Beautiful Atrocities - by Ross Jeffery
Ross Jeffery hits the ground running with his debut (Whud? Milk kisses and other stories??) collection of short stories. With his writing quality firmly established through the Juniper series (with the eagerly awaited “Scorched” somewhere soon on the horizon closing the trilogy off) and having experimented with novellas such as Tethered – by telling a tale through collected flash pieces (one of my favorites from the author), this was pretty much an instant-buy.
The opener -One piece remains – is a great concept, taking a common trope and running it through the extreme reversal of what could happen if unable to meet a kidnapper’s demands. The mindset of the MC here is the jewel to open the collection – a wonderfully positive twist on something sickening, it really sets the scene for the tone of the whole book.
This collection is a pretty broad canvas, Jeffery flexes his writing chops with pieces like “The collector of ruined things”, leading the reader to an assumption that is proven woefully false. Clever in presentation, and clinical in its timing, it’s one of the highlights of the collection and is a great example of misleading the reader, present also in shorts like "Even Death can't separate us".
There were a couple of stories in here that felt incomplete (The great withering, Cat box). A place to lay me down - quite clearly defined around a word, Jeffery interestingly enough re-enforcing the word several times throughout the piece. I get the idea of enforcement through repetition but felt it hit the first time around. That’s just probably me, and the writing on all of the pieces is so smooth and easy to read, that the reader is nevertheless rushing to the end of every short.
There’s a crowd pleaser in Hail Maud, full of grace”, which will have you smiling along as soon as the reality of the situation kicks in. Gotta love it when a writer can get you cheering on murder, especially with the protagonist the age she is.
Even death can’t separate us – was one I saw coming from the opening sentence, but beautifully written and actually pretty satisfying. I could imagine it a singular short given away for subscribing to a newsletter – It’s as complete an example of Ross’ writing as it gets.
The titular short Beautiful Atrocities ties up the bow at the end, leaving us no doubt the collection was "Bram stoker nominated" 😁 strong, and Ross’ writing will only get stronger from here on in.
This is a 4 out of 5 ⭐ ‘s read for me, the collection is solid, the cover beautiful, and the typeface and inside illustration work great.
Can’t wait for Scorched.
You can buy Beautiful Atrocities, by clicking on the appropriate Amazon link, below:
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