Best Horror Fiction of 2013 – STRINGS
Allison M. Dickson presents a chilling tale of entrapment and greed.
Do you have freedom?
Do you have control?
After four years of turning tricks in a mob-run New York brothel to pay off a debt, Nina is ready to go back to a quiet life in Iowa. Just one more client and the whole nightmare will be behind her, but this last trick turns into a battle for her soul. Meanwhile, the brothel’s sadistic Madam has been hiding away money in order to move up in her family’s organization, and she only wants the half million dollars the reclusive millionaire pays for the girls. But her driver Ramón has other ideas, making off with the money left behind when Nina’s last trick goes unexpectedly awry. The theft comes at a great cost to the Madam, setting off a horrific chain of events that changes them all.
The Hooker. The Driver. The Madam. All of them on a collision course to a place where only madness holds sway.
Who is pulling your Strings?
or as it has become known: “The Burrito Comparison”
It’s like a delicious King, Palahniuk, Coen Bros Burrito.
A terrifying roller-coaster of a story. Ms. Dickson does not hold back when it comes to pulling the curtain back on some of our worst fears, but despite the depravity, she also doesn’t linger gratuitously. While I was reading I couldn’t help but think of Palahniuk’s novel Invisible Monsters, or Aronofsky‘s film Requiem for a Dream – this novel has moments that I’d rather not experience again, but they are moments within a masterfully-told, gut-wrenching, wicked, wicked ride.
The three main characters have very few redeeming qualities and yet you still begin to care for them. You follow their separate but entangled journeys as they spiral further into the madness that is their lives, the roller-coaster never stops, and yet there is a smoothness to the violence – like a Coen brothers masterpiece.
I just can’t say enough about how well this book was written. I had to read it in only two sittings because I couldn’t stand to live in that nightmare any longer – and yet, as soon as I was done – granted I took a few breaths and paced the floor for a while – I wanted to go back in.
It’s sick and it’s twisted – and it’s one of the best pieces of horror fiction I’ve ever read. Congratulations to Hobbes End Publishing and Ms. Dickson – I believe you have a winner.
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MY OTHER AMD FAVORITES
These are some of my favorite short stories by Allison M. Dickson. All available on AMAZON. Most are usually $0.99. The Shiva Apparatus and Under the Scotch Broom can be found in the Endlands 2 anthology along with some other great stories by some very talented authors. If you enjoy discovering talented indie-authors and have a taste for The Twilight Zone you should definitely invest in that one. 15 Stories for $3.99 (At the time of posting)
With an astounding ability she likes to call the Switch, hospice volunteer Deb can take away a patient’s sickness for a whole day, allowing them to have one last good day before they die. But when she meets a remarkable woman named Agnes Winters, a deep kinship develops and Deb soon realizes that Agnes plans to use her good day to help the young woman’s own painful burden, and in a way no one could have expected.
“The Empathy of Agnes Winters” is a haunting novella with a touch of the supernatural. It is about the power of empathy, the value of friendship, and the bittersweet triumph second chances.
A hungry alien substance has traveled to Earth following a doomed Lunar mission, and it’s consuming everything it touches, leaving behind drifts of gray death. No life form stands a chance, but Clyde Jackson is tougher than most. He’s seen war and he’s been in plenty of foxholes. Now he’s living through the end of the world one day at a time in a panic room that has become his only refuge. It’s only a matter of time before the ventilation fails, and it’ll only take a single gray speck to end it all… Originally featured in The Absent Willow Review e-zine, DUST is the haunting meditation of a man recalling the final days of a once mighty and hopeful planet now quickly eroding to nothing under drifts of gray.
He doesn’t know where he is. He doesn’t know who he is, but the government spooks have been asking him questions for days, hoping to trigger his memory. His only clue is the implant in his brain, the name ADAM, and a sneaking suspicion that he’s capable of destroying worlds.
Originally appearing in Volume 2 of the chilling Endlands anthology from Hobbes End Publishing, The Shiva Apparatus is a short science fiction story that will make you question the nature and the direction of humanity.
Also, as a special treat, this story includes an excerpt from Dickson’s upcoming novel, The Shiva Paradox, of which this short story serves as a prequel.
It’s business as usual for Dr. Victor Barnes, lead researcher at Whitacre Pharms, until a strange little boy named Elvis walks into his life. The kid strikes him as familiar, but the doctor’s memory is fading fast, a side effect of the serum he tested on himself to become immortal.
Dr. Barnes soon learns how much his desire to live forever has endangered billions, and that he must go to extreme measures to keep mankind from forgetting itself..
Allison M. Dickson writes dark contemporary fiction, covering both speculative and realistic realms. Her debut psychological horror novel, STRINGS, released to rave reviews in 2013 and has topped Amazon’s bestseller lists several times. She is also the author of an abundance of short stories as well as the 1940s sci-fi noir Colt Coltrane series. Readers can look forward to her upcoming dystopian epic, THE LAST SUPPER, later in 2014. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found wandering the urban sprawl of Dayton, OH with her husband and two rapidly growing children, or crawling some dungeon in search of good loot. For more information on how to reach Allison or to read her blog, visit allisonmdicksonbooks.com.
- Meet Horror Novelist Allison M. Dickson (examiner.com)
- A Chat with Debut Horror Novelist Allison M. Dickson (fearwriter.wordpress.com)
- Read-a-Chapter: Strings, by Allison M. Dickson (asthepagesturn.wordpress.com)
- Character Interview with Madam (beyondthebooks.wordpress.com)
- Interview with Allison M. Dickson (blogcritics.org)
- My review of DUST (www.sekhmetpress.com)
- Meet Allison M. Dickson (www.staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com)
- FAQ with AMD (www.allisonmdickson.com)
- STRINGS Review by the Fluffy Fox! (fluffyredfox.blogspot.co.uk)