SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 683 Terror in Small Doses, by John Grover Book Review |

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Terror in Small Doses, by John Grover
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Nocturne Press
Published: 2005
Review Posted: 10/3/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Terror in Small Doses, by John Grover

Book Review by Benjamin Boulden

Have you read this book?

I made an eerily fun discovery when I picked up a chapbook called Terror in Small Doses by John Grover. It is thin (about 44 pages, including six dandy black and white illustrations by Kirk Alberts) and contains six short stories written by John Grover. The stories are entertaining and range from the supernatural to the more realistic. There is no overall theme that connects this collection, except the stories are moody, suspenseful, well written and damn fun.

The first story is titled "Black Out." It is the story of recently dumped common-law wife Doreen. After her breakup she loses everything: her boyfriend took the cars, the condo, and anything else of value. She was left with a minimum wage job and an apartment in a dangerous neighborhood that was more slum than home. The lights have a tendency to go out, the phone too. None of that fazes Doreen, at least not until one dark night when she begins to see shadows. This story is a good introduction to the rest of the chapbook. It is written well. The tension is built slowly, but powerfully and the climax, while a little obvious, is chilling and certainly not disappointing.

The stories included in this collection are: "Patience" (a fun short-short about the monster that lives under the stairs.); "The Conjurer" (the story of a conjurer who brings a trio of demons from hell and gets more than he bargained for.); "Release Me" (a story of love, obsession, greed and betrayal.); "The Gibbering" (a frightening story about guilt, sanity and hell. It is one of the better stories in the collection and teems with an atmosphere of moody suspense.)

The last and best story in the collection is "Available for Parties." It is the story of a clown. He does children's parties and loves his work. The story opens with the clown waiting in his van for his next gig. He sits outside the home watching the children play, checking the time, and very much anticipating his performance. "Available for Parties" is not what it seems. It is an illusion. There is a question of identity in the story and the reader will be thrilled as the curtain is pulled back and the magic is made clear: the story is solved and the trickery exposed.

Terror in Small Doses is a collection of quiet horror. While there is some violence, it is not graphic and the stories depend more on the adept maneuvers of plot than they do on blood-splashing, organ-ripping action scenes. These stories are not marvels of originality, but I very much enjoyed them.
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