E is for Evil by Rhonda Parrish (editor)

E is for Evil by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: Poise and Pen Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (279 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

E is for Evil contains twenty-six individual stories which each shine a different light on the multi-faceted idea that is evil. Running the gamut from lyrical fantasy to gritty horror in these stories possessed toys, hellish bureaucrats, scientists with questionable morals, abusive partners and even lingerie sellers all take their turn in the spotlight.

Featuring fresh new stories from Michael Fosburg, Lynn Hardaker, Stephanie A. Cain, Andrew Bourelle, Suzanne J. Willis, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, Hal J. Friesen, C.S. MacCath, Michael B. Tager, Jonathan C. Parrish, Amanda C. Davis, Lilah Wild, Sara Cleto, Alexandra Seidel, Mary Alexandra Agner, Cory Cone, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Beth Cato, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Megan Engelhardt, Danielle Davis, Brittany Warman, BD Wilson, L.S. Johnson, Pete Aldin and Michael M. Jones.

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In “C,” Stephanie A. Cain wrote about a man named Murphy whose neighbor girl turned up late one night at his home with a suspicious injury. He didn’t trust the cops to respond properly to a possible case of child abuse, so he had to decide what he might be able to do to help her on her own. The plot twists were fabulous. I appreciated the way Ms. Cain gave subtle hints about what was really going on while still leaving plenty of room for other possible explanations. Not only did this make her work fun to read, it made the ending even more meaningful than it would have been if I’d known what was happening from the very first scene.

While all of these stories had strong premises, a few of them could have used a little more development. “U” by Danielle Davis was one of them. It was about a young girl named Drina who was selected to be the bearer of a cursed story that had been passed down through her family for generations. Since she wasn’t allowed to share it with anyone until the end of her life, she couldn’t even tell the audience what it was about. As much as I enjoyed the secrecy surrounding this curse, it was a bit disappointing for me as a reader to have so many of my questions about it left unanswered.

Jonathan C. Parrish’s “J” followed someone named Sam who was in charge of determining the most effective ways to torture souls who were assigned to the Department of Miscellany in the afterlife. The interesting thing about this character’s job was how much bureaucracy was required in order to sort the souls based on what sins they’d committed in life and which punishments were most effective for them. Office politics isn’t something I’d typically expect to find in hell, but it worked really nicely as a contrast to the horrors that awaited anyone who was assigned to Sam’s department.

This collection is part of a series, but it does not need to be read in order.

I’d recommend E is for Evil to anyone who is in the market for well-written science fiction.

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