Sometimes, and I must stress that it is only sometimes, a nicely worded and polite email asking for a review will tip the balance. Black Mirrors by Paul Edwards is one of those books that slipped past my defences and got itself a place in my review pile. And I am glad it did. This is an extremely good collection of 14 short stories that covers a number of styles and themes, which showcase writer with a great deal of talent. All of the stories are linked by a central theme of mirrors, and reflections.
I'll admit I had never heard of Paul prior to reading this collection, as it turns out he has been writing horror for a number of years and all but two of these stories are reprints, not that that should put you off as this a collection that you really should check out. A lot of these short stories could almost be classed as flash fiction, the are short, sharp, and pack a hell of a punch.
Black Mirror, Mirror Black is the first story and boy does it do it's job perfectly. This is a chilling and creepy story that reaffirms my belief that all clowns, midgets and travelling fairs should be locked up and have the key thrown away. I used to not like looking in a mirror, and this story makes me want to take every mirror in my house down.
Other highlights of this collection are End of the Line, where a man's terrible and shocking secret comes back to haunt him. "Clickety - clack goes the wheels on the track ", every time I read that line I was reminded of the playground chant that plays through the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. This was a perfect example of how Edwards can make a seemingly innocent line, turn into one full of menace.
The Foundling is a wonderfully twisted little story where two old spinsters find a terrible hungry little baby on their doorstep.
If I was pushed to select one story as a favourite then I would probably have to go with Bleeders. This is a sparse tale that deals with the problems and emotions that those who go through self harm go through. Edwards expertly melds what is a deeply emotional story perfectly with the supernatural. A bleak and powerful story t
Based on the strength of this collection, Paul Edwards is a author who I will most definatly be on the look out for in the future.