Book Review: Behind Dark Doors, Susan May (2014)

May 23rd, 2014 12:58 pm by mad mags

“The War Veteran” stands out…

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaways program.)

Susan May’s Behind Dark Doors is a collection of six short (most of them very short!) stories of suspense and horror:

“Hell’s Kitchen” – Game show contestant Gordon (named after Gordon Ramsey, natch) isn’t just competing for his own cooking show – but for his very life komoot herunterladen funktioniert nicht. (Hint: You don’t want to know what’s in the beef bourguignon.)

“Mitigating Circumstances” – Mom doesn’t want to hear that her delicious little baby boy Ben is a bully herunterladen. But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

“I Hate Emma Carter” – When popular girl Angela bullies newcomer Emma, her hatred threatens to consume her netflix in foreign on german.

“Do Us Part” – An unexpected revelation on the eve of a couple’s 70th wedding anniversary triggers a meltdown in one of the unhappy spouses.

“It’s in the Genes” – A woman unwittingly discovers that it’s not fishes her husband Karl and son Brandon are hunting during their twice-weekly fishing trips.

“The War Veteran” – Haunted by a single act of cowardice committed some 70 years ago, a WWII vet’s fugue state hallucinations come alive to offer him a chance at redemption.

There’s no shortage of gore (picture oozing, puss-filled black sores and heads blown apart like rotting cantaloupes), but I found the promised twists, turns, and irony a little harder to come by. With the exception of “The War Veteran,” I could tell where the stories were going pretty early on – usually by the end of the intro. (Each story is prefaced by an introduction and followed by a segment called “From the Imagination Vault,” which offers a glimpse of the story behind the story. Plus the book itself begins with a brief, one-sentence summary of each piece. The introductory matter feels like overkill and often gives too much of the plot away.)

“It’s in the Genes,” for example, is reminiscent of Stephen King’s “A Good Marriage” (coming soon to a big screen near you!) – but without the psychological tension and element of revenge that ultimately makes it such a satisfying tale. Otherwise, what do you have? (Answer: misogyny for misogyny’s sake.) I mean, are we really to believe that the narrator continues living with two serial killers of women, provided they just knock it off already?

“The War Veteran” is my favorite of the bunch, which is kind of funny as it’s the longest (it alone accounts for 39% of the book). It feels much more developed and fleshed out than some of the shorter stories, and the extended flashback scenes offer some idea of what it must be like to live with PTSD. Of all the characters, I felt the most compassion and empathy for Baker.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , ,

One Response to “Book Review: Behind Dark Doors, Susan May (2014)”

  1. fuck yeah reading: 2014 books » vegan daemon Says:

    […] Behind Dark Doors: Six Suspenseful Short Stories by Susan May (2014); reviewed here […]

Leave a Reply