I’ve said this many times before, but I never get tired of saying it: I love short stories, particularly those in the horror genre! Seems like I find a new anthology every other day, and my appetite for these collections never wanes. I say, ‘Keep ‘em coming!’ INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS is a collection of stories and poems from acclaimed author Michael Bailey, and the book is aptly named: there’s plenty of skill in the written word here, as well as massive doses of terror. Throw in some excellent artwork by Daniele Serra, and you have a book of tales that every fan of horror fiction will want to own.
If you are not familiar with INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Villipede
From the mind of award-winning author and editor Michael Bailey comes Inkblots and Blood Spots, a painfully beautiful collection of short stories and poetry that reaches deep into the imagination, breaking hearts and boundaries along the way…
In a lyrical and uninterrupted dance, Bailey entwines evocative literary short fiction with rhythmic poetry and comes full circle in one seamless collection. His stellar performance is accompanied by the stunning artwork of Daniele Serra, winner of the British Fantasy Award, and an Introduction by the legendary Douglas E. Winter.
Stories include the Bram Stoker nominated “Fireman / Primal Tongue,” which also received an Honorable Mention for Year’s Best Horror; “Dandelion Clocks,” a haunting, melodic tribute to the tragedy of 9/11; “I Wanted Black,” where a young boy’s birthday is anything but cause to celebrate; “Mum,” a tale of two sisters unfolding like the bandages on their mother’s badly burned body…
Take a surreal stroll through a carnival in “Underwater Ferris Wheel,” where the biggest attraction may be your last ride; witness a pregnant woman’s harrowing encounter with soul-stealing faerie in “Not the Child”; and find out why it gets cold in a little girl’s room at night when she sees “A Light in the Closet.”
The cover art for this book is striking and powerful, a nice draw to pull in potential readers. I have to admit it is a big part of what prompted me to start reading it in the first place. I’m happy to report the stories within live up to and exceed the visuals on the cover.
Each story in INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS is written well and carefully constructed. Bailey does a great job with pacing, and he has a knack for packing a punch in a minimal number of words. The book contains several stories that are very short, but they are still able to knock the reader off his or her proverbial feet. I love this aspect, as it truly highlights the skill of a talented author.
One of my favorite stories in this collection is “The Mascot”. In this tale, a couple in a truck hit something on a desolate roadway and stop to check it out. Unfortunately, they find out too late that everything is not as it seems, and things do not end well. This is one of those ‘short’ shorts that is told in only a couple of pages. I like the impact the story has with so few words.
INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS is a major win for me, and fans of horror fiction will definitely want to check this out. I highly recommend this collection, and I cannot wait to see what Bailey has in store for us next. The book is available now in a variety of formats.