5 out of 5 stars
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Life is not always rainbows and butterflies. Happily ever after is for fairy tale stories we read in our childhood. In Kevin Vodden’s book, Disarrhoea, six short stories leave the unknown to the reader’s imagination.
The first story is “Disarrhoea.” This piece features a man writing a journal account as a pandemic sweeps the nation. The second is “Fearground.” Narration by a carnival’s ringmaster prompts people through their nightmarish rides. The third story, “Terror Perisscolosa,” presents a group of scientists exploring a new planet for colonization. Story four, "Matryoshka Loop,” involves an explorer sacrificing his safety for his colleagues to escape. “Eat Thy Neighbor” is the fifth piece, where a reality show’s contestant is debating if she made a mistake by entering the contest. The last story of this anthology is “Where Credit’s Due.” The tale has a dog and cat thanking every human for creating a comfortable life.
This anthology involves some morbid concepts. For instance, one story stood out with its dark humor. “Fearground” was extremely vivid with the ringmaster’s depiction of each ride. Even riding the train between tents was dangerous. Despite the darkness of the story, I could laugh at the dry humor. My favorite expression was his response when a woman asked if her children would be safe. His response: “I can assure you, madam, they couldn’t be safer if they were snuggled up inside the belly of an anaconda.” If I were the woman, I would have noticed the red flag. Add in the clown's name, Diabolico, and I question the sanity of the people who entered the carnival.
“Disarrhoea” and “Fearground” were my favorite stories in the book. The end of “Disarrhoea” fascinated me. I tried picturing the struggle to stay alive in a deteriorating world. “Fearground” was funny to me, even though it involved death and mild gore. This book appears exceptionally edited. It impressed me when I only found two minor instances of mild profanity in the entire anthology.
Disarrhoea deserves a rating of five out of five stars. The details, imagination, and transitioning scenes are excellent in each story. I would classify this book in the horror story genre. I didn’t deduct a star for the errors, as they didn’t impede the flow of the stories.
The content in this book is adult-level only. It would traumatize children thinking of the topics of each story. “Eat Thy Neighbor” even made me nauseous, and I don’t have a weak stomach. If you can handle blood, violence, and gruesome death in great detail, then this book has it all. Readers who like dark horror will enjoy this book.
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