Portraits of Dread

Portraits of Dread

This book made me squeal with glee. I love short horror stories. And humans are the most vicious of monsters. Michael J. Elliott put together another collection of short stories that will seep into your brain and make you question the motives of people you see on the street or in the paper for the rest of your life.

His collection of stories is the more complex, more realistic, creepier older brother to the Scary Stories to tell in the Dark series. And while he expertly writes about supernatural monsters he proves Stephen King is right. "Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win."

As proof of that Michael tells us a tale of the future. Nothing supernatural, nothing you can't believe. It starts as a sad tale of a woman with an eating addiction who lives in a society that is intolerant of the obese. After several chances and government funded health services to try to help her lose weight she finally gets the final punishment. If you think fat camps that exist now are horrible and inhumane wait until you see what can happen when you add in corporate greed and a complete removal of all human rights.

Poor Lynda doesn't realize until it is several steps past too late, but the man that was shot like a dog trying to run away was the lucky one. As were the ones that didn't "succeed" as well as she does. But Lynda believes in the second chance she thinks she's been given. And she finally has a real reason to work to better herself. She works hard, does what she's told, and ignores everything she is told isn't important. Lynda makes herself the perfect calf being led to the slaughter. Except the men in charge are more vicious than the men of Soylent Green.

Every one of the stories in his collection are excellent and invoke a different facet of dread. I would give each one 5 stars. And I will be getting the rest of his books so that I can continue to terrorize all of the kids in my life with his stories around the campfire.

5/5 several times over


  1. Thanks for those very kind words Rebekan. A Glutton For Punishment came to me as a story idea after watching documentaries about morbidly obese people and their struggles. It got me thinking, with such a drain on health resources..what if the government stepped in? It started off just as a small story but the more I thought about it, the more elements I needed to add to explain this future society based on world trends at the moment.
    I'm currently toying with the idea of turning it into a full length novel to expand on the world Lynda lives in.
    Michael J Elliott


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