The Bitter Cold: Five Chilling Tales of Winter Horror, Flint Maxwell
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Dark Void Press
Tags: Creepy Doll, Gory, Graphic Violence, Psychological
*** See Note At Bottom Of Review. ***
Length: 85 Pages
Purchase At: Amazon.com
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
Summer ends, Fall comes, and then Winter kills everything with snow, ice, and bitter winds.
The five tales of horror contained within these pages touch upon the worst of the season – from haunted Christmas presents to secrets hidden beneath a frozen forest floor.
So cozy up next to a warm fire, put on your fuzziest robe, and prepare to have your blood chilled.
It all started with a toy; with the toy, my life ended.
That was disturbing.
Mike, Emma, and Teddy are the perfect family. Teddy is four and kind of a mama’s boy. I’m not saying that in a bad way by any means. He just relates more to Emma than Mike. It’s close to Christmas and Emma has to work on the day she’d planned to pick up the bulk of the gifts. Mike agrees to do it and to make a day of it with their son. Everything is going well until young Teddy spots a toy in the window of an old antique shop. This thing is ugly and more than a little creepy. Of course Teddy begs Mike to buy it for him. Anything to make his boy happy, you know? Unfortunately, buying the creepy toy for Teddy turns out to be the worst thing he would do in his life.
The toy obviously isn’t your average toy. When Teddy removes it from the box on Christmas morning weird things start to happen.
I’m huge on books about family. I always have been. Give me a story with a kid in it and I’m usually happy. I can’t say that about this particular story and I can’t say why. I knew from the first page what was going to happen. I just wish I knew in advance how it was going to happen.
This reminded me of the story of Robert, the ‘haunted’ doll in Florida, I think it was? If you’re not familiar with Robert, I suggest checking out his story. I’d add a link but Robert creeps me the hell out, so there you go. 😉
The writing was good. The way the story was told was good. The ending was perfect.
Good horror short. Just take note of tags above and my ‘final thoughts’ at the bottom of this review.
A Few Steps Away
This was a breath of fresh air after The Toy. I can’t say much other than A Few Steps Away tells the story of a boy and his dog. From the time the boy is quite young until he’s twenty-one he and the dog have a special bond. This bond doesn’t disappear when one of them is no longer in this world.
I really enjoyed this.
The title for this is so fitting.
Charlie, 35, has just been through a rather bitter divorce after his wife cheated on him. He lost the wife and his young daughter to some guy named Sean.
A couple of months after the divorce is finalized Charlie makes the mistake of going out for a few beers after work with one of his coworkers. One bar turns into several and before he knows it Charlie is pretty wasted. It’s snowing hard but drunk Charlie decides to try to drive home anyway.
He doesn’t quite make it. What happens on the drive home is bad. What happens later is terrifying.
I’ll never look at a refrigerator the same again. Old, new, whatever, it doesn’t matter. I will now have nightmares of possessed refrigerators, gory deaths, and teeth.
Anything I say beyond that will tell the whole, strange story so I’ll stop here.
The Edge of the World
This is an excellent horror story.
A young couple takes a walk through the woods on a cold, cold night. It’s only their third date. The girl is wanting to see a section of the forest known as the Edge of the World. There’s been talk of disappearances for decades involving the Edge of the World but it’s mostly been laughed off.
If ever there were woods foreboding enough not to enter, it was these. But see, I would’ve done anything for her. I would’ve followed her into hell, if she wanted me to.
The young man really doesn’t want to go but you know how it is with young love. He wouldn’t allow himself to show fear. What would she think of him then?
Unfortunately, the Edge of the World turns out to be more than just a section of the forest that warranted being laughed off. It was everything the ‘talk’ had said it was and more.
Excellent short. This is the type of story I look for when I want horror.
Final thoughts and Slight Spoilers
This is a nice collection of quickie horror stories, but be prepared if you’re interested in reading this. One has the rather brutal death of a child and another one involves the violent death of a pet. Expect a little bit of gore and know what you’re getting into before picking up the book.
While all the stories were written well (even if parts bugged me), A Few Steps Away and The Edge of the World are my absolute favorites for two totally different reasons. Excellent short stories. As for the others, make note of my warnings if you go to read them.
I’ll be reading more by this author.
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Cindi January 28, 2019 at 1:09 am
Outstanding writing. I would definitely read more by this author. But… You know I can (and do) read the worst of the worst. But the things I mentioned were a bit much.
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Oh hell no, hard limits, hard limits everywhere for me with this collection.
Fantastic review, Cindi. I’m freaked out just reading it *shakes in boots.