Last Month, I reviewed a fresh, promising face in the horror genre. Well, she’s back with the third installment of her “Saico Chronicles“, and I caught a peek at what’s looking to be the evolution of a great writer. As with the last two publications, Doerfler presents 3 short stories, and a chapter of her serial novel “Black and White“. This time, she’s using her skills to keep the reader on their toes, while still honing her craft at the same time.
A collection of short stories to chill you to the bone and curdle your blood. Includes “The Hunted,” “Paparazzi,” “The Longest Day Of The Year,” and the third installment of the Kindle exclusive, “Black & White.”
DT-Note – As with the last review, I have yet to read the first installment to Black & White, and will not include it in the review but to say that it has somewhat of a Gagliani/Ketchum feel to it so far. Which, to me, is a very good sign.
With The Hunted, Doerfler showcases her innate skills at fleshing out great scenes through detailed descriptions and character interaction. The N.I.G.H.T. (a clever acronym of all of the main characters’ names) urban exploration group travels to a dilapidated and, from what they understand, abandoned house in order to check out its interior. They come face to face with some incredibly gruesome scenes, and end up in much more trouble than they bargained for. Doerfler doesn’t shy away from the gore in this tale, making known her love of body horror and hinting at a more extreme side of her writing that wasn’t all too present before. This is a great kickoff story, and a hell of a lot of fun.
The second story, Paparazzi, sees the star of a popular horror film franchise, Cain Dennison, facing the problems that come with the territory of having an obsessed fan, and reveal themselves to be far more terrifying than the films he creates could ever be. I’m sure Doerfler wouldn’t deny, at all, that there is a heavy nod to Kane Hodder and his legendary portrayal of Jason Voorhees in the Friday The 13th series of films, in this story. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this could very well come from the diary of any stuntman/actor in the horror business that gains recognition. In what is probably the shortest story of the bunch, Doerfler showcases her own fandom through the eyes of her main character, and describes the convention scene to a “T”. My only issue with this is the completely abrupt ending, but I can fully acknowledge the purpose it serves in terms of staying faithful to the 80’s horror movie style.
The story is fast paced, interesting, and well laid out, and the characters are intriguing. While not the best in the collection, it still serves as proof that the author is on top of her game, and capable of switching styles at the drop of a hat, without losing her flow.
The last story up is The Longest Day Of The Year – a tale that, in my opinion, is laid out beautifully, and sits as one of the strongest that I’ve read by this author. It’s short, quick, and feels a bit claustrophobic at times… in a good way. This one reminded me of Brian Keene, Richard Laymon, and Max Brooks, in that the author is able to create a space in time where nothing else matters but the situation at hand. Doerfler has a great ability to actually take the reader out of where they are, plunk them right down in the middle of the story, and completely throw reality out the window. The darkness she describes is palpable, the fear in the characters’ lives is real, and the style in which she writes is incredibly effective. A great end to the little collection.
Doerfler really does have her head screwed on right and seems to be making motions towards a more interesting direction in her writing. At this point, I’m eagerly awaiting her first chap, novella or novel length work, and know that when she gets there, she’s have this gig tuned tighter than a piano wire.
The author has also released all of the short story collections in one bundle, under the title The Saico Chronicles, which is available here. From Blood and Brain is available at Amazon and other online book retailers.