Book Review: Counterphobia By William Hage

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***I received a free copy from the Paranormal and Horror Lovers group on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review***

I loved this horror short story collection. It had 7 stories in total, each covering a different phobia. I really liked the suspense building up and then all hell breaking loose. There were interesting twist and turns, and I loved how the beginning always connected with the ending. It made the stories even more chilling. The author was great with painting a picture, so I could get every spooky detail in the scenes.

Welcome Home (Nostophobia)

This was one of my favorites. John was a writer who came back to his childhood home once his father died. I loved the twist on his parents’ deaths, especially his mother’s. With the house having human traits, it made things more creepy. There was also a good twist of who the neighbors were. I didn’t see the end coming! When John started reading his dad’s crazed medical journal, I got an eerie sense. Boy was I correct! My favorite lines: 1) Sanity is not a choice. 2) He was a monster, and a god damned murderer! 3) Despite what you’ve done, I don’t want you to suffer.

No One Lives Forever (Thanatophobia)

This was one of my favorites. There was a tragic event in an elevator. People died. Luckily, Jacob didn’t get on that particular elevator that day. Ever since the accident, he kept seeing a white-haired male ghost. I really enjoyed the mystery of who the ghost was, and I loved the twist at the end. My favorite lines: 1) The event still raged on in his mind. The screams, the cries, the sirens. 2) I thought it was pretty obvious who I was.”

Chuckles the Clown (Coulrophobia)

In this story, the father and son bonding was cute. The family went to a carnival and split up, leaving the men at the arcade. The dad saw a clown, and he’s terribly afraid of clowns. It turned out that it wasn’t an ordinary clown–it was a vampire. Instead of blood, vampires eat souls. I liked that mythology. To me, vampires are supposed to be scary and threatening, not romantic (unless you’re Damon Salvatore, then you can be both). I jumped out of my seat at the scary image of: “The statute sprinted under the bed, carried by its miniature legs.” I don’t play with things under the bed! Or in the closet! My favorite line: “Fun is knowing that it’s coming. How would you like to play a game?”

Porcelain (Pediophobia)

This was one of my favorites. It was written in first person point-of-view. During his travels, the main character picked up an antique doll for his young daughter. Those type of dolls give me the heebie jeebies. The doll’s name was Alice, and let me tell ya, she was CREEPY. The author was great with setting details, so I could imagine every feet patter and slam against the door. I was so scared that I had to move in a room with people in it, so I wouldn’t put the book down in fright. The doll was on a mission, and nothing was going to stand in her way. It was a nice twist of the bed and breakfast owner. I feared for the main character’s life, and even though the police detective didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing, I still respected him. There were murders throughout the apartment building. My favorite line: “I guess I like to collect history. I collect stories.”

The Shape (Sciophobia)

You know what, let me just tell the truth. I’m a huge scaredy cat. Just about everything scares me. Mirrors are one of those things that I don’t mess with it either (ever since that Kiefer Sutherland movie). Anyway, in this story, Kyle and Dean are brothers who happen to be roommates. The story is told through Kyle’s point-of-view. In the mirror, he sees a shadow. It seems like whenever he stops looking at it, then it stops moving. Some of Kyle’s actions confused me. He seemed a little too calm, considering some shadow haunting him. He didn’t let his brother know, so I feared for Dean’s safety too. I would’ve moved or stayed in a hotel for a little while.

The Lake (Limnophobia)

Charlie is alarmed when it looks like the grass is about to swallow a little boy whole. When he goes to save him, tentacles pull him under water. He doesn’t drown, but something drastic happens to him. I felt bad, especially the way people treated him.

The Sinkhole (Agateophobia)

This was one of my favorites. It was told through first person-point-of-view and the main character talked to the reader. I loved this approach because the story felt more real. I know he was a made up character, but it still felt like these events could have happened in Florida, like a cover up. Florida is notorious for sinkholes. His brother surveyed land to help repair these holes for homeowners. One day, he tags the main character along, and they come across a deep, black water, sinkhole. He’s never the same after that. The writer was great in showing how the main character was slowly losing it. Or was he? You’ll have to read to find out. My favorite lines: 1) A cryptozoologist’s wet dream, and yet everyone’s nightmare. 2) Something was waiting for me and it was either glorious or horrific and I didn’t know which, but I knew I had to go back.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

 

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