CROW SHINE is a great short story collection. It is dark fiction, which I don’t normally delve into. I like the gross and diabolical horror. This collection surprised me, though. It is savagely unrelenting. Each story tops the latter, which is a very rare thing. I nitpick about the arrangement of collections and anthologies, but these stories are aligned in the best way.
Alan Baxter has a cadence about his style and prose. It’s as smooth as classical music. Baxter has created multiple worlds that you will never want to leave. The characters and their dilemmas make this collection great. The characters have so much depth. These stories explore whether the characters are really in control of their choices, which is engrossing.
As always, I have my favorite stories. They are Crow Shine, Tiny Lives, and The Old Magic. The honorable mention goes to The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner. With that being said, there isn’t a bad story in the bunch.
Crow Shine is about the blues and magical brews.
Tiny Lives is hands down the best story in the collection. It is a heartbreaking and somber tale of a toymaker trying to raise money for his sick daughter.
The Old Magic is a grim tale about a witch who has lived a long life.
The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner is a tale of pirates and cosmic horror. What’s not to like?
I will be reading Alan Baxter’s other work. He is one of the best authors writing dark fiction today.
5/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