एक बुक जर्नल: Sliced and Diced by Joan De La Haye

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sliced and Diced by Joan De La Haye

Rating: 3.5/5
Read between 6th of March, 2018 to 15th of March, 2018

Edition Details:
Format : E-book
Page Count: 128
Asin: B07334XB4Q




Sliced and Diced by Jaon De La Haye is a collection of 17 short stories.

The stories in this collection are:

1.Black Shuck 3.5/5

First Sentence:
That howl has haunted us for three nights in a row, and each time it fills us with dread and painful memories.

Black shuck has killed again and she’s hungry for more. It’s a little village on the Norflok coast and Black shuck has been here from time immemorial. It’s a big dog that has taken more lives from this village then one cares to remember.  Every time the black shuck attacks the village people decide to hunt it but every time they have lost. This time too they are willing to fight him. Would the result be any different,now??

 I could relate to the terror felt by the residents of the village.  I come from a hilly town. We didn't have black shuck but had man-eater leopards. They used to attack people not only during the night but sometimes in early morning or in evening. I remember how scared i used to be as a kid while going out. This was the case when the entity wasn't supernatural so i could easily gauge the amount of terror a supernatural entity would have on the people. There are some scary moments in the story which made it a fun read for me. I liked the story There is one thing though, while reading it i couldn't stop thinking about The hound of Baskerville. I guess that would be natural because both have similar story line. Anyways, it was a an entertaining read for me.

  2.Death Express 3/5

First Sentence:
The screams of delight mingled with exhilaration and echoed from the roller-coaster rides as we explored Gold Reef City, south of Johannesburg.


She was in love with David. David was married but it didn't mattered. They were together and were enjoying each other's company as they explored Gold reef city. She wanted David to be with her forever and David wanted that too. Or did he?

It was a spooky story. I was reading it and thinking do we really want to know what the future entails. It may have something which could make us not enjoy our present. As far as the story is concerned it was an okay read for me. i liked the concept. If the victim would have put a little more fight then it would have been a more thrilling read. It makes you wonder though how much you know about people that you think you know. Your colleague that you share your work space with, your friend with whom you share few chuckles or your boyfriend or girlfriend. Man, don't you think that’s scary.


3.Death of a Parrot 3.5/5

First Sentence:
I read somewhere that a sure way to kill a Parrot is to feed it avocado.

She loathes Polly more than she had hated something else. Polly was a parrot given to her by Pierre, her boyfriend and she knew Pierre loved that bird. But she has decided enough is enough. She couldn't take this anymore. She has decided to get rid of the parrot. How she does that  forms the story.

I would just say it was a nasty story. Man, i was imagining if something like this would happen to me. I don't know how i would react. As far as the idea of doing something like this is concerned its unfathomable to me. And i wonder what would happen if he really pisses his girlfriend someday.


4.Fat Werewolf in the City 3/5 

First Sentence:
"It's not my fault", Jim said, as he stared down at the bloody corpse lying at his feet.

It was not Jim's fault that he was bitten by a werewolf. But what is done can’t be undone. Now  he was a werewolf and he wanted to make the most of it. So what did Jim do? Read the story to find out.

I didn't find it scary but i don't know why i felt sad for Jim. Although it was kind of funny too. I can say more but it will ruin the story for you. Read it for yourself and then tell how you felt?

5.Firelight 4/5 

First Sentence:
The dead leaves danced in the icy wind.

Sister Mary Margaret was scared. She had never hoped to see what she had just seen. She was frightened and didn't want to go towards the church alone. So when she sees the village pub she decides to enter it for the first time.She knows she can talk to the village Vicar,father Peter there. And She hopes the firelight would keep it at bay. Who is Sister Margaret afraid of? What did she told father Peter?


It was an scary story for me. The very idea of a supernatural evil which is not afraid of what we consider holy is something that  can unhinge the mental balance. We have all grown hearing stories of evil spirits,demons and supernatural beings. But along with it it's always said that these evil entities although they exist but they are also afraid of what we consider holy. That gives us some hope. We know how can we deal with something which is not living. Now, what would happen if we find out that although the evil supernatural entities are there in the world but they are not afraid of the holy things. How will you fight them? You can't kill them. They are already dead. What will you do in this type of situation? The very core of your belief would be shaken. This is the question that faces Sister Margret here. I would love if writer turns this story into a novella. How did they overcome that entity would be thrilling to read.



6.Impundulu 3/5
First Sentence:
Rain pelted against the tin roof of the shack.

Impundunulu is a supernatural bird like creature which has associated with Inayanga's family for centuries. It can change its size and can shoot lightening bolts from it's beak. Inyanga had called it today to seek revenge. Why did she did so? Read the story to find that out.


I liked the story and the way it ended. It leaves a lot for the imagination. Every culture has some peculiar supernatural beings. I didn't know about Impundulu before and it was fun to read about it and how it works.


7.Jack's Lament 3.5/5

First Sentence:
My journey home via Madagascar had taken longer than i’d expected.

Jack works in the slave trade. He acquires slaves for selling. He’s coming back to his home after such an expedition. He’s excited to meet his wife who was pregnant when he had left. But Jack is going to get a surprise.

What was that surprise? You'll have to read the story to find that out.

Slavery is something i have difficulty my mind wrapping around. How could a human be so cruel to another? But it's a fact that these things happened and still happen at some level. Since Jack was himself in this trade so i couldn't sympathise with him. But i felt there were something that shouldn't have happened. The last part of the story was something i’m confused about. I thought they converted him to something who was cursed to roam the world as Philip says:

‘....A fate that you will soon share, but you will walk this earth forever, bound to the living.’

But in the end we are shown he’s gone to some different place which was more akin to hell.
This was confusing to me. Where was Jack gone?What work he was supposed to do?

