‘The Day Death Wore Boots’, published by Alfie Dog Fiction, is a mixed bag of stories by authors with varying degrees of writing abilities. The tone of the book ranges from winsome and funny to dark and brooding, whist some of the tales are, quite frankly, bizarre. There are ghosts who need closure, ghosts who demand justice, and others who require an expiry date as seen in the amusing story of a mass haunting in ‘Borrowed Time’, by Angela Pickering.
Unfortunately, not all of the stories are that well written with a few presenting weak plots, as well as a need for brevity. However, ‘The Passing of Mrs Parker Woodburn — A Completely Unsurprising Story’, by E. J. Lamprey, is not one of these. The narrative builds in pace and tension, maintaining the reader’s interest with more than a modicum of humour and ending in a surprising turn of events, quite unlike the original premise purported in the title.
Although this book is supposed to be a collection of ghost stories, the only truly menacing story is that of Deborah Sheldon’s ‘Fair-haired Boy’, detailing a traumatic visitation by a spirit seeking revenge after a short life of abuse.
Probably the most original offering in the book is the eponymously named ‘The Day Death Wore Boots’, by Dorothy Davies, the subject matter of which is enough to give any model toy fanatic second thoughts about creating their own fantasy world.
I’d be lying if I said this book captivated or ‘haunted’ me, let down as it is by some whimsical and tedious stories. There is evidence to suggest that the familiar writing advice to ‘show, don’t tell’ is lacking in a few: I want to picture the scene in my imagination; not have the protagonist spell it out and tell me how I should be feeling. That said, there are others that make up the shortfall by providing a most enjoyable read.
Julie Lees 17/5/15
As a long-standing lover of ghost stories I enjoyed reading this collection. The stories are varied: there are stories that will unnerve you and stories that will make you laugh. Unfortunately, there are a small number of stories that will disappoint. Some stories end with a whimper rather than a bang whereas others start with a whimper! First rule of short-story writing: grab your reader’s attention from the first sentence.
The stories that disappointed are the reason for four stars rather than five. Nonetheless, I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who enjoys ghost stories.
Mark Syder 19/4/15
You can buy the collection HEREby