Review: Dearest Death: A Collection

  • Title:
    • Dearest Death: A Collection
  • Author:
    • W. Dale Jordan
  • Release:
    • July 9, 2022
  • Format:
    • Paperback

I’ll be reviewing each short story in this collection individually and providing my final thoughts at the end.

1:23 am

Pages: 1 – 6
Review Date: August 13, 2022

This story has multiple ‘reveals’ and as it went on, I kept saying oh!, and when I got to the ending, it left me shaken. It took me a minute to properly process the ending.

What’s Your Emergency?

Pages: 7 – 16
Review Date: August 13, 2022

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. There aren’t many things as being alone during a home invasion, or a home invasion in general. I’ve never been in that situation, not entirely, but this story created the setting well. The ending is what really did it for me, it was beautifully done.

Three Strikes

Pages: 17 – 28
Review Date: July 3, 2022

This is an intense story, it sets the mood so well, that it’s not easy to remember you’re not in the scene. The protagonist and his boyfriend are in bed and there are rattlesnakes in there with them. It’s a horror story that’s actually horrifying. It had me grinning from ear to ear, dying to see how it turned out. Do they make it out? Does either of them make it out? Do they both? How? Can they get help? Damn, that’s one engaging, unsettling short story.

Dearest Death

Pages: 29 – 42
Review Date: July 9, 2022

Dearest Death is eerie in a spine-chilling kind of way. It managed to capture my imagination vividly and had me invested and terrified for the protagonist right at the start. The final line of the story is what did it for me, it sent a shiver down my spine and made me freeze up. I’d love to see a follow-up to this story.

Between the Shrieks

Pages: 43 – 55
Review Date: August 21, 2022

I’m at a loss for words on this one. There are moments where it’s predictable, and then there are complete shockers that I didn’t see cumming. All I can really do is applaud the twists. I love it when you think you have a story figured out, then some reveal sucker punches you. It revitalizes the story in the best way.

Deep in the Heart

Pages: 57 – 72
Review Date: August 6, 2022

Deep in the Heart took me for a ride. I can relate to Michael thinking he’s far more clever and subtle than he is, which made me laugh. The crystal cave ride sounds fascinating, and I learned about the existence of blind cavefish, which I somehow never thought of, despite my fascination with underwater caves. And then there’s disgust and terror, at the monsters in the story. What the mother-fuck were those things!?!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! This book is a work of art, these stories are all incredible. You never know what to expect with a mix of real animals, such as snakes, and Death itself.

Family Demon

Pages: 73 – 81
Review Date: July 17, 2022

I love it. I’m a bit confused about the perspective at the start and the end. I thought maybe it was a character talking on the phone about an inheritance or something. Maybe the second party is a mute? I’m not sure, but the story’s content left a huge grin on my face. It’s sad, but also heartwarming at the same time.

Truffles

Pages: 83 – 98
Review Date: August 14, 2022

I have no idea what the hell to say about this story. It’s extremely graphic and disturbing, though it still managed to have me hanging on to every word.

Prophecy

Pages: 99 – 108
Review Date: July 20, 2022

The two things that stand out most are how detailed and visually disgusting the people are, and how well of a picture it paints of the setting. I didn’t see the ending cumming at all and it had me audibly saying “wow!”, damn, I love the endings in these stories. It really is the icing on the cake.

Becky’s Bachelorette Party From Hell

Pages: 111 – 123
Review Date: June 26, 2022

I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this collection in order or not until I read the title for this story and I knew that was never going to fappen. This remarkable short story delivered everything I hoped it would and more. I was expecting uppity douchebags to get their cumeuppance and oh boy did they, in the most spectacular way I never could have imagined. It was funny, it was poetic, and it wrapped up with a wonderful ending. I can’t wait to read more stories from this collection.

The Axeman of Thorny Bottoms

Pages: 125 – 138
Review Date: August 14, 2022

That was amazing. A pulse-pounding horror story that brought me directly into the scene with the characters. This one is intense, exciting, and exhilarating with a creme de la creme of endings. That was incredible.

Sticks and Stones

Pages: 139 – 150
Review Date: August 26, 2022

I honestly don’t know what to say about this story. It just leaves me with more questions than answers, especially the last sentence. It’s interesting, but maybe not in an entirely good way.

An Accursed Eye

Pages: 151 – 161
Review Date: July 23, 2022

I enjoyed this story. Aside from a strange error where the storyteller’s single eye is occasionally referred to as “eyes”; sometimes even on the same page. I wasn’t sure where it was going until (just about) the end. It was a curious ride, to say the least. I will note that I’m reading an early copy for review, so the eye-eyes issue may be fixed in final copies or future releases.

1:23 am: Deleted Scenes

Pages: 165 – 177
Review Date: August 20, 2022

Wow! At first, I was thinking; this is why I disown all of my scumfuck relatives. I can’t stand these pissant pieces of garbage who say one thing to your face and something else behind your back. And fuck making excuses for their bigotry shared online, that’s where they really share how they feel in the open.

The rest was a rollercoaster of emotions. I have no patience for abusive spouses and I’m all for people defending themselves. I also respect the use of a knife, a tool I’ve always been partial to. The ending was legitimately spine-chilling. I appreciated the deleted scenes section providing backstory buy also working as a standalone story.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the hell out of these stories. I appreciated the “behind the scenes” at the back of the book, as well as the deleted scenes for 1:23 AM. I’m sad that I’m done with this collection. I’ll return to it eventually, but you can only experience it for the first time once.*

I really hope these stories get a sequel, either direct or just a new collection, ’cause this was pure joy to read. They’re gross, disturbing, funny, sad, predictable, surprising, poetic, heartwarming, and more. Each story can be a rollercoaster of emotions with some incredible endings, and some I wished didn’t have to end.

Note: This copy was provided to me free of charge as a physical review copy. The opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone, I was not paid or requested to give this book a certain rating, suggestion, or approval.

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