Having previously read Julie Morrigan’s short stories various places online, I was quite pleased when she offered her first collection, the outstanding Gone Bad, earlier this year. So imagine my excitement when a mere months later – with a novel, Convictions in the interim – Morrigan released yet another collection, The Writing on the Wall.
Featuring six short stories and a novelette, The Writing on the Wall proves that Morrigan is both a talented and versatile author, one who inhabits her short stories as comfortably as a second skin.
“Shadow Man” takes an already terrifying experience, sleep paralysis, and pushes the concept even farther. Those who experience sleep paralysis vividly experience as waking hallucinations things people normally only encounter in their dreams. But what if what you were encountering was neither a hallucination nor dream, but real?
“The Black Dog” demonstrates that while reading may be both fundamental and fun, some books are more powerful than others. Far more.
In “Chocolate Button Eyes” a man out on a date gets a bit more than he was expecting when he’s invited back around to his date’s place for an after dinner drink. “Lust makes men stupid and I’m thankful for the fact.” Guys, this one will make you reconsider just who’s about to get lucky when you go home with a woman you barely know.
“So Many Summers” is a bittersweet story about loss, and what both the departed and those left behind need to do in order to move on.
Ever felt like life was out of your control? That your path was predestined? “The Project” explores the idea that things really are controlled by “the man upstairs” – only he’s not who you think he is.
“Seasons Of The Witch” is a bit of a modern day fairy tale, in which a witch searches for perfect love. But is she a good witch or a bad one, and is perfect love really attainable… even with spells and potions?
The novelette “The Writing On The Wall” is an edge of your seat thriller/horror mix that brings to mind movies like “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” After coming home from seeing a bad horror movie a group of friends decide to act out the “curse” which was featured in the film. Much to their horror, the following morning they realize the curse is not only real, but they’ve placed it on themselves. Now, one by one, each member of the group has only as many days left to live as the number of letters in their name. First Ann, then Ian… will Beth (“…blessed as she was with the gloriously long name of Elizabeth.”) be able to figure out a way to lift the curse before it reaches her?
And as if Morrigan’s stories alone weren’t enough – though they are, trust me – there is a bonus short included. In “Frigid Air” by Steven Miscandlon, who also happens to be the collection’s editor and cover designer, a young man finds out that the dirt-cheap rent might not have been worth the tradeoff when he moves into The Murder House, the former residence of a notorious serial killer. Wicked, dark humor abounds.
The short story collection is clearly enjoying a resurgence these days, and The Writing on the Wall is definitely one you should add to your collection.