Bedtime Stories for Carrion Beetles
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
September, 2012; $10.99 PB
Reviewed by K. H. Vaughan
Bedtime Stories for Carrion Beetles is a self-published collection by author Adrian Ludens containing 19 short stories, the majority of them reprints from small press anthologies or non-paying markets. In general, I do not read self-published work as it has not been properly vetted by the submission and editing process, and the quality is so often poor. In this case, an intriguing title and professional-looking cover caught my attention and I am glad I gave it a look. This is a writer with promise who is moving beyond “for the love” markets into professional sales. The author experiments with a variety of narrative and voice styles, giving the stories some variety, but they hold in common relatively tight, controlled prose punctuated by the occasional striking image or unexpected twist. He uses an economy of words, and some pieces could properly be described as flash fiction due to their brevity. The stories include ghost stories and weird tales, as well as non-supernatural horror stories of disturbed and peculiar individuals. Ludens appears to have a strong interest in tapping folklore and history for his work. There is also a theme of body horror present, with several effective stories about parasites, invading insects, and taxidermy. Overall, I would describe the tone of the volume as understated, wistful, and somewhat sad. Bedtime Stories for Carrion Beetles was a creepy pleasant surprise, and I am looking forward to seeing more of his work.
Adrian Ludens is a radio announcer and writer who lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He is currently working on a second collection of his more recently published work and new unpublished stories. Bedtime Stories for Carrion Beetles in available in print and Kindle editions from Amazon, and more information on the author and his work can be found at http://curioditiesadrianludens.blogspot.com/