Wrathbone and Other Stories by Jason Parent
Publisher: Comet Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (160 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
Terror follows those who let it into their hearts.
Guests of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris attend a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. On that fateful night, a great man falls, but he is not alone. For Henry and Clara, the night is only the beginning of lives wrought with jealousy, madness, and horror.
The Only Good Lawyer
Bradley is a savvy defense attorney with no scruples. Under his representation, many a guilty man has gone free. But when a voodoo priest takes the stand, Bradley soon discovers that he, too, is on trial, and the punishment for guilt may be more than he could bear.
Dorian loves himself, and why wouldn’t he? Every guy wants to be him, and every girl wants to be with him. He would trade all he has to make his looks last forever, but bargaining with the devil may leave him short a soul.
For the Birds
Nev’s best friend is his parrot. In fact, it’s his only friend… and his only ally when his home is invaded.
Revenge is a Dish
Maurice has landed a dream job, chef for a rich couple on their yacht. The wife has carnal desires for him. Maurice has some carnal desires of his own.
Who would have imagined that thoughts could be this scary?
The main character in “Wrathbone” was a man named Henry who was dangerously obsessed with the strange circumstances surrounding the death of President Lincoln. What I liked the most about him was how much time he spent talking about his theories about what really happened when the president died and what he wished he would have done differently that day. I can’t say much else about this part of the plot without giving away spoilers, but it sure did bring out a chilling side to the main character’s life. It was also interesting to compare the logical and supernatural explanations for why Henry behaved the way he did. There was plenty of evidence for both interpretations of what was going on, so I was able to pick the one I personally thought made for a better story.
One of the first things I noticed about Bradley in “The Only Good Lawyer” was how determined he was to fight for the accused murdered he was defending. This character had a strong desire to win that shaped so many different parts of his personality. I was also surprised by how meekly he reacted to the voodoo priest who was called to the stand by the prosecution. It wasn’t something I was expecting from him at all, but that scene made me incredibly curious to find out what actually happened the night the victim died and if Bradley’s assumptions about what going on with the priest were true. This was my favourite tale in the collection.
Dorian, the main character in “Dorian’s Mirror,” wasn’t an easy guy to like at all. His arrogance and narcissism gave me such a negative first impression of him that I struggled to stay interested in his life. It would have been nice if the narrator’s description of him had included positive or even neutral aspects to it as well to balance Dorian out a bit. With that being said, I enjoyed seeing how he reacted to all of the bizarre things that began happening to him. They were so out of the ordinary that his horrified responses made perfect sense.
The relationship between a man and his parrot is like nothing else on earth. In “For the Birds,” Nev’s bond with his bird, Joji, is tested by a violent robbery in ways that have to be read to be believed. The dialogue was by far my favorite part of their home invasion. I never would have guessed that a parrot spoke and understood as many different words as Joji did. Including a non-human character who was this talkative was such a creative decision.
“Revenge Is a Dish” followed a man named Maurice after he made the biggest mistake of his career by accepting his dream job as a chef on a yacht and then having an affair with the boss’ wife. The best part of this one was how the plot kept on moving every time I was sure I’d reached the end. There were a lot of grisly surprises tucked into it, and that made it a great deal of fun to read.
I’d recommend Wrathbone and Other Stories to anyone who is in the mood for something truly frightening.