I saw recently that Erik Hofstatter had released a new collection called ‘Amaranthine and Other Stories’ Erik is one of those writers I have been meaning to read for some time, but you know what it’s like; too many books and not enough hours to get through them. Anyway, the collection was around about 70 pages long and I thought I could probably get through this pretty quickly. As it turns out, getting through it quickly is exactly what happened, owing to the fact that this is a really good book. I acquired a copy and dug in last night. It was pretty late but I thought I’d have a look at the first couple of stories, to whet the appetite, so to speak. Just over an hour later and I was done with them all!
I love short story collections. For me, the short story is so difficult to get right. There’s no time for endless description. The stories need to grab a hold of you and not let go, dragging you into the murky depths of a horror writers dark imagination. Some of these pieces are flash fiction, which I love and each story has a completely different feel to the others. Whether it is body horror (The Birthing Tub, which kind of reminded me of The Troop by Nick Cutter!), stories about fornication whilst under hypnosis (the Rasputin tinged The Wandering Pilgrim) or one of my personal favourites ‘The Deep End’, Erik Hofstatter has nearly all bases covered. He also gets extra points for having a story about one of my favourite bands (Slayer!). At the end of the collection Erik chose to write a little about each of the stories origins. I love it when writers do this. I often finish reading a book and wonder where in hell such an idea comes from, so this was an added bonus.
Short fiction collections are also a great way to familiarise yourself with an author’s work, and this collection pushed all the right buttons for me. At times creepy, sometimes gory, but always original, ‘Amaranthine and Other Stories’ is a great find and I am pleased to have finally read Erik’s work. Erik’s writing is real easy to digest that I am sure you will blitz through this as quickly as I did. Highly recommended.
You can pick up a copy of it from here.