Reviewed by Dinah Roseberry for Readers' Favorite
Shadows by Angie Martin is a fresh and frightening trek into the world of psychological horror. Via six eerie stories, Martin reflects the turmoil that normal people can feel when things go really wrong—that’s right, normal people. Not the super heroes or the person(s) you think might be stars in a story, but people like you and me. “Reflection” will make any photographer think twice about taking on independent projects. One just never knows when something not quite “there” becomes…clearly there. In “Sold” we follow a ghost investigation reality television crew as they investigate a horrific crime scene with all too many gulping experiences to test their resolve of belief and non-belief…and the sinister. “Flawless” takes us into the exploration of the damaged mind of a survivor, a place no one wants to be. I felt the heroine’s fear in this one and recognize Angie Martin’s criminal justice background, knowing the ins and outs of delusion and fear. “Cycle of Life” gives us a punch in the stomach from an individual who gets on everyone’s last nerve—a pay-back story that is oh so deserving and oh so satisfying. “The First Step” (shared credit with Marisa Oldham) again takes us into the depths of self-destruction—just don’t open the door. Remember that and maybe you’ll be okay (…maybe).
My favorite story in this collection is the one chosen as namesake for the book: Shadows. Martin writes horror and violence, and fear and loathing with poetic shock, making me take in breath and banish chills. If I were in a movie theater watching this story (and that’s a really good idea for most of her stories!), I’d be yelling at the screen. The heroine in this story has enough trouble being left in a strange kind of, shall we say, nontraditional hospital, but what she has to endure while there is beyond haunting.
All in all, I’d say that Angie Martin’s Shadows hits a ghastly home run. I found my mind taking each story to the next thought, the next scene, the next awful problem. In Shadows, I didn’t just read a tale and move on; I couldn’t. Martin is a genius at placing readers inside the head of the frightened person and then keeping them there. Angie Martin, though she advises that Shadows is her first visit to the horror genre, writes it like she’s been doing it for a very long time. Keep an eye on this author. She’s going places.