I have often talked about the writing talents of John F. D. Taff. Well, I’m about to do so again. Little Deaths has arisen from the ashes. It has a splendid new cover, it’s been re-edited and there have been some new stories included. It all adds up to a collection of modern horror that is as broad in theme as you are ever likely to encounter in a single author collection. Taff runs amok with a host of heart-wrenching, haunting tales that are sure to thrill and terrify in equal measure.
Little Deaths is a HUGE book, it’s one that even a fast reader like myself took some getting through, but, like every great short story collection, I was well pleased by the time I arrived at the final tale. The highlights were many, but the opening tale, Bolts, was a personal favourite with its unusual take on Mary Shelly‘s Frankenstein. When first reading this, I thought to myself it all seems a little too odd, but the suckerpunch ending left me feeling emotionally wrought, so much so I re-read it.
Snapback, a story told via a series of emails shows that Taff isn’t simply a one-trick-pony and Calendar Girl was just damn creepy. Elsewhere, Orifice had a nice Lovecraft vibe to it and the body horror of Darkness Upon the Void also lit a fuse. The Closed Eye of a Dead World also worked really well, it’s a great monster tale that will make you think twice about spending so long looking at yourself in the mirror.
There is something for every horror fan inside Little Deaths and the huge array of themes covered is what makes it stand out for me. It doesn’t quite trump The End in All Beginnings as my favourite Taff read, but it does get close. This book is a great introduction to a great author. Pick up a copy and see for yourself.
4/5 flickering lightbulbs from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.