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A Dead Calmness
(Steven Deighan)

You?ll Like What You?ll See?By God, You?ll like What Deighan Will Show You?

Last month, Steven Deighan submitted a story to Spinetinglers. We were so impressed with the story that we were compelled to proclaim it the Story of the Month. When he got in touch with the committee and asked us to review his first book, we jumped at the opportunity.

A Dead Calmness is a collection of short stories that are at times heartbreaking, at other times chilling, but all are extremely entertaining. At only 23 years old, Deighan is rapidly becoming one to watch in horror. Inspired early in life by the likes of Stephen King et al, Deighan has spent time developing his style and content, which is obvious in his debut book.

The book consists of fourteen tales exploring a range of subgenres. Some are true to life and remind us of the fact that there are many monsters out there who are just as dark and otherworldly as anything that our imaginations could create. Others give us glimpses of creatures that dwell outside the realms of reality; these tales are especially frightening and atmospheric.

My personal favourite would be ?Feels Like Stephen King.? In this story, writer Eric Bain (great name for a horror writer!) has just received his first acceptance letter from a publishing house. Like a King novel, writers who get good news from publishing houses are always doomed from the beginning. ?Feels Like Stephen King? has a great build up and is paced to perfection. Readers will truly empathise with the main character and will be totally engrossed in the story from the very first line. It is a story that will chill you to the bone and leave you wanting to read more of Deighan?s work?much like King?s work.

Other stories of note in the collection include ?Bad Fuse,? a story of teenage angst and the repercussions an argument with parents can have; ?Nightmare Man,? a story that will have parents staying up nights to watch their children sleep; and ?The Mirror,? which proves a mirror image does not always show what you want to see.

With such a diverse range of stories, from doppelgangers to nuclear holocausts, A Dead Calmness will provide every reader with a new favourite short story. If Spinetinglers has one criticism, it would be that some of the stories are too short and don?t give us enough time to immerse ourselves in the different worlds that Deighan creates. We can?t wait until he tries his hand at a novella-length story.

As a debut book, A Dead Calmness is excellent and will leave you craving more from this fresh and exciting new talent.

Steven Deighan?s new novel will be out this month, and we can?t wait to read it as it promises to be even better than the first.

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