TWISTED: TAINTED TALES – by Janine Pipe
Publisher: Pipe Screams Press
Available: May 2021
Verdict: 4.25 out of 5.0
Overview: Jill has been tasked with clearing out an abandoned house. Inside, she discovers an 80’s mixtape and a locked desk drawer of papers. With these discoveries comes a collection of stories, all horrific in their own way.
The Good: Janine has sharpened this debut collection with an entertaining framing device. Each story begins with an introduction of sorts from Jill, who is a character that has stumbled upon these tales inside an abandoned house she’s clearing. This formatting was like a dash of spice to an already tasty collection. Twisted is also varied in its content and levels of shock; inside, you’ll find monsters, cannibals, ghosts, hungry trees (that’s right!), and more. Some of it is extreme, and has earned Janine recognition in the splatterpunk community. Some of it is more atmospheric than bloody, bringing to mind the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series many of us grew up reading. Perhaps best of all is Janine’s actual writing – she’s a natural storyteller. Her narratives are easy, entertaining, and electric.
The Bad: A couple stories had some uneven pacing or abrupt endings.
The Takeaway: Twisted will make you feel young again as you re-discover the many facets horror has to offer. You’ll laugh, love, and scream! This is damn good fun.
> File Under: ghosts … monsters … supernatural … splatterpunk … bizarro horror … horror … short stories … coming of age horror
> Also Read: Though this is Janine’s debut solo release, she has also appeared in various anthologies, including 25 Gates of Hell.
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> Aiden’s scoring system – (5) Perfection (4) Loved it (3) Enjoyed it (2) Disliked it (1) Hard pass / Aiden generally will not write a review for anything that scores lower than a (3) in his mind / DNF means “Did Not Finish” – this could be because of the writing, scheduling conflicts, lack of interest, or content; it does not necessarily mean the book was terrible