Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review: With Tooth and Claw by Jim Goforth

Without going too far into spoiler territory, I really like this cover because it is a great reflection of what is happening in the final story. That being said, I am admittedly not too crazy about the text-the color is fine but the font seems a bit off and might have been better with a shadow effect as well. But that's getting a bit nitpicky.

Since this is a collection of short stories I will be reviewing each one individually:

Dead Tree Creepers: If I was the author of this book, I might have switched out this story with another-perhaps either Strip to the Bone or Cavedwellers. The first story, in my mind, should be a powerful one as it shows the reader the first impression of what is in store for the rest of the book. Dead Tree Creepers is a story about teenage campers, a classic horror set up which should only be used in a parody or if there is a clever twist involved. I did like the interaction between Vincent and Chad, as it did have a touch of mystery, and the monsters themselves were interesting. But unfortunately, it didn't quite pay off. 3/5

The Living Ink: A string of murders happen in a town, and that's pretty much it. There is a unifying factor that the people who are murdered don't seem to be nice people, but not much is developed between Nicky and Maree to under their relationship or why they are murdering people. 2/5

Strip to the Bone: Female readers might find this one a difficult read given the main character's portrayal of women, but I actually liked this one. Stu is not a nice man, and his fate reflects that. I do like the setup of this one and the overall description of the city. 3.5/5

Apocalypticism: Another story which is sadly underdeveloped. I feel as though the author is trying to present a 'snapshot' of what is happening to a collection of different people, and I wished more time would have been focused on one particular character instead of four or five. Also, this story does feel strangely out of place with the others. 2/5

Astraal's hands: Two thieves break into a house to steal a package. They are told not to investigate most of the house, yet they do so and discover a horrible surprise. I do like this set-up quite a bit more than the other stories, and it is longer and has more time to be developed. That being said, since the boss' plan hinged on the two thieves disobeying orders, I can't help but wonder what would happen if they had just obeyed orders and then gone home. 4/5

Incubus: (warning, significant spoilers ahead) I don't really understand this story, and it doesn't help that it's another short one. A woman sees a demon kill other people in her dreams. Since the title is 'Incubus', you would think there would be some sexuality activity involved, but there is no mention of that. Thankfully there is no obvious twist with the dreamer being the demon, but then the dreamer dies anyway. I just don't get what the story was trying to be. And sadly, there is not enough time spent with the main character to be invested about her fate. 1/5

Cavedwellers: By far the longest story and the one that has the most time to be developed. A group of hikers take shelter and a cave, and there is tension between the two main characters and two other guys who act like sexual predators. And there is also something sinister lurking in the caves. Overall the tension drives the story and the actual monster is genuinely terrifying. It was a fun read. 4/5

FINAL GRADE: 3/5. Overall the longer stories with more developed characters were generally more enjoyable to read as opposed to the shorter ones.

With Tooth and Claw can be found here.

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