There are parts in Nicholas Day’s horror story collection, NOW THAT WE’RE ALONE, that will make readers reluctant to turn off the lights. Don’t take that lightly; when Day’s book gets scary, it gets scary. But there are also parts that are downright laugh-aloud funny. And sometimes the only way to get past the fright is because Day relieves the tension with just enough twisted, laugh-despite-yourself humor.
The collection begins with a story entitled “This Is Why Johnny Is In Therapy Now,” a nursery-ryhmish drabble about a boy who “accidentally” shoots his friend. It’s stomach churning stuff, and it speaks volumes about the writer’s skill that he was able to do so much with a story that takes up only two-thirds of a page. It’s short, but it admirably sets the tone of the book—death, gore, and repulsive humor. It’s easy to get so involved in the gory narrative that it’s only when checking back to read the title that it gets the laugh it deserves.
A favorite story is “Beast Mode,” although “Chomp Chomp” (which is sort of about a giant turtle and sort of about how we discount our childhood experiences) and “Jacks” (reminiscent of The Conjuring, but different) can be considered runners-up. “Beast Mode” is, well…romantic. It features a sweet, African-American couple in a love-conquers-all sort of story, with the “all” being a gang of redneck human traffickers. Just the way the couple is willing to slaughter their enemies in a violent bloodbath for the sake of love is both disturbing and heartwarming.
There are relatively few errors in book. One or two misspellings, a few bizarre punctuation or phrasing choices are the extent of the technical weaknesses, and the stories are compelling and bizarre enough to make one overlook these minor issues.
NOW THAT WE’RE ALONE is a darkly humorous blend of death, gore, and terror, featuring oddly relatable characters in horribly normal situations. The story collection is interesting, quirky, disgusting, and scary—with enough of a unique voice and approach to set it apart from other horror novels and short story collections.
~Kathy Teel for Indie Reader