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Saturday, December 25, 2021

Book Review: Skull Full of Kisses by Michael West

Skull Full of Kisses
by Michael West
Love and evil know no bounds! Turn the page and enter a world of shadow, as Michael West brings together his most disturbing short stories--twisted tales of forbidden desires and ghoulish deeds, where nightmares manifest in the most mundane and unlikely of places... The basement of a Japanese restaurant, where a seductive creature promises comfort to a lonely hitman, if only he will set her free... A ruined city, where survivors of a natural disaster have become prey to something unnatural... An Indiana farmhouse, where a frightened child attempts to fool the Angel of Death... And the darkest regions of space, where a man fights to protect the woman he loves from invaders only he can see... Ten reasons to lock your doors. Ten reasons to keep the lights on. Ten reasons why you may never sleep again.
Praise for Skull Full of Kisses 

"(Michael West) gave me nightmares!" ~Anne Boedeker, E! -Entertainment Television 

"This is damned serious stuff, and it's scary, suspenseful, and sweat-inducing; but more importantly - perhaps most importantly - it's all disturbing as hell, and cannot be easily forgotten." ~Gary A. Braunbeck, author of Coffin Countyand Mr. Hands (on Dark Harvest) 

"Michael West proves himself to be a masterful storyteller, flawless in building momentum, and his skills in characterization match or even often surpass some of the most successful writers in the business." ~Nicholas Grabowsky, author of Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Myers, and The Everborn (on The Wide Game)
Michael West is a horror writer. I know that’s a simple statement but it actually carries a lot of weight. And something that West obviously takes a lot of pride in. In his ten story collection, SKULL FULL OF KISSES, West takes us through different lands and even different times, each one with a nightmare all its own.

There are demons. Ghosts. Aliens. Serial killers. Dinosaurs…freaking dinosaurs. West makes the reader feel like we’re glued to the old late-night horror show on television. I couldn’t wait to get to the next story to see what other monster was waiting for me. What wicked twist was going to grab me and get my heart pounding in my chest? Okay, sure, I guessed a few of the surprise endings, but the journey was more than enough.

As passionate as the creativity is in this collection, West equally proves to be a skilled writer. His stories are tight, no wasted words with excellent pacing. Here is a writer who knows his craft and it allows him to cut loose and have fun with his horror. Even his title shows how playful West is--it comes from the fact at conventions West actually has a skull full of chocolate kisses for fans.

If there is a flaw with the book, it’s in the actual printing itself. My print copy had sections where the print was faded and difficult to read. Hopefully, this isn’t common in other copies but it did distract me and pull me from the stories. Other than that, the quality was top-notch; formatting, blurbs (of which there are plenty), a back section of ads, and a cover that catches the eye.

I had read a few West stories as they’ve appeared in various magazines but it wasn’t until this collection that I was able to see his versatility. In just these ten stories there are traditional campfire horror, Asian horror, Sci-Fi, erotica, Lovecraftian beasts, and splatterpunk gore. Each one is polished to a point, impossible to see any rough patches during West’s career over the years. But what stands out most to me is the pure passion.

Michael West is a horror writer. If you are a fan of the genre, you’ll be happy he has shared this with us.

5 Sheep

Guest Reviewer: Belle Bivdavo

About the author:
Michael West is the bestselling author of Cinema of Shadows, Spook House, The Wide Game, Skull Full of Kisses, and the critically-acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series.   He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, and their dog, King Seesar.

His children are convinced that spirits move through the woods near their home.

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