Reviews of Dark Fiction

Spontaneous Human Combustion by Richard Thomas

Being that I am pressed for time, I will try to keep this review brief. SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION is an excellent collection of stories and well worth your time!

Richard Thomas is a new to me author, though I’ve seen him around on Goodreads and other social media. It’s always fun to read a new author. If I like their work, it’s fun to go back and see what else they’ve written and that’s what I plan to do.

I read a lot of collections and anthologies. As with most, there were some stories that didn’t work all that well for me, but looking at my notes indicates that most of them DID. I especially liked REPENT, BATTLE NOT WITH MONSTERS, NODUS TOLLENS, (Flip that coin!), OPEN WATERS, (a tale of virtual reality), and the Lovecraftian entry IN HIS HOUSE. These stories showed an ability to write in all kinds of genres, (though almost all of them dark), and an incredible imagination along with the skills to get everything down in a way that intrigues the reader and leaving them wanting more.

The tales here are followed by a section of Endnotes, wherein Mr. Thomas gives us a snippets about the stories and how they came about. I absolutely loved reading these and read each one after I finished the stories, (because sometimes Endnotes can be spoiler-y.) It makes me feel somehow special knowing the history behind a tale and how it came about.

Overall, SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION captured my attention and even though I was reading novels in between stories, I always felt the urge to go back and continuing reading these instead. For that reason, I’m giving this collection 4 stars and I am off to find other Richard Thomas books to add to my already massive TBR pile.

Highly recommended!

Thank you to Turner Publishing for the paperback ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!

Spontaneous Human Combustion Book Cover Spontaneous Human Combustion
Richard Thomas
Horror, Short Stories, Literary Horror, Dark Fiction
Turner Publications
02/22/2022
Paperback
236
Publisher

With a Foreword by Brian Evenson

In this new collection, Richard Thomas has crafted fourteen stories that push the boundaries of dark fiction in an intoxicating, piercing blend of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Equally provocative and profound, each story is masterfully woven with transgressive themes that burrow beneath the skin.

A poker game yields a strange prize that haunts one man, his game of chance now turned into a life-or-death coin flip.

A set of twins find they have mysterious new powers when an asteroid crashes in a field near their house, and the decisions they make create an uneasy balance.

A fantasy world is filled with one man’s desire to feel whole again, finally finding love, only to have the shocking truth of his life exposed in an appalling twist.

A father and son work slave labor in a brave new world run by aliens and mount a rebellion that may end up freeing them all.

A clown takes off his make-up in a gloomy basement to reveal something more horrifying under the white, tacky skin.

Powerful and haunting, Thomas’ transportive collection dares you to examine what lies in the darkest, most twisted corners of human existence and not be transformed by what you find.

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