Broken Mirrors Fractured Minds, edited by Carmilla Voiez was published in 2013. Here is my review which was originally posted on www.ingridhall.com on 12 November 2013.
About the Author
Carmilla Voiez is an exciting new horror writer whose work often tackles taboo subjects from a distinctly female perspective. She is the winner of the Horror Author of the year 2013 for her first novel Starblood. In this anthology of horror, published by Vamptasy, she brings together 21 talented horror writers, poets and artists from both sides of the Atlantic to create a unique collection of darkly disturbing tales.
Broken Mirrors Fractured Minds edited by Carmilla Voiez
This is a great little collection of thoroughly disturbing tales, poetry and art. Less Twilight and more Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft. A boon for horror fans fed up with mopey werewolves and angst ridden teen-vampires that have seemed to dominate the supernatural fiction market for so long. These works grab you by the throat and take no prisoners – exploring the dark labyrinths of disturbed or damaged minds and tackling some very distressing subjects head on. Murder, psychosis, child abuse and self-harm all form part of subject matter for these well executed short stories and poems. The written horror is accentuated by the beautifully deranged art work whose tortured figures seem to illustrate the inner worlds of the stories and poems.
Because this collection contains the work of 21 writers and artists it would be impossible for me to do justice to each one of them, so I will select a few of my favourites.
The first story that grabbed me, was ‘Just a Kiss Away’ by Jef with One F. This is the tale of a man adrift after a divorce. His dislocation from real-life and his growing obsession with a lap dancer called Dolly are explored. One of the most exceptional things about this story was the character Dolly, who could be viewed simply as a disturbing incarnation of woman as sex-object, but came across as an individual despite her extrordinary disability. That the author can make Dolly a believable character and persuade the reader to suspend disbelief is surely a sign of what an exceptional writer he is.
The next story that I particularly enjoyed was ‘Wand Therapy’ by Fred McGavran which was a terrifying and gory exploration of the deranged world of a Halcion popping retiree and the power he feels resides in a mysterious crystal wand purchased by his wife. ‘Mouse and Katt’ by John Tucker was another story that particularly stood out for me as it created two dysfunctional but ultimately likeable protagonists in the story of an abused runaway hitching a ride with a strange travelling salesman – neither one quite sure who will be victim, who the killer. The wonderfully Poe-esque prose of ‘Rainier Dreams’ by Marten Hoyle and ‘The Changeling’ a deliciously seductive tale by Carmilla Voiez were also stand out stories.
The poems were just as shocking and intense as the prose. The angry intimacy of First Therapy by Nelson Mongiovi was a very powerful insight into the aftermath of abuse while the concise elegance of Life and Deathtrip by Stefy Janeva was darkly beautiful.
As I said, it would be impossible to do justice to every writer, poet and artist in the collection. I thoroughly enjoyed (and was disturbed) by most of the works in this collection, every piece was well executed. Some of the stories stayed with me well after I finished reading them, and I will definitely be re-reading this collection and seeking out further works by the featured writers and artists.