*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Discover the mystery of the two-headed rose and many more Strange Secrets in this new collection of extraordinary stories by Mike Russell.
‘It can’t be real.’ ‘But it is.’
Strange Secrets invites you to discover the magical and the marvellous. Startlingly inventive and constantly entertaining, these unique, vital and vividly realised stories will take you to places you have never been before.
Strange Secrets is Mike Russell’s third short-story collection.
This is my third Mike Russell short story collection and, as the title clearly states, it should go without saying by now that these stories are very, very strange.
There are seven stories in this collection, and my individual notes for each of them involves lots of repetition of words like ‘surreal’ and ‘dreamlike’, and yet each of the stories has its own unique subject matter and style. Some of the situations and actions herein could also be described as falling into the realm of horror when summed up – dead people in wardrobes; a detached leg with a foot at each end; a suspiciously controlling puppet – and yet this is emphatically not a horror collection, but more a collection of different ways of thinking about reality.
For that is the overarching and underlying theme of these stories… the nature of reality. What is really real? How do we recognise reality when we see it? How do we shape our realities with words, and labels, and our perceptions? These are fascinating questions and the author poses them via such strikingly original scenarios that the reader is left simultaneously reeling and pondering, as if waking from a bizarre nightmare which contained a kernel of unexpected truth.
If I’m making this all sound very vague and odd, that is because I am loath to explain too much and ruin the experience of discovering these strange gems for yourself, and because the stories are really, genuinely, very odd in their own right.
Food for thought aplenty, plus fuel for some interestingly disturbing dreams!
An elderly man wearing a white suit was dancing a jig in the centre of town. The man had a string tied to each of the fingers and thumb of his left hand, the other ends of which were attached to the head, arms and legs of a small, wooden marionette. The marionette was also wearing a white suit and its face was carved to look identical to that of the man. Whilst the man danced his jig, the marionette stood next to him, perfectly still.– Mike Russell, ‘The Puppeteer’ in Strange Secrets
Strange Secrets is available on Amazon right now!