Review: City of Hell Chronicles: Volume 1

City of Hell Chronicles: Volume 1

Victoria Griesdoorn, Belinda Frisch, Colin F. Barnes, Ren Warom, Anne Michaud, Amy L. Overley, Kendall Grey.

This is a compelling book, especially if you like your horror to be dark, unrelenting and visceral. In some places reading this is like ‘rubbernecking’, where you stare at the car wreck on the motorway, knowing you shouldn’t look at others’ suffering, but you can’t help yourself. Morbid fascination causes you to stare. Be warned, it is disturbing and gory, but in a fascinatingly voyeuristic way. It is certainly not for the faint hearted…

One of the most admirable elements of this read is the way the collective authors have pieced together a whole work. The eight stories contained here, combine and weave together to form a whole narrative; told from varying perspectives. It constructs a vicious post apocalyptic world full of suffering, with little hope in sight. The very stuff of nightmares, where the only imperative is to survive. And the chances of that are very slim indeed.

This world begins with a steampunk-like tale, set in our world, in the not too distant future. This involves clocks and mechanisms and a summoning of dark insect forces from below. Slowly our world is consumed, or should I say humanity is consumed by giant predatory insects of all kinds, from ants and centipedes, through wasps and flies. These kill and maim and mate with humanity, producing unimaginable hybrids. Humanity, needless to say, is particularly fragile and ill-equipped for such an invasion.

This might make it seem a far fetched premise, but essentially this a book about the very personal. These are human stories; stories of how ordinary people would act and react, feel and not feel, when faced with ultimate suffering.

The collective authors take us on a journey across the world to tell these personal stories. From a pulsating volcano in Yellowstone park, to the dingy catacombs of London; from Japanese kids playing a wild gig in Hong Kong, to the last desperate medics in Moscow. And much more besides.

I make no apology here for not detailing the plot or plots that are contained. I feel the reader should make their own journey. Personally it made me wonder how I myself would confront such horror, and that is the mark of good writing, when the reader feels empathy. I congratulate the authors.

So I would recommend this book, its imagery still has me thinking, and I wonder where they will take this story next. Why not have a read yourself?

Click here to get your copy!


© 2011 Simon Poore

Man on Ledge…

This new story just came to me. I heard someone say something about a man on a ledge on the TV and it got me thinking. Could I come up with a new twist for that old chestnut? I couldn’t resist and ended up writing yet again in another new genre! Maybe I need to write a blog piece about the myth of genre and how our creativity can perhaps be constrained by them. Not sure I want to be constrained by genre! Perhaps I will try romance next? Any suggestions? Anyway I hope you enjoy this excerpt of the story and as ever all comments gratefully received (to download a free copy of this ebook click below). What do you think?

Man on Ledge…

Forty six floors. Why did I choose forty six floors? I have no idea. Just got off the lift and found the nearest empty open room. It was easier than I thought. Maybe I was hoping it wouldn’t be easy? Four doors down the corridor and there was a door open, ajar, beckoning me to run into the abyss. The window was easy to open too. I wondered about the security. Don’t they ever have jumpers in this hotel? It was easy to lock the door behind me.
Now I am standing here, on the ledge. I feel strangely calm. It might rain; a few tiny spots in the breeze on my face. I am so very scared. Scared but calm. The wound is sore; weeping. I don’t want to weep.
I never imagined the end would feel like this, not for me. I don’t know what I imagined really. Dying an old man in my sleep I guess. That’s what we all think isn’t it? I’m too young for this. Please not me. Why me? God, why me?
I know inside this is the right thing to do. The only thing to do, no choice. I can feel that feeling coursing through my veins. Pumping. I would have used a gun if I had one. Mary would never let us have a gun in the house.
“It’s in the constitution!” I used to tell her. “I don’t care about the constitution,” she would say, “we’re not having one of those things in my house, not with kids around!” She always made me smile when she was angry; she had a way with it. A way that said ‘I love you honey but right now you’re being a jerk’. I wish I could tell her I loved her now. But if she knew why, really knew why, she would know that this is the right thing to do. Surely she would know. God I wish I could tell her. But I don’t really understand it myself. How could I possibly explain? I start to cry. I told myself I wouldn’t cry.
I look down at my feet for the first time. The breeze is beginning to tug at my trouser legs. I am shuffling from side to side, shifting my weight from foot to foot on the stone ledge. It isn’t quite wide enough and my toes stick over the edge. Beyond them the abyss. A wave of nausea fills me, makes me sway. I never did much like heights. I look down beyond my feet, again for the first time. The people are small, insignificant; just like me. Most walking about; going about their business. They don’t know. God I wish I didn’t know. A couple of people have spotted me; stopped in their tracks, looking up, pointing and gossiping. Another stops to stare up. I can see the first man taking out his cell phone. I had better do this soon. Before the cops and the TV crews and the shrinks and the ghouls get here. I don’t want to be a freak show.
Little Jimmy went to a shrink once. When he was five. I remember thinking how stupid it all was. He was just a kid. They said he didn’t pay attention in school. I said “He’s just a kid! Did you pay attention when you were five?” I was so angry. I took Jimmy to the baseball field afterwards, told him I was sorry I was angry while we ate ice cream in the sunshine. He didn’t say much; just hugged me. “Love my dad,” he said, and that was all. That was enough. He never went to a shrink again; me and Mary made damn sure of that. God I love that kid.
More people on the street now, looking up. The wind is stronger. If I don’t do it soon then maybe the wind will blow me off. The thought makes me laugh, though more tears come now at the thought of little Jimmy and Lou. Oh God, Lou, thinking of him hurts so much. Only a month old, not enough to know what he will be like. Just a baby. I haven’t even seen him smile yet. I hope I am wrong about all of this. I am not wrong. The feelings inside me tell me I am not wrong. I have no choice. If I could explain it to Mary she would understand. Please God she would understand. But I can’t even explain it to myself.
I would tell her how they jumped me in the alley. Two of them. In the dark alley. I couldn’t resist; tried to fight them but they were strong. Oh so strong. They took everything. They gave too, they gave me this pain. Such pain. Now they are going to take my life too. It’s their fault Mary, please understand, their fault not mine.
I look up at the drifting clouds…..

To download and read the rest of this story FREE – click here: Man on Ledge

© 2011 Simon Poore