Along the Splintered Path is a collection of three short stories by A.J, Brown. The Woodshed is the first story in the collection, and it is a rather gruesome opening. It is told in the first person and starts with the main character remembering parts of his childhood where he and his brother suffered horrific abuse from their father. The two brothers eventually return to their childhood home to confront their past. ‘Round These Bones is a story of a man who is injured in a roadside accident and must seek shelter, as there is no one around and he has no way of getting help. The hut he finds himself in has evidence of what people are capable of when they become desperate enough. The third and final story is Phillip’s Story, and this one is a bit different than the first two. There are two separate plots that are running through this one that converge to explain how Phillip, a homeless man, finds a large amount of cash. It is what he does with this money that is at the heart of this story.
These are three very character driven stories that are meant to deliver a big emotional impact; for me, however, they fell a bit short of that. I didn’t find myself drawn into each of the stories enough to develop any empathy for the characters and their various plights. Having said that, there is enough gruesomeness to satisfy any reader who is looking for a gory read.