- Book Title: Devil’s Jawbone
- Author: BJ Sheppard
- Publisher: Self-published via Smashwords (October 31, 2015)
- Book Length: 182 pages
- Genre: A collection of horror short stories centered around a town named Devil’s Jawbone on a Halloween night, with all of the protagonists gay men.
- Reviewed by: Kyle
- Rating: 2.5 Star
- Posting Date: November 30, 2015
These are a number of short stories set up like tales told around a campfire on a dark and gloomy night, culminating in a final horrific explanation. I especially liked The Lion and the Lamb and Long Pig, and while Highway East 11 was a bit predictable, it was still creepy. Monster’s Ball actually made me cringe. Plus all the stories have a slight connection to each other to expand on the evil. These would be a fun quick read some evening, like reading through an old Creepy or Erie graphic magazine from the 70s.
But I can only give this collection two and a half stars because the sentence structure can be convoluted, making reading difficult. The opening sentence to What Lies Beneath is a prime example — Nancy Caruthers watched as Dylan leaned in for a kiss, planting his lips gently on the man in the driver’s seat of the van parked just beyond the eye line of her stance by the upstairs window. This sentence begs to be broken up, because once it is, the author would see it contradicts itself. Nancy can see something that’s beyond her eye-line? Another is —The door to his room stood open, unwatched and unguarded, as the orderlies’ raised voices sounded down the hall, trying their hardest to subdue the violent altercation between inmates that had no doubt erupted over something as simple as an unintended push or an unkind word. It would add to the tension if sentences like these were made into several short intense ones.
Also, the opening or prologue is rather oblique. By the end of the series I understood its purpose, but it was somewhat confusing, where it is. I think it would have been far more effective at the end instead of the beginning of the book. It might also help to better explain why characters like Tim and Paul deserve their fates.
If the author had made one more pass at this series…and the editor had pointed out there is a lot of passive voice that could be made aggressive, and had suggested cutting down on the use of adjectives…these stories could have been great. Instead, they’re okay.
As night descends on the town of Devil’s Jawbone, no one is safe. The veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and the darkest side of human nature is boiling to the surface. The supernatural and the natural are colliding, and in this sleepy town, the bump in the night is taking human form. Innocence will be lost; the villain will become the victor; spirits will rise and Satan himself will come to town.
In an eerie collection of short speculative fiction, author BJ Sheppard will grab your imagination, bringing new life to the classic campfire tales synonymous with the scariest of occasions. Halloween will never be the same again.
Go to the Author Page for BJ Sheppard
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