Review: It Calls from the Veil by Eerie River
I’ve now read several collections from Eerie River and even with one theme, they always deliver a wide variety of stories, characters, and chills. In our daily lives, the veil separating us from death seems strong, but in this collection, the curtain is little more than thin gauze and dark creatures have no problems creeping through.
Typically when I review an anthology, I try to pick my favourite three stories to highlight, but there were five stories that really stood out for me.
Little Feet by RB Kelly
Alison, her husband, Ben, and their daughter, Mia visit an isolated cabin for Christmas. Setting this tale in the heart of winter, far from their home, added the element of isolation. When they arrive, little Mia finds a creepy doll and becomes obsessed with it. The doll terrifies Alison and begins to torment the family. Alison has to face her seemingly irrational fears to keep her family safe. I appreciated that Ben, despite not being completely on board with Alison’s fears, tried to understand. It kept the story from falling into a predictable conflict that I’ve seen too many times.
Cold Baptism by CA McDonald
Cold Baptism starts as a gritty crime story, but quickly evolves into something more. Julietta is a psychic who helps the police force with unusual cases. When she is called in on the latest case, she finds herself in over her head. I enjoyed the dynamic between the non-believer Roland and Julietta. The two had strong chemistry that ignited their scenes.
Playland by C.M. Forest
Not only was this story one of the eeriest, it was also one of the saddest. Robert only sees his daughter, Lily, once a month and he wants to do the best he can in a short time. As a legal assistant who works in family law, I recognized the conflict that I hear about at work all the time: ex-spouses arguing over their time with their kids. This detail added an element of reality to the tragedy of “Playland” that made the story feel all the more real.
Hunted by Rachael Boucker
It’s hard to discuss what I enjoyed most about this story without spoiling it. Toward the end of the story, the main character makes a decision that surprised me enough I had to read it a couple of times.
Shrieking Willow by Amanda Cecelia
This story might be my favourite one. Two young people attempt to recreate what they think is a romantic urban legend, but the story they have heard is not as it seems. The story unfolds well and keeps the reader engaged. Setting is key for this story and the descriptions of the trees are delightfully disturbing - “the aspen stands bent at an extreme angle, and the top branches skew sideways, the sparse leaves twitching like fingers”.