End of the Liner
The Lion at the Gate
I’m Not Ted
The Copy Shop
Tis the season for good scares and what better book to curl upfront of the fire with than A Sliver of Darkness. C.J. Tudor is back after her acclaimed novel The Chalk Man with a delightfully sinister and twisted collection of 11 short stories.
From a number of different perspectives and protagonists old and young, the stories here are surprisingly varied and feature some pretty good chills and thrills along the way.
One of the biggest challenges when writing a collection like this is keeping things fresh and exciting from story to story. Well, this collection does just that, whilst simultaneously writing with such flair that makes each story a joy to read.
Writing a good short story is certainly an artform and in many ways, is actually harder that writing a fully fledged novel. The limited amount of words mean every single sentence has to be purposefully moving character or plot forward, and long, fluffy paragraphs full of descriptions are nigh-on impossible with such a tight deadline. Yet somehow Tudor makes this look easy across each of these stories.
‘End of the Liner’ gets things off to a suitably twisted start, with a tale set on a cruise liner that’s not for the fainthearted. From here, the story dips and weaves through a series of twisted and chilling stories, with everything from an abandoned block of flats and creepy hotels through to a “Fat man” who sings the Blues. All of this is then rounded out with the final tale, ‘Butterfly Island’ that finishes proceedings on a high.
You can see the different themes woven throughout and it’s actually pretty remarkable to see how well C.J. Tudor gets inside the minds of these different protagonists. Males and females, old and you; this talented author manages to craft believable characters out of every protagonist.
But this isn’t just a collection of stories. This is also a very personal reflection from Tudor on the state of the world and her own mindset during a certain viral outbreak that spread across the world.
Each story features a foreword explaining what inspired her to write this specific story before diving into the tale. It’s a small inclusion but this tiny addition works wonders to make each feel both meaningful and purposeful.
What’s particularly great about a diverse collection of spooky tales like this is that your favourites will undoubtedly differ to the next person. All of these are worth reading though, with me personally resonating with the opening story the most. There’s some definite Bioshock/Fallout vibes going on here and the tale is so well written, leaving you itching to know more when the tale ends.
A Sliver of Darkness is a wonderful collection of stories and certainly a worthwhile pick this Halloween. To even give a synopsis to every story would be a disservice to the great work Tudor has done here and while not every story shines quite so brightly as the next, this is a worthwhile collection of tales and absolutely worth a read.
Verdict - 8/10