Equinox – Six Declinations
Richard S. Freeland
Dragonlyre, 125 pages
Review by Darkeva

List of Stories:

  • Equinox
  • Family Tradition
  • Anomalies
  • The Last Angel
  • Garbage Man
  • Bygones

In a Kindle Author interview, Richard Freeland mentioned that he “interviews” his own characters as one way to get inspired about them and to find out what they’re all about so that he can write them in a compelling way. Although he mentions that he doesn’t spend as much time on secondary characters, some of the ones that appear in his previously unpublished collection, Equinox, are anything but under-developed. They’re exciting and lend an interesting background to each of his stories, particularly in the first one, which begins with two police officers investigating a rape case. One of the cops, Kate, is a woman who is herself suffering in an abusive relationship.

The victim claims to have been raped by a man with silver eyes, although she can’t remember much else apart from the song that lured her to him. All the victims’ lives start to turn around after the rapes by the same man – they get whatever their heart desires, such as becoming a gardening guru or a painter, but when it turns out that the villain is (surprise, surprise) an incubus, it’s not such a shocking revelation, nor is it surprising that he’s a symbiont, who gives back from what he takes. Inevitably, he gets to Kate, but the story ends on a note of triumph, at least.

“The Last Angel” is written in a more epic fantasy style, sort of like Conan the Barbarian, in which an angel can deliver warriors from the horrors of war. But what I didn’t understand was why an angel would bring forth zombies, and summon spells and demons for that matter (even though these are just things that the angel mentions that she could potentially do).

Although Freeland’s stories are written well, the strongest emotional connection I felt was to Kate in the first story of the collection, the eponymous Equinox, which isn’t to say that his other characters aren’t well developed but rather that I wasn’t drawn to them or compelled to find out what happens to them. That said, it’s a decent collection, and horror fans should check it out.

He also mentions in the interview that he thinks that horror readers are middle aged or young males, and while this is certainly true of the majority, many women (myself included) like horror just as much as any guy. Whether you’re a male or female reader, any horror aficionado should add this to his or her TBR shelf.

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