Review Of, At The End Of It All: Stories From The Shadows, by Suzanne Craig-Whytock
Another week is in full swing, and another busy weekend is two days in the past. We celebrated my youngest’s fourteenth birthday. On Saturday, she shopped the mall with friends. That night they tented in our backyard, drifting into “peaceful slumber” while being serenaded by the nocturnal symphony.
Um, well, not exactly. More like they ‘semi-glamped’ in our massive tent, watching movies till the eye-reddening dawn. Small fans spun furiously to keep them cool and drown out the coyotes howling in the forest beyond.
Now, to some, the very idea of an overnighter in a canvas box as wild beasts roam outside, calling to their mates might fall under the label of a ‘creepy’. I’ve no doubt, that among the ranks of my readers, there are some who would delight in the soothing and beautiful voices of Canis latrans.
This brings me round to Suzanne’s collection of short stories, which in my opinion, are somewhat based on perspectives, as to what is really going on.
Foreword by Steven Baird Enter a surreal landscape of the twisted and unusual. Wander through the echoing corridors of old manor houses, explore dead cities and hidden rooms, and dance with menacing marionettes. Lyrical, haunting, and occasionally humorous, At The End Of It All is a collection of twenty-seven stories that explore joy and sorrow, gratitude and grief, and hatred and desire. Open the cover, feast on the stories inside…and if you’re lucky, Mr. Death just might show up for dessert.
Here I go:
An eclectic mix of uncanny episodes that played out in my mind’s eye like a popular supernatural mystery show I used to watch.
A few of the endings were quite self-explanatory and neatly wrapped. Many had the enticing quality of suggestive outcomes or causations which appealed to the writer in me. As a fan of horror, but not gore, this book fed my appetite for goosebumps and unsettling perspectives.
The writing style is engaging and lured me straight into the scenes. Suzanne manages to model everyday life while injecting a measured dose of the extraordinary in a manner that seems plausible. That’s no easy feat.
I recommend this book for those who crave a reprieve from the ‘wash the dishes’ and ‘mow the lawn’ humdrum to unleash their imaginations!
Suzanne Craig-Whytock is the author of four novels: Smile (2017), The Dome (English version, 2019; international Arabic translation, 2022), The Seventh Devil (2021), and The Devil You Know, all published by Bookland Press. She is also the author of two short story collections: Feasting Upon The Bones (2021) and At The End Of It All (2023), both published by Potter’s Grove Press. The Georgian translation of her first novel Smile will be released internationally in summer 2023. Suzanne is also the editor-in-chief of DarkWinter Literary Magazine, an Ontario, Canada-based online publication featuring short fiction and poetry, as well as the founder of DarkWinter Press. What Any Normal Person Would Do is her first creative non-fiction publication.