Author: BJ Sheppard
Pages/Word Count: 139 Pages
At a Glance: This author’s creativity is not only impressive, but he’s also just a bit disturbed in only the best possible way.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: As night descends on the town of Devil’s Jawbone, no one is safe. The veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and the darkest side of human nature is boiling to the surface. The supernatural and the natural are colliding, and in this sleepy town, the bump in the night is taking human form. Innocence will be lost; the villain will become the victor; spirits will rise and Satan himself will come to town.
In an eerie collection of short speculative fiction, author BJ Sheppard will grab your imagination, bringing new life to the classic campfire tales synonymous with the scariest of occasions. Halloween will never be the same again.
Review: Welcome to Devil’s Jawbone, the place where a person’s convictions can be every bit as terrifying as their afflictions…where the only difference between a surgeon and a butcher lies somewhere within intent.
Author BJ Sheppard has tapped into the darker side of his imagination and pulled together a collection of horror stories that showcase the human monster which has the potential of lurking within all of us. Starting with “Legion,” this anthology takes on an eerie tone as the author begins to draw his circle. Imagery and allegory are painted in rich tones of the unknown in a poetic prose that does nothing but make the reader curious about what sort of place he’s leading us into. As it turns out, this author’s creativity is not only impressive, but he’s also just a bit disturbed in only the best possible way for those of us who love a good chill up our spines.
As we move along through each of the subsequent tales, we witness every human failing that can be twisted into horrifying realities—because, as we all know, it’s not the unknown and impossible we should fear most. What ought to strike true terror in the hearts of man is the potential for evil that lives among us, those whose fanatical persuasions and twisted passions and psychological maladaptation are as nearby as the killer who walks by us on the sidewalk and decides whether today is the day we live or die. This omnibus of the macabre leads its readers through the valley of the shadow of death, and we… we should fear its evil.
No one is immune from Sheppard’s distorted treatment of life and death and the in-between in Devil’s Jawbone. From mothers to serial murders, we are offered a glimpse inside the minds of the afflicted. From a twisting of the innocence of a child, to the betrayal of a lover which sets the wheels of retribution into motion, to the reimagining of “The Hook” (that scary little childhood tale so many of once told as we huddled under our blankets), each of these short stories seem to have nothing in common save for their setting and the fact that they’re each more deliciously disturbing than the next. Until, that is, the author’s deft and well-crafted finale, “The Devil at the Crossroads,” which brings the entire collection back around upon itself and ties everything together into a single tapestry that left me more than a little gleeful at its cleverness.
Being a true lover of horror, especially the sort of which exposes a terrifying side to our humanness, I found myself flipping the pages of Devil’s Jawbone and telling myself, “This story is my favorite.” Until I got to the end of the next and had to reevaluate my opinion. Do I have a favorite? If hard pressed I would say it’s “The Ties That Bind,” only because there’s a special sort of depravity in its romantic notions, which I found wickedly lovely.
As the horror genre isn’t a niche everyone frequents, I can’t say I’d recommend this novel to the tried and true romance aficionados, but I can say without an instant of hesitation that BJ Sheppard has offered enthusiasts of the morbid an unsafe haven called Devil’s Jawbone, a place I was more than glad to reside in for a while.
From the safe distance of my Kindle, of course.
You can buy Devil’s Jawbone here: