Author: Tamel Wino
A quick read, Ékleipsis has five short stories that are easy to read and hard to put down. The book is a collection of short stories that tests the boundaries of human desire and perversion. The stories follow different characters in different circumstances that seem ordinary on the surface but are full of deep, dark secrets.
Readers will be sucked into the short story collection right away. The opening story, “The Other Son” follows shy, meek Douglas. Stuck in an unfulfilling job, Douglas doesn’t have much excitement in his life. Or does he? Wino masterfully describes emotion in “The Other Son,” specifically when portraying the visceral anguish and embarrassment Douglas feels from being a target of workplace harassment. The steady pacing, eerie setting, and shocking ending make this the most memorable story in the collection.
The second short story, “Closing Costs” is the second strongest story in the collection. With tension that is palpable and graphic descriptions, readers will be kept on the edge of their seats as they watch the story unravel and take one twisted turn after another. This story in particular is full of vivid imagery that will immediately give readers the creeps.
The last few stories read more like psychological thrillers than horror. These stories are more subtle in their horror qualities, but are suspenseful and thrilling, nonetheless. Though well-written, the differences in genre affect the book’s cohesiveness. Wino plays with familiar circumstances to drive provocative, disturbing outcomes, and some of the stories would have benefited from higher stakes and more provocative circumstances to create a bigger impact.
In “When in Doubt”, Blake has just returned home from deployment and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his experiences in the military. Unfortunately, the “buildup” dominated the story overall, and the climax wasn’t given the time or space needed to have a shock factor. In addition, Blake’s violent, erratic behaviors portray a problematic view of PTSD. Incorporating PTSD can be effective for character-building, but it doesn’t quite work as a scare tactic on its own.
The book’s strongest quality is its versatility. Each story has a different atmosphere and focuses on a different aspect of the human psyche. The stories act as a character study, in a sense. Each of the main characters are deeply flawed, and their shortcomings and difficult histories are what make them interesting, relatable, and complex. In addition, because every story feels unique, the plot twists and suspense are even more impactful.
The title of the book is curious and never comes up in any of the short stories themselves. Though it is a seemingly small detail, clarifying what “ékleipsis” means and how it ties into the book’s theme would have created a stronger link between the stories.
Ékleipsis is the collection of short horror stories that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. These familiar, yet disturbing stories reflect the thoughts that linger in the darkest corner of our minds and reveal how destructive some become when they allow their vices to take over. Provocative, clever characters lead these unpredictable, suspenseful short stories that lovers of horror will revel at.
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