Veteran author Thomas S. Flowers terrifies readers in his new short story anthology, The Hobbsburg Horror. The delicate narrative is beautifully enhanced by Flowers’ writing style. The perfect metaphors are used at the perfect moments, not only to invoke terror, but to also allow the reader to live and breathe Flowers’ prose. One can only describe this anthology as “fine literature”. Yes, some of the stories fall into the Splatterpunk genre, while others tend to evoke emotion on a much more psychological level – think Stephen King meets Brian Keene.
One can hardly fault this effervescent tapestry of horror – the characterization is spot-on, the interwoven magic of true Texan terror pounds at the psyche, and Flowers does what few authors are capable of: he scares until one’s nerves are nothing more than a frail mess.
However, with the praise being praised, and with said being said, Flowers does trip more than once. In fact, the reason why I am not giving this anthology full marks is due to the author’s incessant use of the ellipsis (…). Much like one would kill one’s darlings (adjectives and adverbs), one also has to avoid the pitfalls of other forms of punctuation, i.e. the ellipsis.
Thoughts, actions and emotions cannot be “paused” for dramatic effect in every second sentence. There comes a time in any book where the technical errors begin to outweigh the powerful prose, and that moment destroys the fictional reality.
This does not, in any way, shape or form, detract from Flowers’ ludicrous level of talent. It’s merely a technicality which the book could have done without.
The Hobbsburg Horror should be on every bookcase, in every home. It is the epitome of true horror.
And oh lawd it’s so good!
Reviewed by Renier Palland