BLEEDTHROUGH AND OTHER SMALL HORRORS
Scarlett R. Algee

Cold War Radio Press (May 26, 2020)
Reviewed by Ray Palen

Above all other genres, there has always been a special place for short fiction collections that are set in the Horror realm.  We have immortal collections from names like Poe, Lovecraft, Blackwood, and Machen to turn to.  Then we have contemporary classics like NIGHT SHIFT from Stephen King and THE BOOKS OF BLOOD from Clive Barker.  There are fans who can argue that they enjoy King and Barker’s short fiction better than their long-form horror novels.

Author Scarlett R. Algee will feel great seeing her name mentioned alongside these masters of Horror, but what I saw in her short horror collection entitled BLEEDTHROUGH AND OTHER SMALL HORRORS tells me she has been paying attention and fully understands the power of this format.  What I enjoyed most while reading this collection is the economy of words that Algee has truly learned how to utilize in her favor.

There were many highlights for me in this collection, some as brief as a few paragraphs in length, and I will point out just a few for the purpose of this review:

  • “Half-Past” – an elderly couple struggle to work against time and human nature to battle the hand of death
  • “Zero Hour” – another tale with time as a metaphor for the title about a young woman who wakes up after battling an illness to find a worse condition awaiting her
  • “And Drown Melancholy” – Charlotte is dealing with migraine of all migraines that have brought about an unquenchable thirst
  • “Little Reaper” – imagine trick-or-treating on the street where Death herself lives
  • “Inhale, Exhale” – a character wakes up lashed and bound by stakes, breathing and breathing out waiting for what comes next

Treats abound in this collection and each story, regardless of how short, provides images that will play in the reader’s mind well after the final word is read.  I look forward to what Algee does next.