Strange Frequencies is a strong collection of stories that I enjoyed. The differing flavours and tones of the stories give the books its strengths and I will be looking forward to seeing what Richard Clive does in the future.
Strange Frequencies by Richard Clive
Publisher : Sinister Smile Press (25 Sept. 2022)
Language : English
Paperback : 282 pages
ISBN-10 : 1953112382
ISBN-13 : 978-1953112385
Strange frequencies by Richard Clive is a debut collection of weird and macabre stories spanning a number of different genres including cosmic horror, and a whole plethora of different styles, including that old favourite; the Christmas ghost story. Now, when it comes to short story collections, there are many routes to take, such as building on a theme, having little motifs running through stories to create a series of interconnected stories, and then there are those that show a breadth of different styles.
Richard Clive shows a great versatility in the different styles of stories, with each one being completely different. I really enjoyed this approach as every story was fresh and different with a different flavour of horror.
There are twenty stories in the book, some stronger than others, some more satisfying than others. However there were standouts, and whilst there are some weaker stories, none of the stories were stinkers.
The first story of the book, On the Other Side of Time is a pretty strong opener with a mixture of dystopian sci Fi and cosmic horror. Jumping between two different timelines the story immediately throws you into a disorienting situation in which an alien object is being reconned by a group of soldiers. Evoking that creeping feeling of unease, this story really grabbed me.
With a change of pace and a completely different tone, the second story, Rotten to the Core deals with some recent events, wrapped up in a Christmas ghost story package. This is an effective tale and looks at a life shattering incident from the perspective of the perpetrator. However, this does not give any sympathy to the person and shows the effects on the victim and those around them.
The third story in the collection ‘The God Whisperer’ is a mix of crime and ecological horror. I think out of the book this is one that has stuck with me the most. Whilst the crime element is typical, it is the inclusion of the ecological element that elevates it. I find mushrooms and mycelium quite strange and inherently creepy in the first place, so using this element tapped into some of those unconscious fears that I have. Again there is a Lovecraftian edge to it, and as a fan of the cosmic horror genre as a whole, this story really resonated with me.
Another story that grabbed my attention was Made in Hell. This was another story crime that had a crime element to it that centres on revenge after the main character is killed and subsequently comes back to exact retribution on the perp of the story who has risen the ranks of organised crime. This is a satisfying story with the bad guy getting his eventual comeuppance in the best possible way.
So, the last story that I am going to mention is ‘On Air’ which is set in an acute mental health ward. Now, I think one of the things that makes this standout is that Richard Clive steers clear of the traps that I have seen people fall into before when using mental health in horror, and also shows that he has done his research into the conditions that the characters are experiencing (which is always going to be a plus point for me as a person that works in mental health services and regularly sees various conditions being misused).
Strange Frequencies is a strong collection of stories that I enjoyed. The differing flavours and tones of the stories give the book its strengths and I will be looking forward to seeing what Richard Clive does in the future.
STRANGE FREQUENCIES: A SHORT STORY COLLECTION
BY RICHARD CLIVE
“Richard Clive’s stories are refreshingly varied, and never short of compelling. He is definitely a name to watch.”
A World War One fighter pilot tortured by guilt, a New York mobster desperately counting the hours until his execution, an elderly man losing his mind in a decrepit nursing home… all must face their regrets and the notion that we build our own Hell, brick by brick.
Richard Clive’s chilling debut collection features eleven twisted tales, varying from Lovecraftian cosmic horror to fast-paced supernatural thrillers. Strange Frequencies oozes with splatterpunk gore, ghostly revenants, and hellish monsters that will linger in your memory long after you turn the final page.