This is a great little selection of short stories by Stuart Young who gives a a broad stroke to those sides of human nature we like to think don’t exist and also giving a religious tale a spin in the wrong direction. So without further ado, here are the dark stories that Stuart Young cooked up for our enjoyment.
The Mask Behind The Face.
With our main character Craig suffering with Pick’s disease that changes his behavior and attitudes, life becomes difficult for him and his family, especially when he sees god and the consequences of this meeting with the big man. Alright I have to admit this one didn’t shock me, I’m a little desensitized by my own view of religion which is no matter who you worship or which holy book you read from that people will interpret what it says to suit their own needs, wants and beliefs, yet this a good story which I still enjoyed reading in one sitting. It has a few comedy moments surrounding the Pick’s disease which will make you giggle or belly laugh depending on your sense of humour, either way you will find them amusing. The darker side to this tale sees Young explore a different angle to how the Almighty may see or not see humanity, its clever and I couldn’t help but feel impressed by his take on the subject.
The Death of Innocence.
This story plays on one human emotion that most of us would like to think we don’t have. We have all been there when paralysis of fear overwhelms us in the face of a pasting or threat of by superior numbers. How we deal with the aftermath of such an event is really a flip of the coin. Do you stand up and not let it affect your life or do you cower away fearing anyone who looks in your direction? The end is short and shocking leaving you mouthing “oh my God!”, or how I reacted with a sharp gasp of breath with hand over mouth. It’s just brilliant.
Daddy’s Little Girl.
The clue to this story is in the title. Its a great and clever (think I said that before!) piece of writing by Stuart Young, it’s one of those stories that you should really read quickly to finish it but you don’t; you read it slower and slower feeling incredibly disturbed. Its a dark and innocent tale without being graphic that leaves it to your own imagination to fill in the details.
Well played Stuart, well played! Give yourself a few minutes before reading the last story to allow the creepiness to wash over you.
Mr Nice Guy.
So this one doesn’t have the same shock and awe attached to it like the previous stories. What’s different about this is that Stuart subtly lets us into the secret as to why Alex’s ex girlfriends keep dropping like flies, leaving us (well, me anyway) screaming ”For crying out loud, wake up and smell the coffee man!”. The idiot just doesn’t see it. It’s a story which deals with that odd emotion we feel when someone we once were close to but haven’t seen in a long time passes away, sympathy and a twinge of guilt because you think you should feel more upset than what you are. Once again it’s an intelligent bit of writing. I’m looking forward to seeking out more works by Young after reading this collection.
Here’s the link to buy your own at Pendragon Press: