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Completed on: 28072016
Review Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed By Hilary Hawkes for Readers’ Favorite

The Nettle Tree is a collection of short stories compiled by Kenneth Weene and Clayton Bye. Bye has written one of the stories and the other twelve are by other excellent and talented authors. The overall theme of the book encompasses the western/cowboy genre and this is intriguingly mixed with science fiction and fantasy elements. The stories vary in length and include a shorter flash fiction tale too.

An extremely well written and engaging collection of stories, this book will delight fans of short stories with a bit of a dark edge and fantasy elements to them. The authors convey their characters’ personalities and motivations very well. I liked the combination of a variety of subjects and the way the stories seem to fit well together as a collection in terms of tone. While each author has a unique voice, these tales share an overall style and mood as they explore some unusual, baffling, and scary happenings in situations in which the characters find themselves.

As I read, I was on the lookout for my favorite story, but I have to admit each one was equally absorbing and brilliant. I liked the humor in Phil Richardson’s The Sheriff of Hog Waller; the weird mix of horror and western in Jeremy Shipp’s The Carousel; and the dark, speculative nature of Leigh M Lane’s Valley of the Shadow. Many of the stories, including Clayton Bye’s The Nettle Tree, explore unseen forces of spirit revenge, and a battle between those in this life and ghosts – suggesting nothing may be as it seems and that we may be fooling ourselves when we believe we have control over events and outcomes. An intriguing collection that combines western, sci-fi, apocalypse, zombie, and portals into other dimensions into an entertaining and gripping read. Recommended.

 

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