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Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite
“Ghosts, Trolls and Werewolves” by Malcolm Cowen is a collection of three short stories, plus a stand-alone excerpt from his full-length novel “Lady of Foxdale”. Although the title may suggest this is just another rehash of the same old, worn out “scary stories” fodder, nothing could be farther from the truth. The three tales included in this book are unique in their approach to the genre, and are fully fleshed out in spite of their brevity. The first tale, 'The Girl in the Forest' is perhaps the most unusual werewolf story you have ever read. Next up is 'The Port of Heaven' which purports to be a ghost story from a future time; the depth of historical knowledge shown by the author in this story makes it worth the price all by itself. Again, I will suggest it may be the strangest ghost story you have ever read. The third short story is called 'The Trollwife', and it also showcases the author’s mastery of cultural history. Finally, the excerpt from “Lady of Foxdale” is, as stated, a stand-alone excerpt. That notwithstanding, you most likely will want to buy the novel to continue on with the story. Think of this excerpt as peeling back a corner of the gift wrapping on a Christmas present, and the novel as the frenzied unwrapping of the same present. Peeking might give you a hint of things to come, but you won’t get the full enjoyment until you can unwrap it and put it to its intended use.
Malcolm Cowen, by generating this volume, has demonstrated his wide-ranging talent for creative thinking in the world of fiction. Each of the three short stories, and the excerpt of the novel, are so very different from one another that one might be excused for thinking they were written by four different people. His vivid descriptions of the pertinent aspects of his stories, and his total lack of any superfluous “fluff” to up the word count, are both a testament to this man’s creative genius. This is a short story collection which must be read by fans of the genre, if for no other reason than to get a taste of the author’s talent.