WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CREEPY by Marianne Halbert

Marianne Halbert’s collection of stories, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CREEPY, contains nine stories ranging from horror to sci-fi to crime. What stands out in each is how well-developed the characters are, a difficult task in the constraint of a short story. My personal favorites were “Invisible Fences“, “The House of Abandoned Characters” and “A Used Infinity”.

“Invisible Fences” – A self-employed fence builder makes a startling discovery inside a house where he’s working. This is a powerful story of loss and despair.

“The House of Abandoned Characters” – This tale takes us to the realm literary characters go after being cut from a story. It creates a neat universe that would be fun to visit again. This would make a great Twilight Zone episode.

“The Bellwether Effect” – A doctor interviews a man who claims to be from another time.

“Beyond a Shadow” – A skilled lawyer tries to prove his client’s innocence. Nothing supernatural here, but it is a well-crafted courtroom drama with a twist ending.

“A Used Infinity” – The GPS of a man’s newly-purchased car keeps directing him to a location for its own reasons in this eerie supernatural mystery.

“A Crowd Pleaser” – A former Nascar crewman attends the Brickyard 400 and meets a peculiar man who invites him up to his hospitality suite. Things take a dark turn once secrets are revealed.

“Seizure Sundays” – A disabled, homeless man and his brother struggle to survive on the streets.

“The Bane of Existence” – A man tells his psychiatrist he believes his mother is a werewolf.

“The Last Specter” – A ghost tries to solve the mystery of who is causing his fellow specters to disappear from their society.

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