist (of which many descend into hells of their own making—quite satisfyingly in some cases).
The stand out stories for me include “The Writing on the Rat”, the closing image of this story still stands vividly in my mind; “The Day I Skipped School”, a haunting love story built on the bones of murder, monsters and a vow of secrecy; “The Strange Paper”, an all too topical—and cautionary—tale of the power we give to conspiracy theorists; and “Test of Death”, a touching story that explores the lengths we go to for friendship—and a chance to beat death. I still find myself thinking about these stories weeks after I turned the final page.
Another aspect I particularly liked in all of the stories of this collection is how they don’t just hold up a mirror to the flaws of humanity but explore them to the extreme. As characters succumb to their weaknesses—some of which are seemingly innocent at first—their stories become cautionary tales about letting our less-than-admirable traits rule us.
This collection is not just about humanity’s flaws, but of consequences; of mistakes (and lapses) in judgement coming home to roost one by one. If you relish stories that build with a slow rising dread before going for the throat, this is a must-read.
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