Genre: Horror Anthology
Publisher: 1st Books
Book Review by Ray Wallace
Have you read this book?
The advent of print-on-demand publishing has certainly changed the landscape of modern literature. Now, if a person has a few hundred bucks lying around he or she can have their book published by any number of companies out there. Unfortunately, this means that a great number of books that should have never seen the light of day are finding their way into the marketplace (and into my review stack.) On the other hand, there have always been those quality works which have, for one reason or another, failed to find a home at an established publishing company. In these instances, there is no doubt that the new POD technology is a good thing as it gives these potentially lost works a chance to find an audience. And so when I picked up my copy of J. T. Savoy’s horror collection entitled Snippets of Midnight (self published through 1st Books) I couldn’t help but wonder what I was in for. Would the book leave me cursing the day that POD publishing came into existence or praising its virtues?
The first story presented here is “Remembering Emma.” This is one of the collection’s longer tales and revolves around a woman named Zoe Chandler who has dedicated her life to battling evil after witnessing the brutal slaying of her younger sister by an inhuman monster. We follow her into the Louisiana wilderness as she tracks a murderous shaman who has the ability to bring his victims back from the dead. It requires all of Zoe’s skill and cunning and a special little “gift” of her own to try and keep from becoming one of these pitiful zombies herself. Next up is a mere three pager of a tale entitled “Kimble’s Demons” which reworks the old “deal with the devil” scenario with quite effective results. In “The Writing on the Wall” we get to see a little girl discovering the dark power in the childlike illustrations she creates. And “Jo Jo’s Little Girl” depicts the terrible lengths one man goes to in order to ensure his daughter’s survival.
After this we encounter the collection’s first non-supernatural tale in “The Boy Scout Marching Song.” In it we meet Troy, a young man whose father has just died, whose whole world has come crashing down around him. Desperate, Troy hatches a plan to set things right — or at least as right as they can be — a plan that will have terrible and tragic consequences for the staff and patrons of a local diner. “NYC” is a grim little slice of life look at the city that never sleeps and “Snippets of Midnight” details the exploits of a vicious rapist who mistakenly thinks he has found the perfect victim.
“Gunner” takes the reader into the heart of one of the richest and most exploited of horror settings, the Vietnam conflict. When a US combat chopper is shot down in hostile territory the survivors of the wreck do what they can to survive. Unfortunately, as they try to make their way to safety they encounter an enemy no soldier has ever been trained to fight. “Reb” treats us to some interesting narrative choices as it tells the tale of a young man’s revenge against an abusive father, all told through the eyes of the family dog and a cockroach that witness the whole sad affair. And then we reach “Things That Go Bump,” the book’s last and longest tale coming in at just over a hundred-and-thirty pages. Young Tommy Garwell has had a hard time of it with the loss of his mother, the adjustment to life with a stepmother, and the strange noises he’s been hearing in his bedroom at night. Now he and his stepmom have been taken captive in their south Florida home by a gang of hardened criminals just as a hurricane rolls in. All too soon it becomes apparent that if Tommy wishes to survive he may have to hope for a little help from whatever it is that has been making those strange noises he’s been recently hearing in the darkness.
I’m happy to say that Snippets of Midnight has not left me cold at the thought of ever reading another POD book again. Far from it, in fact. J. T. Savoy is a writer with a lot of potential. His strengths are in his characters and his supernatural entities, most of which are quite unique and well depicted. Although some of the tales included here are more effective than others (“Remembering Emma,” “Kimble’s Demons,” and “Jo Jo’s Little Girl” being standouts) they are all enjoyable reads. So if you wish to pick up a book from a new writer you should be hearing more of in the future then go order a copy of Snippets of Midnight. It is a collection sure to entertain any avid horror reader out there.