Title: 14 Needles | Author: Aaron Deck | Publisher: N/A | Pub. Date: 04/09/2017 | Pages: 157 | ASIN: B06Y5WGF4K | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Corpses of children are seen, implied rape (Full Chamber) | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration
14 Needles: An Unsettling Collection
Imaginative, strange, and sometimes funny, the short stories in this collection will take you from a military encampment in Afghanistan, through a trinket shop in California, to the secret, gruesome war being waged in the back alleys of civilization. Each tale strikes a different tone of the horrific and macabre, ranging from creature feature to the depths of the heart of an unstable, entitled man.
Take a trip through the unsettling imagination of Aaron Deck in his first horror collection.
14 Needles Review
I love tattoos. Fortunately I’m too broke or else I’d probably be a bit more heavily covered than I am now. As most ‘collectors’ would have you believe, every tattoo has a story behind it. This is true, for the most part. However, there are quite a few where you just decide, “Hm. A big-ass purple griffin would be awesome!”. So I was very intrigued by a collection of stories inspired by the tattoos of the author’s now ex-girlfriend. I particularly like the cover. It suits the subject of the book very well.
The stories begin with the author’s description of the tattoo in question and ideas stemming from it. As I’d rather not give any of them away I’m going to be rating this collection slightly different with the title, a number rating and a general summary.
Dice – 2
The Last Metro – 3
The Taxing of the Heart – 3
The Lady or the Cobra – 4
Rats and Rat Dogs – 2
The Gas Lamp – 2.5
A Stone, A Rose, A Spider – 2.5
Star Light, Star Bright – 4
Her Smell – 3
Movements Under Water – 4
Roses from My Friends – 5
Full Chamber – 5
Heinoclock – 1
Old Town San Diego Souls – 3
In my opinion Dice might be a poor choice to lead off 14 Needles. It’s by far the weakest story in the book. This might sound strange as I gave it a slightly higher rating than Heinoclock. But where Dice is just bit weak and feels somewhat like a flash fiction piece Heinoclock is just gross. Not just the narrator’s thoughts, either. My two favorites were Full Chamber which is quite a bit darker than the other stories but very good. The last sentence is perfect. Roses from My Friends strays from the outright ‘horror’ genre but still has a touch of the supernatural in it. It’s a beautiful story and shows what the author is fully capable of.
14 Needles has a lot of potential if some of the stories were smoothed out a bit. Too many of them ended with no explanation at all that leaves you feeling a bit cheated. It’s a technique that can be used to effect occasionally. In The Lady or the Cobra it’s very effective. In at least three others, though, it only leaves you wondering exactly what’s going on in the story and the endings seem abrupt.
There were very few technical flaws in 14 Needles. The formatting was good but there were a very few misspellings (“per say” instead of “per se” for example). I may be wrong but Dice seemed to be a much earlier story. The writing was much more choppy. As the stories went on they flowed much more smoothly. I do think the author has a lot of promise and I would be interested in reading a later collection after he has honed his style a bit.
3 out of 5 Skulls