Book Review: Dead Leaves

DEAD LEAVES | Kealan Patrick Burke
09.18.2018 | Independently published
Rating: 4/5 stars


DEAD LEAVES is a collection of nine short stories that are all about different creepy and interesting topics. Since Goodreads already had a great synopsis for each short story, I’m just going to snag that for you all to read!

This was a soulless, senseless, unhallowed place where the ground prospered on the bones of more strangers. No one mattered here, neither the living nor the dead.

Two brothers find themselves drawn to the only house in the neighborhood not decorated for Halloween…

A man returns to his hometown to bury his overbearing mother, and finds more than memories awaiting him in the shadows of his childhood home…

A young girl walks a lonely country road, recalling a rhyme that brings with it memories of death…

A teenager hoping for romance gets more than he bargained for when the object of his desire introduces him to the object of hers…

An aging millionaire awakes buried in a cheap coffin with only a lamp and a bell for company…

The son of a woman accused of being a witch accepts the villagers’ peace offering at her funeral, but all is not quite as it seems…A woman with a violent past realizes that this year’s Halloween party may be coming for her…

And a lonely trick-or-treater awakes in a house rumored to be a place of death.

It was Halloween after all and even the weather was playing it’s part to establish a deliciously sinister mood; burnt-orange leaves skittered along the pavement like giggling children and misshapen orange heads with candles for brains dotted the decks and porches of every house along the street.

Enticed yet? DEAD LEAVES is such a Fall/Halloween/seasonally appropriate read, but could easily be mixed into a TBR at any point. I felt that each story had its own distinct plot and unique set of characters. I learned that seven of the nine stories were actually reprints from other collections Burke has put out, but I’ve never read those, so they were all new to me. For me there were three standout stories: Andromeda, The Tradition, and The One Night of the Year. It’s much harder to give a review of a short story collection than I had anticipated, simply because they’re so brief that I don’t want to give away details. If you have read anything by Burke before, I would compare these stories with what we have come to expect from his fantastic novellas. Each story packs a punch in a short amount of time and some of them certainly lingered with me after (I’m looking at you Andromeda).

I’m fading. Are you there? Tell me you won’t leave. I’m scared. See how it watches me? See how it wants me?

Bonus reason to buy this book: Burke includes a reading list of horror book and a watching list of horror movies!

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