Wound upon wound - by Steve Stred
So – I am fairly certain that I picked up Steve Stred’s “Wound upon wound” as a giveaway, one of those wonderful things that happen on Twitter, or perhaps it was from the Horror Oasis? In any event, I snapped it up because of Steve’s name – I know he’s a reviewing machine, has spots on Kendall Reviews and works with/for The Ladies of Horror, and is an all-round horror promoter, he supports Indie Horror. Ok. You get the idea – I felt I should read his stuff, and if I liked it, I’d buy some more at the first opportunity, which I’m pleased to say I did this weekend, having snapped up a further 5 of his books as presents for Father’s Day - Yes. I am that man, that tells his kids what to buy him for Father’s Day – I will not live through another year that is anything like the sock debacle of 2015. Steve has several of his books on offer for less than 1 or 2 euros. It’s a no-brainer.
There’s a lot to like here. The story was originally presented in a serial format – Steve opened chapters on his website as freebies to his followers and supporters. As such, the format of the chapters is clear – there are hooks galore – Steve has littered the story with endings to chapters that demand the reader continue, the overall mystery of the story set early on in the book, where we are aware that the story is hiding another story below it, and the whole thing reads like a well-crafted mystery. I won’t give spoilers, as this is a short, and the whole point of the short is the reveal, but let’s say that the reveal is satisfying, and whilst I hadn’t exactly guessed at the ending, it lived up to my expectations.
Ok, with that out of the way, I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty of the bones of the book. Steve has done some wonderful character work here, and the voice and the characters sell the story. I felt very relaxed in his world. The usual complaints I have from books are nowhere in sight – repeated words, start sentenced repeat words, clumsy prose – there’s none of it. This is pretty much as polished a piece as I read on Scribophile from authors that I trust, the writing is immersive, inclusive, and hypnotic, the whole book flew by and honestly, Steve knows his craft. After years on Scribe, I tend to look at books with an overly critical eye, looking for faults to correct, to help the other authors. There was none of that here. It read like candy on the tongue. My wife looked up and me as I finished the book – she knew what I was reading at the time. She said “and?”, and then when I nodded with a small smile of sad acceptance, she added “you found more stuff to buy, right?” before rolling her eyes, happy for me.
And my wife knows me.
This reads like YA. There are horror undertones to it all, but it is predominantly a tale of the relationship between a brother and a sister, as they enjoy a single, solitary day together. And that’s all you are getting from me.
I’m giving this a solid 4 out of 5⭐ . The story is great, if anything I think the reveal was a little too late – the same hook had been used once or twice too much, I thought it was time for some answers just a little earlier, but the reveal is good, and the voice carries it all.
Lovely to meet you, Steve, I look forward to reading you again.
You can buy Wound upon wound, (American Amazon) HERE.
You can visit Steve's Website, HERE.
You can find Steve on Twitter, HERE.
You can find Steve on Instagram, HERE.
You can find Steve on Facebook, HERE.