Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review: The Devil, the Grim Reaper, and a Ghost

Title: The Devil, the Grim Reaper, and a Ghost
Author: Sean M. Hogan
Genre: Short Stories, Dark Fantasy

Note: Sean M. Hogan is a friend of mine from The Pendragons, my writing group.


Four dark short stories with fantastical elements provide chills, thrills, and laughs.

"Motel Black"

A newbie hitman is given the devilish opportunity to double his money--but more is at stake than he realizes.

"The Grim Adventures of Meryl and Doug"

When fluoride poisoning kills Meryl, she strikes a deal with the Grim Reaper. A single good deed can restore her life.  Shouldn't be too hard, right?

"The Voice of the Beyond"

After 10-year-old Justin is threatened by a man in a clown suit, his only chance for survival is to listen to a supernatural voice.

"The Monster with No Eyes"

A monster learns the true meaning of happiness--stealing everything he doesn't have.


Two of the short stories, "Motel Black" and "The Voice of the Beyond," have previously been published individually under the name Sean Michael Hogan. They've been repackaged here along with two new stories and sample chapters from Sean M. Hogan's novel, The Crow Behind the Mirror.

Sean M. Hogan is great at dark fantasy, and here he shows off both his dramatic ("Motel Black," "The Voice of the Beyond") and comedic ("The Grim Adventures of Meryl and Doug," "The Monster with No Eyes") chops. The stories are well-written, with a surprising amount of character development, vivid imagery, and a rather wicked use of irony. My personal favorite was "Motel Black," probably because I can't resist a good "deal with the devil" story, but those with a taste for irreverent humor and pop culture references should enjoy "The Grim Adventures of Meryl and Doug."

These stories are not for little kids. "Motel Black" and "The Grim Adventures of Meryl and Doug" both contain profanity and violence, and the subject matter of "The Voice of the Beyond" may be disturbing to some. I would recommend it for older teens and up. The stories are dark, with some elements verging on horror, and if that doesn't appeal to you, you may want to hold off. However, those who want short twisty tales with a dash of dark fantasy are sure to be delighted.

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