Title: Video Nasties
Author: Duncan Ralston
Page Count/Review Word Count: 428
This collection of short stories was as hit and miss as any collection of short stories is, but the hits certainly made up for the misses. I still think Gristle & Bone is Ralston’s best collection of shorts, but this one wasn’t bad either and the titular story was fantastic, if a little creepy. It was one of those unpredictable short stories where you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and that was one of the reasons why it was so haunting.
I also liked the way that Ralston used the gimmick of video nasties to theme the whole book, and even the front cover ties directly back to one of the stories on top of the fact that it’s designed to look like a VHS tape. The only thing it was missing was a slip case, but I suppose that would be impractical to produce and ship it in.
If you haven’t read Ralston before then I wouldn’t suggest starting here, even though I did enjoy reading it. Ralston just has so many books out that it’s hard for me to recommend this one over either Gristle & Bone or The Method, and Woom was fantastic as well if you’re into more hardcore horror. He’s one of the authors who was on the same horror imprint as me back in the Booktrope days and while I haven’t followed everyone from those days, I grabbed one of his books back in the day and just couldn’t stop reading. He has something, although I’m not quite sure what it is, and it’s always interesting to see what he’s up to even if I don’t enjoy the book.
I did enjoy this one, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as some of his others. It was also a good choice for me to follow Night Shift by Stephen King, and I probably got a pretty similar level of enjoyment of the two of them. It’s difficult to beat Stephen King and I don’t think Ralston pulled it off here, but he did manage to match him, and that’s still pretty impressive.
All in all, I would recommend this book, but only if you’re a fan of horror shorts. If novels are more your thing, I’d suggest grabbing one of Ralston’s novels instead, but I also think you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t manage to get to him at all. What are you waiting for?