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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dark Blessings: A Collection by John Paul Allen_Review

The initial story, “Pit Stop at Hoo Hoo Hollow,” chilled me-unexpectedly. So much the better, since the “scare” (aka “the yuck element”) wasn’t telegraphed. Kind of glad I no longer drive around those particular mountainous regions, looking for a place to refuel. This was a very different perspective, far from the routine and overdone “backwoods” approach so often seen and read. Very well attuned! But the chills don’t stop after the first story-oh, no! Every single entry in this collection is very well-written, very perceptive about peeling away that sheer veneer of civilization, and aptly introduced by real-life events that have served as inspiration. For example, I found “Hello Neighbor” every iota as chilling-perhaps more so-than the unexpected frights of “Pit Stop at Hoo Hoo Hollow.” This collection also contains the popular “House Guest” and the equally disturbing and thought-provoking “Weeping Mary,” a tale I’m not likely to forget.

One persistent thought that I come away is that the author, John Paul Allen, simply sets these concepts before the reader, and lets the reader discern what to make of each one. There’s no over-inflated attempt to convince, or convict, or sway the reader’s beliefs or attention. He simply says: “Look, this is how I found this situation. Now you, reader, decide for yourself.” I found myself pausing during and between each story, letting the prior story settle into my recollection, before moving on. Although I read this in one sitting, I would recommend not doing so: take your time, take it easy, read a story at a time. Then let that story grow on you-fill your thoughts and inspire your dreams.

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