The Gothic Shift by B. D. Bruns

The Gothic Shift - B.D. Bruns

This collection consists of four unrelated stories. I will briefly touch on each of them so you can get a feel for the style of this book. Three of these stories have an historical background.

 

Naked Molly takes place in the winter of 1799 in the port town of New Orleans. At the time New Orleans was in a state of flux and this story takes place right in the middle of it.  A scheming, conniving main character that I could not stand had a ghost of a beautiful woman running around naked in his home and on his roof. This was my least favorite of the stories, but even this one had a great ending.

 

The Swamp Hive Taking place in 1862, this tale plops us down right into the horrors of the Civil War. A  slightly mentally challenged man, Frank,  whose life is saved during a bar room brawl, is beholding to his savior, Jimmy. Then they both join the Confederacy to fight and fight they do. I wouldn't think that any author could come up with anything more brutal and scary than the civil war, but this he did and he did it well. This was my favorite story of this collection. I know I will be dreaming of The Finger People for a while to come. *shudder*

 

Blue Caribou is the name of a ship out to discover the Northwest Passage. The story starts out in August of 1859 and things are fine. The captain makes a few adjustments to the course of the ship and before you know it, the ship is stuck in the ice, in complete darkness for months. Even though this story reminded me a lot of "The Terror" by Dan Simmons, I still enjoyed it. I sometimes think of the horrors that crews on ships like these experienced while stuck in the ice for months, and sometimes even years. Imagine no fresh water, rationing of food, scurvy and the like. It's scary stuff, not even including the insanity that often results.

 

The Gothic Shift is a modern day story that was flat out strange. I liked it! A young aspiring actress is working as a waitress and rehearsing for the lead in a play at night. Her schedule is upended by a gentlemen who comes to her restaurant and cleans out the shrimp buffet. Every night. And every night he eats one more additional plate of shrimp. This goes on for days, 29.5 exactly, and while the customer isn't gaining any weight due to his obnoxious eating habits, his waitress does. I don't know what else to say about this strange story, other than I liked it a lot. 

 

At the end of each story is a picture or a drawing related to the tale, and I liked them. 

 

Never having heard of this author, I didn't know what to expect when I started this book to review for Horror After Dark.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this collection and the originality of the stories. The only drawback was that there were slightly more than the average number of typos and misused or misspelled words. Illusive instead of elusive, for instance. For that I did deduct one star. Other than that, this was a juicy collection of stories, with some great character development and a lot of original ideas. Recommended!

 

I received a free copy of this book to honestly review for Horror After Dark and that is what  I have done.