Zakk reviews “Companions In Ruin” by Mark Allan Gunnells. 162 pages published by Sinister Grin Press.
“’OURS IS A GOD OF ANGER’
Not a very inviting message for a House of Worship. In fact, there was something vaguely threatening about it. And the use of the pronoun ours disturbed Chad as well. It was oddly possessive, as if the god worshipped at this church was not the same god worshipped elsewhere.”
Within these pages you will find darkness and misery, but don’t be afraid. You’re not alone. There are companions with you in the darkness that will take your hand and lead you through the shadowy landscape.
• A preacher’s son that leads a photographer into more than just temptation
• A psychic desperate to prove her power at any cost
• A new mother who finds motherhood more than she bargained for
• A young woman who discovers the grisly consequences of honesty
• The survivors of a school shooting with their own sins to atone for
• An ex-reality star who finds it hard to adjust to life out of the spotlight
• A televangelist whose scam may just provide a miracle for a desperate housewife
These characters and many more will act as your guides over the rockery terrain. They will be your companions in ruin.
“Her vacant smile widened as she told Rebecca to have a nice day.
Rebecca smiled back, opened her mouth to thank the cashier, and said, ‘You’re going to die on Christmas Eve.’
The teenaged cashier blinked, her vacant smile withering. ‘What?’
Rebecca put her hand to her mouth, aghast, as surprised to have heard the words coming from her mouth as the cashier.”
Companions In Ruin is my first Mark Allan Gunnells read and it seams as though he has a bit of twisted streak coursing through his psyche. That’s ok with me. CIR contains 25 short (some very short) yarns of the dark variety. Solid scares, good dialogue and moments of pure black emotion to drag you down into the mire.
While every take here is enjoyable, a few ended just as I was finding my connection to them, some ending in a Zinger! Gotcha! moment, a couple ending a little too bluntly and to anticlimactically, keeping me from finding full immersion. On the other hand, there are a few that had me from the get-go, capturing and piquing my imagination completely.
My favorites here:
*Ours Is A God Of Anger
*By The Light Of Dawn
*The End Of Her Rope
*Rebecca Weston Speaks The Truth
*Before And Aftermath (My favorite piece overall)
It’s not a shock the the heaviest pieces (which is subjective, I know) are the one that called out to me. It’s what I dig as a reader, the darkest recesses. All in all, Companions In Ruin is an entertaining book from page one and I’ll definitely be seeking out more of Mr. Gunnells’ work.
“What is it they say? Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your kids.”
Ain’t that the truth.
Overall score: 4/ 5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
P.S. Check out that sweet cover by Frank Walls!
**Note: I received a review copy of this book from the author on the promise of an honest review. These are my unbiased feelings.
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