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Shadows & Keyholes Review!!!

Worth reading 😎

Ten stories on the darkness within and outside, as strange phenomena occur in the life of ordinary people.

Shadows & Keyholes is an apt title for a book with stories embedded in despair and hope. As a character points out in a story “…there wasn’t anything in the dark that wasn’t already in the light.” A collection of ten stories by Clarence Carter, this book comprises everyday characters, grappling with everyday problems - An officer with PTSD, a rebellious teenager, an elderly insomniac, a father stranded with his children in inclement weather, and more.

The writer has created suspenseful stories, both open-ended and closed. Stories like the Straw Man can make you think of an alternate progression because of the richness of the theme. There is interesting imagery, too. For example, “His soul sifted through his lips, black as ink…” Or, “Above shone a fingernail moon from behind a thatch of clouds.”

Despite a thriller genre with supernatural and mysterious elements, the stories have more “show than tell”. To develop the characters and the narrative, the writer has ended up with too many words. The editing is not taut at places. Extraneous narration weakens the story’s impact sometimes. Explanations, when not needed, sully the imagination. The book cover in gray tones represents the spooky tales in the collection. It, however, is not unique in design. It caught my eye that the writer used the ampersand symbol instead of “and” in the book title.

If we can look beyond some editorial elements, the stories are imaginative and stay with the reader. Do people go missing in a supposedly haunted manor, or do vandals attack the cemetery at night? Each question ends in a scary tale with a twist. Fears, nightmares, macabre happenings, and even dreams manifest as strange phenomena, paranormal events, vivid imagination. Whether you travel through portals, indulge in experiments, cast a spell, or ride the carriage of the Collector, you can find a story or two that captures your attention.

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