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Reviewed by Robin Goodfellow for Readers' Favorite
Skeleton in the Closet and Other Scary Stories, by Russell J. Dorn, is a collection of horror stories that reveal the monsters waiting in the dark, hoping to catch a glimpse of the children they’ll feast on. Each story contains a dark twist that plunges the protagonist into an array of the macabre and blood. From being tricked into giving your skin, to being abused by a demonic teacher, to even having your limbs eaten by the local librarian, these stories maintain the normalcy of life. Dorn damages our perceptions of reality as he introduces us to our most primitive fears, before allowing us to fall into our delusions.
When I was young, I was always scared that a vampire or zombie was hiding beneath my bed. Because of that, I would always try to sleep with my parents. So when I picked this book up, I was reminded of my childhood fears. The very first story, Skeletons in the Closet, obviously played on those fears. The story is about a boy who was tricked into giving up his skin to a dark entity hiding in the closet, if only to conceal the fact that his report cards were less than stellar. It’s these things that kept me from putting this book down. The characters were incredibly vulnerable. They were helpless, in the purest sense of the word, and that was what made this collection all the more terrifying. The poems only added to the demented innocence of the story. Thus, I would recommend this book to those who love It by Stephen King, and Spooky Tales by Autumn Chills.