I saved this review for last for two reasons. I am the author and it would be rather inappropriate for me to review my own story. Secondly, I was waiting to see if anyone else reviewed it so I could at least share that review.
Although my full length books View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale and Riddle are romantic thrillers, my favorite genre is horror. In fact most of y short stories are horror. So it should come as no surprise that Old Habits, my contribution to Twisted Tales, is a good old fashioned horror story.
A review has been posted for the entire anthology on Amazon and I have decided to share that with you. I will also include an excerpt from the story.
5.0 out of 5 starsTwisted Tales
By Bookworm on March 19, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
I downloaded this anthology on the strength of being familiar with the work of only one of the contributing authors. I’ve read and enjoyed a number of Jean Gill’s work so had no qualms about taking the opportunity to sample the contributions of her fellow authors. I wasn’t disappointed.
This is an accomplished, eclectic mix in genre, style and length of stories, perfect to dip into when time is limited or to read in its entirety if you can’t resist. I intended reading one story per day over coffee but found once I’d begun I was drawn onto the next and the next…
I’m impressed at the variety of the work on offer and the quality of the writing. From the first, ‘will he, won’t he?’ morality tale, to the last story of opposites with shared misconceptions, and all those in between, each one was captivating in its own way. Too many to mention individually but one in particular ‘Old Habits’ an unnerving psychological/horror story by Elizabeth Horton Newton was one of my favourites. The main character Gaunt was so well drawn he stayed with me long after I’d finished the story. So much so, that I’ve just downloaded one of her full length novels.
I’m glad to have been introduced to the work of so many different authors through this anthology and would recommend it whole heartedly.
I look forward to seeking out more of their work in the future.”
Old Habits by Elizabeth Horton-Newton
Gaunt’s first vehicle was his late step-fathers old red pick-up. It sat in his Uncle Bud’s back yard. It sat there from the day Gaunt went to live with Uncle Bud after the misfortune that took his mother and step-father. Gaunt was twelve when it happened. He came home from church to find his mother laying in a pool of drying blood on the kitchen floor, flies buzzing merrily around her dead body. The hot August sun shone through the open kitchen window and the hole in the screen where the flies gathered in a hungry frenzy.
Amazingly Gaunt kept his cool and called the police. Long before the recording of 911 calls, the police dispatcher recalled the call clearly. It was the biggest crime in Burkesville in fifteen years.
“This is Gaunt Thibideaux. I just came home from church and my mother is dead on the floor.”
Jessie Lee Bowen inhaled sharply. “Gaunt? Gaunt Thibideaux? Are you sure she’s dead? Did you try to wake her up?”
“No m’am. I didn’t try to wake her.”
“Well Gaunt maybe she’s just passed out from heat. Can you try to wake her?” Jessie Lee was already signaling Deputy Floyd who sat tilted back in the Chief’s office chair sucking an icy Coke from a glass bottle.
“M’am there’s blood everywhere. I’m pretty sure she’s dead.” Gaunt’s voice remained steady as though he was discussing finding a dead and bloody mouse.
The mention of blood got Jessie Lee’s attention and she began to gesture at the deputy more frantically. “Well Gaunt, can you tell where the blood is coming from?”
“Everywhere.” Gaunt said it simply.
Wordlessly Jessie Lee handed the phone to the deputy. Her mouth hung open, the beads of sweat on her upper lip creating a translucent moustache.
“Gaunt this is Dep’ty Floyd son. What’s going on there?” Deputy Floyd hooked his thumb in a belt loop, thrusting his hips slightly forward.
“Hello Deputy Floyd. I just came home from church and my mother is dead.” Gaunt began again.
Deputy Floyd and Jessie Lee stared at one another as Gaunt repeated his cool and dispassionate revelation. “Son is anyone else in the house?” Deputy Floyd struggled to pull his gun belt off the back of the chair where had so recently reclined knocking the glass Coke bottle to the floor in the process. Jessie Lee never moved but continued staring at the deputy as though entranced by his ungainly acrobatics. Holding the phone between his chin and his shoulder the deputy put on his belt. “Now Gaunt I want you to listen to me boy. I want you to get outside the house as quick and quiet as you can. You hear me boy?”
“Yes sir. Get out quick and quiet.” Gaunt swatted at a fly that landed on his hand that was resting comfortably on the table.
“We’re on our way. Now go on son.” Without waiting for a response Deputy Floyd dropped the phone into its cradle and headed for the door, calling back over his shoulder, “Jessie Lee get on the horn and get the Chief and see if you can Doc Martin on the phone.”
Jessie Lee was about to point out there didn’t seem to be much need for the doctor but the deputy was already out the door. It took him less than five minutes to pull up in front of the Thibideaux residence and he was relieved to see Gaunt outside although he was not too pleased to see him sitting on the front porch swing.
“Get off there boy and go stand by my car,” he hissed, gesturing somewhat frantically at Gaunt.
Obligingly Gaunt got up from the swing and moved down the front steps passing within a few inches of the deputy who had drawn his service revolver. Floyd glanced at the boy quickly and noted he was in shock, his eyes staring straight ahead and his movements almost robotic.
As soon as the deputy moved into the house the coppery scent of blood assailed him. One hand went up to cover his nose and mouth as he followed the odor into the kitchen. Gaunt’s report had not prepared him for the mess that lay on the kitchen floor. Slapping his hand over his mouth he stumbled back out the front door and ended up vomiting over the side of the front porch knocking several wine cooler bottles into the dirt. As he wiped his handkerchief across his mouth he looked up to see Gaunt standing beside the patrol car, arms hanging loosely at his sides. A chill touched the back of his neck and he shivered slightly. For a brief moment a warning light went off in his head but he shrugged it away. He put Gaunt’s odd behavior off as shock. After all, what twelve year old boy wouldn’t be horrified to find his mother stabbed to death on the kitchen floor?
I hope you will download a free copy of Twisted Tales. This anthology will give you a taste of some of the finest indie author’s around. I suspect you will go on to read the books of some of the contributors. As indie writer’s we live for our reviews, good or not so good. Every review has value for an indie for it lets us know when we are hitting our mark. When you have read Twisted Tales please take a moment to let us know what you liked or didn’t like. Tell your friends about the books you enjoy so they can share the pleasure of reading. Don’t hesitate to ask what they are reading.
Thanks for reading! Don’t ever stop. You might just be a character in my next book!
Reader’s Circle Avenue Park – Elizabeth Horton-Newton
Elizabeth Horton-Newton, Amazon Author Page
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Elizabeth Horton-Newton: An Author Interview
2 thoughts on “TWISTED TALES: 15 Literary Lies & Epic Yarns: Old Habits by Elizabeth Horton-Newton”
It must be wonderful if you wrote it!
Thanks so much Mary! It’s pure horror, no romance in this one!