Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Carvings Collection: A selection of stories from the crinkled mind of Drake Vaughn

3.5 of 5 Stars    Review Copy

A little over a year ago, I read and reviewed The Zombie Generation  by Drake Vaughn. A different take on zombies and worth a look.

This time it's a collection of 10 stories on a wide range of subject matter.  No two have any similarities except for one.  They all seem to lack an ending.  True, this is a fairly common literary device where the outcome is left to the reader to imagine, but as a steady diet, it's less than palatable.

Drake is apt at developing some original stories and at fleshing out characters, but when it comes to closure, it's just not there.

The collection started, promisingly enough, with "Dolls."  Evil doll comes to life, talks to little Ella.  Creepy, in a Child's Play kind of way.  Plus it was told from the child's point of view, which I found entertaining.  But, then it ended.  It was a natural place to end, but so much was left unresolved.

On to the next story, "Driver's Seat."  A protagonist, named Minji, who has Amaxophobia. She's afraid of cars.  In the telling of the tale, we learn the root cause of that fear and I'm finding the story interesting...and then it ends with much left untold.

There's a pattern developing and for most of the book the pattern is consistent.  Great story, original concept, but with a vague or abrupt ending.

Some stories are better than others, for example, "In the Chair."   A novelette length tale, disturbing and cringe-worthy, is about a man forced to remain in a chair for days on end as punishment for allowing his mother to die in a similar manner.

"Tests," was another longer short story that held my interest.  Just a taste of horror, more of a coming of age story and one of the stronger entries in the collection.

"Trip to V-Town" is an interesting take on prejudice as seen through a treatment on vampires or piners as they're refered to in the story.

At the end is "Flatheads." For me, this was the most complete story of the bunch.  A futurustic tale where people are surviving in high-rise apartments above flood levels and water is both a danger and a precious commodity.

In all, I found The Carvings Collection to be entertaining and unfulfilling at the same time. The stories were good enough to grab my interest and keep me reading, but each one left me wanting more.

The Carvings Collection is available now, through, for the Kindle and is FREE if you subscribe to Amazon Prime and want to make it your current selection in the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

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