Wrathbone and Other Stories Review (Horror Collection)

Book cover for Wrathbone by Jason Parent

Terror follows those who let it into their hearts.

Wrathbone: Guests of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris attend a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. On that fateful night, a great man falls, but he is not alone. For Henry and Clara, the night is only the beginning of lives wrought with jealousy, madness, and horror.

The Only Good Lawyer: Bradley is a savvy defense attorney with no scruples. Under his representation, many a guilty man has gone free. But when a voodoo priest takes the stand, Bradley soon discovers that he, too, is on trial, and the punishment for guilt may be more than he could bear.

Dorian’s Mirror: Dorian loves himself, and why wouldn’t he? Every guy wants to be him, and every girl wants to be with him. He would trade all he has to make his looks last forever, but bargaining with the devil may leave him short a soul.

For the Birds: Nev’s best friend is his parrot. In fact, it’s his only friend… and his only ally when his home is invaded.

Revenge is a Dish: Maurice has landed a dream job, chef for a rich couple on their yacht. The wife has carnal desires for him. Maurice has some carnal desires of his own. – Goodreads

Wrathbone Review

Note: We’re still working out the best way to do reviews on books that both of us have read. This is our first attempt at it. It’ll probably change as time goes on. (Text in this color are GracieKat’s thoughts on the stories)

The titular story, Wrathbone, was a fantastically disturbing read. The unreliable narrator – was he crazy? wasn’t he? – was used to the fullest advantage here.  That narration combined with Parent’s flair for describing mind-melting scenes of horror delivered pure awesomeness.  Henry Rathbone was a figure I desperately wanted to save. I felt a surprising amount of pity for him rather quickly. I found myself actually hoping things would work out for the best for the family. (Which is unusual considering I’m normally happy to see lots of death.)

I have to admit that I had to look up the names Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris. It’s been a while since history class, lol. When I did, though, I can certainly see what drew the author to the story. It’s one hell of a story all on its own. The author does a very good job of blending fact with fiction. My only complaint is that it gets a mite repetitive and could have been shortened just a tad. But it’s not like it detracts from the story at all. It’s a great story and told well.

The Only Good Lawyer was one of those cases where you knew it was going to end with a serious comeuppance. And yet knowing that it was going to end a certain way did absolutely nothing to abolish my enjoyment of the read. In fact, Parent still managed to deliver a small surprise at the end of the story. I was so caught up in what I was reading that I’d forgotten a key point. I rather enjoyed it!

I really enjoyed this story. It had some really great lines and it would be nice for justice to have it’s day, finally. I did have one little quibble with the realism of a certain part but to keep it spoiler-free I’ll just leave it at that. Suffice to say, it doesn’t ruin the story at all and the ending was…very nice.

Dorian’s Mirror was odd. I didn’t like it as much as the previous two, but it had an appeal that I can’t deny. Obviously a riff on The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian’s Mirror is for the modern age. I think what draws me to it is the obsession with eyeballing the things we see wrong with us. It’s hard to look away from a perceived fault. And although Parent carries it to extremes here, the root is the same.

For the Birds was my least favorite. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, necessarily. But, given the quality the author delivered with the other three stories, it seemed a cheap shot. Possibly even filler. This was a story I’d expect from someone who relied far more on shock and gore tactics than true talent to get someone creeped out.

I really didn’t care too much for this story. I thought it was a bit over the top and gross just for the sake of gross. This is just my opinion of course, so other people may like it more than I do.

Revenge is a Dish finishes this collection of stories, and changes my opinion on the book overall. Reading Wrathbone I thought I was in for a pure horror treat. By the time I was done with Revenge is a Dish, I feel like I’ve just finished with a collection of Tales from the Crypt episodes.  Pretty typical revenge story fare about a chef that got caught stuffing his sausage somewhere he shouldn’t have and feels he’s the wronged party.

I have to admit that even though the main character is a complete and utter arse, I did like the story.

Overall, the stories range between okay to awesome, with Wrathbone maybe setting the bar a bit too high. Jason Parent has the ability to do some truly wicked things with his mind. I hope he continues to cultivate his talent and doesn’t take the easy roads for horror too much in the future.


Title: Wrathbone and Other Stories | Author: Jason Parent (site) | Publisher: Comet Press | Pub. Date: 2016-10-3 | Pages: 160 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.