4 out of 4 stars
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As the name suggests, Bloody Gullets, is not for the faint of heart. Author Michael Golvach has created a collection of 18 short stories, mostly psychological thrillers, almost all of which include a little blood and gore. Each of the 18 stories focus on different subjects and different characters, but almost all stories explore different aspects of the human psyche. Themes touched upon in Golvach’s stories include dark humor, loathsome characters, unreliable narrators, questioning of reality, and the blurred lines of right and wrong.
My favorite part about this collection was that each story was disturbingly thought provoking. Even the shortest stories, some of which are only a few pages, made me question the definitions of sanity, reality, and power, to name a few. For instance, one very short story, “Object Lesson”, asks the reader to question the true definition of a role model by introducing a contemptible narrator, who through acts of violence becomes an unlikely role model. Another of my favorite stories, “Believer”, explores the concept of mind control and the possible power one can have over an abuser. These stories, along with many others, made Bloody Gullets an intriguing and enjoyable read.
I appreciated that the author’s prose was engaging and clearly demonstrated a strong command of language by creating beauty while describing unsavory subjects. Additionally, though many of the stories deal with murder and illegal acts, the author portrays each story in a way that makes you question who the bad guys really are. I also commend the author for putting a new spin on plot devices we’ve read before. For example, the story “Small Deaths” follows a man that wakes up everyday with little to no memory of who he is, relying solely on the scribbles on a bookmark to get him through the day. Although, this may sound familiar, by creating a character driven story, Golvach paints a picture that is not only different but also humorous and poignant.
My only criticism of Bloody Gullets was that the narrators in some stories were a bit repetitive and therefore, were not memorable. Although we never met the same character in any of the 18 stories, a few times I felt as though I was reading from the same point of view. While this is not entirely a bad thing, the repetitiveness took away from the element of surprise as I felt I already understood the character and could foresee the decisions that would be made.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. Despite my small criticism, all 18 stories in this collection are well written, provocative reads, many of which I will read again. Fans of horror, thrillers, and thought provoking writing will find the stories in Bloody Gullets enticing and engrossing. I caution readers that there are scenes of violence and gore throughout many of the stories and for that reason this book may not be the right fit for all.
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