This was an interesting collection. I chose this from the Blackthorn Book Tour group's June Quick Bite selections. It’s a small assembly of four short stories. Although I did not fall in love with this collection, it certainly wasn’t a struggle to read. Still, it is more on the eerie side rather than the traditional horror with gore and such.
The first story is Family Roots. This is the longest story of the four at just a little over five pages. This was also my favorite tale in the book. It’s a fantastic fearful little tangled tale of love, revenge, and unseen mystical forces. The second story is a tiny two-page tidbit relating the fallout of certain wounds and illnesses partnered with the inner workings of the world of a trapped mind full of fear and confusion. The next story is Affirmations running at just over three pages. This is the tragic relation of abuse, fear, curious happenings, and powers unseen and unknown. The final story is just a bite. It is one paragraph long bearing the title Warm. This compactly served story gnaws at the heart with death, longing, mystery, and sadness.
I did enjoy this small collection of stories for the most part. The author seems to want to reach the reader on a more emotional and psychological level. There is a clear style to the writing being that each story has a kind of implied meaning, action, behavior, or circumstance. I assume this is intended to make the reader think, filling in open parts of the tale and deciding meanings with their interpretation rather than the author just putting it out there. For me, this was a good attempt and I see what the author was trying to accomplish. It was effective in a basic sense for me but did fall just a little short in having the kind of fervent effect that I believe was originally intended. I also wasn’t thrilled about the stories getting so much shorter as the book went on. This was especially true for me when I got to the last story. Personally, it is difficult for me to call such a paragraph an actual story. It read to me as the opening paragraph of a very creepy, spooky story, and then it just stops, sort of falling flat in my opinion. Especially since it’s clear that the plot idea has real potential to be expanded.
Nevertheless, overall I did enjoy reading this book. I only wish it had a little more substance to it. I am certain this particular author is capable of it as what was presented in this book could serve as a teaser to a full-length anthology of short horror stories.
Echoes in the Dark by P.L. McMillan
Print length: 13 pages
Age range: This is an adult collection
Trigger warnings: death, murder, domestic abuse
Amazon Rating: New collection not yet rated.
About Echoes in the Dark
Four short tales of suspense, horror, loss, and the macabre.
Perfect for a quick read. But be careful, this fiction comes with a bite! (A quick bite – get it? It’s a quick read!)
Family Roots: An orchard whose trees listen
Unseen Cost: A man gets his sight back.
Affirmations: Live, laugh, kill.
Warm: A haunting scent, a memory.
About the Author
P.L. McMillan is a Canadian ex-pat living in the States, after having taught English for three years in Asia. She is a victim of a deep infatuation with the works of Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, and H.P. Lovecraft.
To her, every shadow is an entryway to a deeper look into the black heart of the world, and every night she rides with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night wind, bringing back dark stories to share with those brave enough to read them.
You can check out more on her website at https://plmcmillan.com or follow her on Twitter at @AuthorPLM.