The Bottom Feeders and Other Stories
by Aaron Polson
Skull Salad Press
Okay, full disclosure: I'm a reviewer with Aaron's Skull Salad Reviews, so let's just get that out of the way right now. Still, any online acquaintance we may have doesn't negate the fact that I've enjoyed his short fiction since discovering his blog a couple of years ago. I also bought this Kindle book--albeit for a sweet 99 cents if you're interested--so this wasn't swag.
In this collection, Aaron Polson brings together fourteen short stories with varying degrees of a dark sentiment. Some carry a rather tragic characteristic, while some can be described as downright sinister.
The collection starts with a rather brief story called "Everything in its Place" that sets the weird tale tone immediately. From there, things take a dip into the disturbing with "In Hollow Fields," which wound up being one of my favorites from the collection.
Another story that wound up a memorable one from the book was "The Bottom Feeders," which comes at the very end and serves as a stark and tragic bookmark to the beginning of the book. A story of two boys and their fishing trip back in the woods, in which something in the lake scares on and steals the other.
If I'm going to be critical about the book, it will be to simply note some instances where pacing and awkward switches from past to present tense inside stories caught my eye, but such distractions were few and far between.
The hook in each story was the life breathed into Aaron's characters. "In Hollow Fields", "The Bottom Feeders", and "Little Water Echoes" are particular instances of where the characters are not larger than life, but jump off the page because they feel very genuine.
If you've got a Kindle, are willing to spare a buck, and give an up-and-coming author a chance, I recommend this collection as a calling card and a sign of things to come from Aaron Polson.