Anyways it was a creepy story nonetheless. If you are someone like me who works in a different city than the one where your family lives then it would strike you hard. It did that to me.

8.My Life as a Peeping Tom 3.5/5

First sentence
I'm a voyeur.

The narrator just wanted to know more about the guy living across him. The guy was weird to him because of his weird living habits. But was he really weird or was it narrator's figment of imagination?

I feel we all have a voyeuristic streak. It may be more in some than other but at some level we are all curious and would try to quench our curiosity if something arises it. But then sometimes the consequences for it could be dangerous. I did  know where the story was headed but it was fun to read. The last line made me chuckle, though.

9.Slice 4/5

First Sentence:
The view from my perch was spectacular.

It was a dark,secluded place mostly frequented by people to quench their carnal desires. But there was someone else lurking there. And he was there to do more than just watch.

Every city has such places where people go for having a quite fun time.These places although provide a seclusion for the tryst but could be that much dangerous.The story which is creepy as hell revolves around that premise. if you have been to any of these places, this may affect you more because the incidents of the story could easily would have been happened to you.


10.The Bride 3.5/5

First sentence:
The old couple walked into the marriage broker's office.

The old couple was sad. They wanted a wife for their son and so they had come to this marriage broker. The problem was that the son for which they desired the wife was dead. Were they successful in their quest?

It was a creepy permise. I'll just say that love for an offspring can make people do some crazy things. I really liked the story and was wondering whether incidents like these really happened. They seem pretty plausible to me.

11.The English Soldier 2.5/5

First Sentence:
It was the coldest winter in fifty years, or so the weathermen had said before we'd made the trek out here.

Julie along with her family had come back to the farm. They used to come here every year when her father was alive. Now,they had come to bury him. He wanted to be buried along with his ancestors and they intended in doing so.

But there was something else lurking in the farm.


I liked the story but felt it was tad too long. A lot of buildup was given to it and  i felt that the end could have been better especially the confrontational part (where the characters are confronting the supernatural  entity) could have been made more thrilling.

12.The Forest 2/5

First Sentence:
One of the things i love about living in Johanesburg or Jo'burg or Jozi or whatever name you want to call this city, is the trees.

It was a routine job for her. She was an extra in an ad shoot. She thought it would be routine but was it?

It was a good story that did shock me. Let’s just end up by saying i was not expecting that. A decent story that can be read once.


13.The Head of Anubis 4/5

First Sentence:
Sweat dribbled down between Gloria's shoulder blades

When she was coming to Egypt she had such high hopes. But it was the last day of her tour and so far  Gloria was not impressed. She had wanted to be overwhelmed but the experiece had been nothing sort of what she had envisaged. But she was glad she would be back in few hours. She just had to see this last little pyramid in the Giza plateau. But sometimes best things are left for the end. Is that going to be the case for Gloria?

I loved this one. It's gory and has supernatural overtones. This one was a little more scarier for me because i like to travel to historical places like depicted in the story. And i could easily imagine the events happening to me in those places.  There are ample dark,secluded nooks and crannies which can hold surprises like what Gloria got.



14.The Reunion 4/5

First Sentence:
The wind howled over the small lake, causing white horses to form on the surface.

Frank had inherited the old house from his grandmother and had converted into a boutique hotel. He had a dream of coverting it into his dream- a five star boutique hotel. But so far he had been unsuccessful in achieving it. The house was so far away from the main access road that he didn't have as many guests as he would have liked. But today was different. Although, there was a storm coming but he also had some guests. Finally he would make some money. Or would he?

I enjoyed reading it. It's predictable but scary.


15.The Trial 3.5/5

First Sentence:
The Judge presiding over my case sat on his oversized and overstuffed throne.

Marin Brown is a writer. She's standing trial and there is little chance she'll come out of it alive. What has she done? Read the story to find out.

I loved the story and the scary part is that it's highly plausible in the future. I just hope they would be using something humane instead of a guillotine.


16.The Violin 2.5/5

First sentence:
It was the ninth and final night.

Magda had wanted nothing more than to become a talented violinist. But, it didn't matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t make it. It was not that she was bad but she didn't have the talent to be something great. But she was determined and now she had a plan. She could get what she wanted. What was Magda's plan? And was it worth it.


There are times when we yearn for something so much that we forget that there is more to life than that thing. People follow a dream in spite of knowing they don't have the talent for it. And in this process they just ignore their innate talents. This is one  such story. It was an okay read for me. There was a creepy feeling but i thought it ended too soon. I would have liked to know what happened when time given to Magda was over. Or a story that begins at that particular time. I know that would be a fun read because there would  be an struggle their which is lacking in this one.


17.Trapped 3.5/5

First Sentence:
Hey you! Yes i’m talkimg to you.

Josephine had come to Dark’s Carnival to have some fun with her friends. Now both the friends and  carnival had left in a hurry and they had left Josephine behind. She was trapped in a box and left there on. a field. Now,she is asking for help from the reader.

Why was Josephine trapped? Why did her friends leave her? Would you help her to get free from that box?

I liked the concept used in the story. T he main character is talking to the reader and hence i thing the story has much more effect than what it would have if it was written normally. Although in the middle Josephine mentions the gender of the reader and i think it would have been better if that wouldn't have been given. The story was creepy enough and as you are reading you wonder whether you should believe Josephine or she’s is just luring you for the kill. I enjoyed reading it.

I enjoyed reading  most of the stories in this collection. Most of them were good. This has definitely piqued my interest in the other longer works by the author and i would be surely reading them in the future.

If you have read the collection do tell me what were your favourites in it. If you haven't then you can get the book from the following link:
Kindle

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