{Book Review} Isidora’s Pawn (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 19)



  • Pages: 79
  • Published: May 10th 2019
  • Publisher: Demain Publishing

I’ve read and reviewed a few of Erik Hofstatter’s stories over the years. With each story, you never really know what you are going to get. He has covered different types of horror. He is a unique author in that he doesn’t write about what other people are writing about. Hofstatter has covered some important topics, such as: mental health, sexuality, and immigration. Before reading this book, I had never heard of the Short Sharp Shocks! series. Isidora’s Pawn is the nineteenth book in the anthology series. I will definitely be reading more books in this series.

Isidora’s Pawn is pretty good. To me, it’s not as good as Rare Breeds, The Crabian Heart, or Fountain of Drowned Memories. The writing style is good, making for a quick read, but I didn’t connect with the characters. The story itself was cool, though. A guy, Orrin, is ready to start a new chapter in his life. One day he meets Dores, a Spanish librarian, on Instagram. She offers him a job at a medieval library in León. He works nights, not at all fun mind you. But it’s work, so Orrin deals with it. Not everything is what it seems. 

The scenes are vivid. You won’t be able to shake them for a while. It reads like a gothic classic, with modern horror sprinkled throughout. Erik Hofstatter explains what all influenced this story at the bottom of this post. By the end of the story, I was thoroughly unnerved. It’s creepy. I don’t think I’ll ever make a trip to León. Overall, Isidora’s Pawn is a pretty good story of love and loss.



Orrin is desperate to escape life’s crushing banalities. Enter Dores, a charismatic Spanish librarian he befriends on Instagram. With a gratuitous job offer on the cards, he travels to León and begins a night shift in a place where the broken and weary congregate in healing silence. The medieval library is painted with images of raw and deformed beauty, rivers of anguish, self-torment, lonely exile, and unexplained sorrows. As Orrin explores blackest shadows of the library, he discovers further paintings of dozen children riding a giant goat glowing with human vitality. He’s about to become Isidora’s pawn. You’ll see what she wants you to see…

Writing about Isidora’s Pawn, author Erik Hofstatter said: “It is a homage to ageless Gothic classics of tragic and unrequited love — ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ & ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. It’s an intrusive emotion. Love. The character of Isidora was inspired by the ‘Jersey Devil’, a legendary creature from the New Jersey folklore. The mythos seduced me right away. I combined those flavours with a Spanish traditional holiday called ‘El Colacho’, which involves men dressed as the Devil and jumping over babies who lie on mattresses in the street. People who read my short novel ‘Toroa’ will know how much I relish writing about infants. But Isidora’s Pawn explores a different angle entirely. Another ingredient was a report about a Peruvian gang that supposedly murdered people for their fat.”

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