The Day Death Wore Boots

cover-small-193x300Remember me telling you that I’d come runner-up in a competition organised by Alfie Dog Fiction and my prize was any book from their website? Well, here’s the review for that very book:

The Day Death Wore Boots is a mixed bag of stories by authors with varying degrees of writing abilities. The tone of the book ranges from winsome and funny to dark and brooding, whist some of the tales are, quite frankly, bizarre. There are ghosts who need closure, ghosts who demand justice, and others who require an expiry date as seen in the amusing story of a mass haunting in Borrowed Time, by Angela Pickering.

Unfortunately, not all of the stories are that well written with a few presenting weak plots, as well as a need for brevity. However, The Passing of Mrs Parker Woodburn — A Completely Unsurprising Story, by E. J. Lamprey, is not one of these. The narrative builds in pace and tension, maintaining the reader’s interest with more than a modicum of humour and ending in a surprising turn of events, quite unlike the original premise purported in the title.

Although this book is supposed to be a collection of ghost stories, the only truly menacing story is that of Deborah Sheldon’s Fair-haired Boy, detailing a traumatic visitation by a spirit seeking revenge after a short life of abuse.

Probably the most original offering in the book is the eponymously named The Day Death Wore Boots, by Dorothy Davies, the subject matter of which is enough to give any model toy fanatic second thoughts about creating their own fantasy world.

I’d be lying if I said this book captivated or ‘haunted’ me, let down as it is by some whimsical and tedious stories. There is evidence to suggest that the familiar writing advice to ‘show, don’t tell’ is lacking in a few: I want to picture the scene in my imagination; not have the protagonist spell it out and tell me how I should be feeling. That said, there are others that make up the shortfall by providing a most enjoyable read.

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2 Responses to The Day Death Wore Boots

  1. It’s very difficult reviewing a book or collection of short stories which you don’t enjoy. You feel very mean to the writer in criticising anything, and imagine yourself on the receiving end of your own criticism. I usually find some good point(s) to emphasise, although I’m less gentle with well-established writers and those who are long dead.

    • Julie Wow says:

      I hope I did emphasise some good points and, yes, I do feel mean making any criticism at all. However, I hold back from being totally brutal — even though it may not appear that way — but feel that a lack of any honesty means your opinion as a reviewer is worthless. We all enjoy different genres, so just because it isn’t to my taste doesn’t mean it won’t suit another’s. That said, I do think some readers write rave reviews because they know the author personally, which are not always reflective of the material. I wouldn’t want someone to write unkind words about my work for the sake of it, but I would rather they were honest so that I can continue to evaluate and develop as a writer.

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