Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Brood (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 60) by Mark Anthony Smith is a brief but impactful offering of short horror. The imagery is visceral, punctuated by interesting language and word choices. The author obviously loves wordplay and creating clever sentences, scenes, and moods. The book begins with a focus on a certain house and characters' reactions to it, but I think more haunting and compelling are the short snapshots of words and phrases that say so much with so little. As you read, your mind plays over them like scrabble words forming on the board, until they make perfect sense.
I like Smith's approach to telling these bite-size stories, the economy of words, and the effects it can have on the reader depending on how they are interpreted. I like the way tension is built in a short window of space, but of course, this is the appealing thing about short works. A lot can be said in a long, luxurious novel, but a lot can be said with just a handful of words too. Besides the nice phraseology, the plot is perfect for this genre too, and you will have plenty to think about as the story punchily builds. There is something Poe-ish about Smith's writing, but is still uniquely his own, with no hint of intentional recreation; just echoes. This story reads like one long free-verse horror poem, punctuated with intense characters and graphic scenes--just right for hungry fans of classic horror. Brood (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 60) by Mark Anthony Smith is the kind of book you want to read out loud around a campfire to put everyone on edge.