Something Blue and Other Colorful Deaths
JournalStone (March 31, 2023)
Reviewed by Carson Buckingham
Bram Stoker winner L. L. Soares never disappoints. The first book of his I read was Green Tsunami, and I haven’t looked back since.
Something Blue and Other Colorful Deaths spans L. L. Soares’ short story writing career over a period of 23 years. The book has everything: surrealistic situations, dread, nightmarish terror, and black evil, along with a soupçon of what most people don’t consider to be a vital part of horror—compassion, humor, empathy, and bravery—but without which the characters become about as believable and complex as a piece of paper slipped beneath a door.
What is interesting about reading this collection is that many of the stories are about abandonment, and absent, dead, or abusive fathers. Parental and family relationships are generally unhappy in this book.
Each story is wildly dreamlike and terrifying. My favorites follow:
“Venus”—This one is my #1 favorite. It takes place at a carnival freak show. The carnival talker approaches a couple of young people with tickets to a private showing in the sideshow tent. They enter and the nightmare begins. I am partial to this story, not only because it is well written, but because it appeared for the first time in an anthology that I compiled and edited, entitled, The Best of the Horror Society 2013. It is still in print. I loved this story then, and time has not diminished my affection.
“City Slayer”—A mysterious drifter travels from place to place, stopping briefly in each town or city for a day or two, then is on his way again. But what happens in that day or two… wow.
“Still Life with Soul Juice”—A muse from the bowels of Hell visits an artist.
“The Sweetness and the Psychic”—A Kafka-esque kidnapped child story. A real page turner!
“The Click of an Unhinged Jaw”—A series of beheading murders is traced to a hideous source.
“Sometimes the Good Witch Sings to Me”—Glinda from The Wizard of Oz was never like this!
5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.
Read it with a flashlight under the covers.
Give his novels a try too—you won’t be sorry.