That Which Grows Wild
Eric J. Guignard
Short story collection — 16 short stories
Release Date: June 2018
Review copy received from author in exchange for honest review
Description: That Which Grows Wild collects sixteen dark and masterful short stories by award-winning author Eric J. Guignard. Equal parts whimsy and weird, horror and heartbreak, this debut collection traverses the darker side of the fantastic through vibrant and harrowing tales that depict monsters and regrets, hope and atonement, and the oddly changing reflection that turns back at you in the mirror.
Discover why, after only several years, Eric J. Guignard has developed an ardent following and earned praise by masters of the craft such as Ramsey Campbell (“Guignard gives voice to paranoid vision that’s all too believable.”) and Rick Hautala (“No other young horror author is better, I think, than Eric J. Guignard.”)
Table of Contents includes:
A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love
Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos
Footprints Fading in the Desert
The House of the Rising Sun, Forever
The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co.
Those Who Watch From On High
A Curse and a Kiss
Whispers of the Earth
A Serving of Nomu Sashimi
Certain Sights of an Afflicted Woman
A Journey of Great Waves
A Quaint Ol’ Bigfoot Tale
Dreams of a Little Suicide
Review: I was excited to read this short story collection by Eric J. Guignard, who is as brilliant a writer as he is an editor. I also found the cover art to be amazingly good and to set the tone for the collection. Many stories were of the post-apocalyptic variety, which while not my cup of tea, were still written very well and I enjoyed reading through them.
Highlights for me included “Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos,” which, as the title implies, is about a gunslinger in Arizona who has a life in high mountain caves. Guignard excels at the Weird Western subgenre and I think he should write more of these. In this tale there were hoppers, which were odd monsters in the context of a father trying to protect his children. I felt there was great suspense and tension throughout with high stakes, and a memorable ending.
Guignard also excels at writing historical tales particularly well, such as “Momma,” which I enjoyed. One of the themes of the collection and that ran through this story was of families and desperate situations; how much they’re willing to risk to save each other, and sacrifice.
Another highlight for me was the Beauty and the Beast re-telling, “A Curse and a Kiss” while I enjoyed the Southern main character in the first half of “The House of the Rising Sun, Forever.” The story “Vancouver Fog” presented the tale of someone who can’t let go of a loved one after death, which highlighted another of the collection’s strong themes: death and grieving. Overall, Guignard presents an excellent assortment of stories in this volume. Fans of his work should definitely check it out.
About the Author: Eric J. Guignard is a writer and editor of dark and speculative fiction, operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles, where he also runs the small press, Dark Moon Books. He’s won the Bram Stoker Award, been a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award, and a multi-nominee of the Pushcart Prize.
He has over 100 stories and non-fiction works appearing in publications such as NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE, GAMUT, BLACK STATIC, SHOCK TOTEM, and DARK DISCOVERIES MAGAZINE. As editor, Eric’s published six anthologies, such as Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations , After Death… , The Five Senses of Horror , +Horror Library+ Volume 6 , and A World of Horror , a showcase of international horror short fiction.
Additionally, he’s created an ongoing series of primers exploring modern masters of literary dark short fiction, titled: Exploring Dark Short Fiction ( Vol. I: Steve Rasnic Tem ; Vol. II: Kaaron Warren ; Vol. III: Nisi Shawl ; Vol. IV: Jeffrey Ford; Vol. V: Han Song; Vol. VI: Ramsey Campbell).
Read his short story collection That Which Grows Wild: 16 Tales of Dark Fiction (Cemetery Dance), standalone novella Baggage of Eternal Night (JournalStone), and watch for forthcoming books, including the novel Crossbuck ’Bo.
Outside the glamorous and jet-setting world of indie fiction, Eric’s a technical writer and college professor, and he stumbles home each day to a wife, children, cats, and a terrarium filled with mischievous beetles. Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.