By Jeff Parsons
Published on: April 2, 2018
Blog Tour by: Blackthorn Book Tours
The Captivating Flames of Madness offers a wide variety of short stories that range from creepy and scary to also leaving the reader with a general sense of unease. But, amongst the collection there are several that also give you something to think about long after you’ve left the story.
This book’s title comes from the reality that – like a moth to the flame – we’re all just one event, mishap, or decision away from things that could change our lives forever.
What would you do if fate led you astray into a grim world where you encountered vengeful ghosts, homicidal maniacs, ancient gods, apocalyptic nightmares, dark magic, deadly space aliens, and more?
If you dare, why not find out?
Read for yourself the twenty-two gloriously provocative tales that dwell within this book – but be warned, some of my dear readers have experienced lasting nightmares…
Typically, when I read a collection of short stories I find that there is one that sticks with me a little more than the others. But to the author’s credit in this collection, I found I actually enjoyed several with no clear ‘winner.’ The reasons were as varied as the stories – some really caught my attention theme-wise while I enjoyed others due to plot and creepiness (I’m looking at you Control – nothing creepier than marionette puppets.)
The collection offers stories set in the past, such as the Lost Souls, which takes place on a German U-boat during WWII. While others were set in a future that feels dystopian, such as The New Law – a story about a lady who has been sentenced to pay for a crime she committed. But there are some also set in the present, or what at least feels like the present, such as The Rain, a story that opens with a couple of detectives arriving at a murder scene, but where the victim may not necessarily be an upstanding citizen.
Although, all the stories have a basis in some type or creepiness or horror-related theme, what I also found intriguing is how several of them also have philosophical-related or social commentary-related themes that are thought-provoking and leave room for discussion. For example, what penalty is the correct penalty for certain types of crimes? Is ‘benevolent dictatorship’ a dream someone should have? But no story more envelopes this moreso than The Eye of the Storm where the main character ends the story wondering if the ‘nature of mankind’ can be changed.
Overall, it was a nice collection of short stories. Perfect for the fall season or when you just want a bit of creepiness and unease when reading at night – right before trying to fall asleep.
Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours for the reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.
Jeff has a long history of technical writing, which oddly enough, often reads like pure fiction. He is well-known for being unnoticed in the literary field. In addition to his two books, The Captivating Flames of Madness and Algorithm of Nightmares, he is published in SNM Horror Magazine, Bonded by Blood IV/ V, The Horror Zine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Dystopia Utopia Short Stories, Wax & Wane: A Coven of Witch Tales, Thinking Through Our Fingers, The Moving Finger Writes, Golden Prose & Poetry, Our Dance With Words, The Voices Within, Fireburst – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Second Flash Fiction Anthology 2018, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 4. For more propaganda, visit his author page at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJeffParsons/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.