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.