Saturday, July 7, 2018

Review: Waking the Dead - by Kelli Owen

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Waking the Dead is a collection of four novellas from Kelli Owen, all dealing with death, graveyards, and ghosts in one way or another.  The result is a novel-length book which just might keep you up at night or even contribute to a nightmare or two.

Buried Memories - Hypnosis and a desire to quit smoking lead to dreams and a sibling Ben has completely forgotten.

"She's real. She's important.  I've had similar dreams all centered around this Becca person in various activities, all since I began the hypnosis."

A beautiful story which poses several fascinating, "What if?" questions.

Survivor's Guilt - The story of one man's unique way of providing for his family.  It's difficult to go into much detail here without major spoilers.  I'll just share this great opening paragraph, it hooked me.

"My grave is empty.  I'm not a vampire or zombie or some other form of the undead.  I'm not undead at all.  Matter of fact, I'm not dead.  I never was.  But the woman and girl, standing in front of the headstone etched with a name I no longer use, thinks I was--or rather, I am."

What follows is a remarkable story with not one, but two unexpected twists from a writer whose work I truly admire, a writer with wonderful descriptive skills with an eye for detail.

Survivor's Guilt is original, daring, gripping and even made me shed a tear.

Grave Wax - George Morey has been digging graves in Neillsville for nearly sixty years.  When he gets a second chance at love, with his first love, he wants it to last.  Not just forever, but for eternity.

Unfortunately, his wife, Rose, is battling both Alzheimer's and Cancer.

I really enjoyed the love story woven into this novella.  It actually moved me to tears.  I know how weird that sounds.  This big guy who loves everything horror and you throw in a love story and he cries like a little girl.

Don't get me wrong, Grave Wax is more than a love story, after all, this is a Kelli Owen book, so you know there's going to be a twist, and it's a good one.

Crossroads - A Ouiji board in a graveyard, at midnight, and a plan for revenge.  What could go wrong?  Typical teenaged shenanigans and wonderful dialog from a writer who has a feel for what young people can get up to in the dark...other than the obvious.

"Seriously, I saw this movie—it didn't end well."

If you've not been reading Kelli Owen, Waking the Dead is a great chance to get acquainted.  If you're already a fan of Kelli's work and missed any of these novellas, here's your chance to get caught up.

Waking the Dead was originally a limited edition hardcover from the fine folks at Thunderstorm Books, but is now available as an e-book so everyone can enjoy Kelli's work.

From the author's bio - Born and raised in Wisconsin, Kelli Owen now lives in Destination, Pennsylvania.  She has attended countless writing conventions, participated on dozens of panels and has spoken at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA regarding both her writing and the field in general.  Her fiction leans toward thriller and quiet horror, with an occasional bloodbath and even rarer happy ending.  If you're looking for something novel-length from Kelli, you can't go wrong with my personal favorite, White Picket Prisons.

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