“Abhorrent”, by Michelle Merz – Review

Abhorrent is a collection of horror stories by Michelle Merz. Each story requires only a few minutes to read, making them perfect for short breaks or anytime when longer periods aren’t available. The stories run from tales of the supernatural to those of purely human monsters. One story, Emergency, spans five shorter tales before wrapping things up. Stories include nightmares within dreams, schoolgirl invocations, itches which demand scratching, fancy dinner parties, unlikely snuff video fans, aspects of working 911, rubber ducky games, crowds of creepy children, and one more thing to worry about when handing your keys to a parking valet. As far as could be readily determined, no pets were killed off in any of the stories.

I found Michelle Merz to have an excellent touch when building her Abhorrent stories; tension is built appropriately, characters are remarkably well-rounded and vivid for short or flash fiction pieces. In addition most of the stories have endings you definitely will not see coming. My favorite story is Dinner which, in my opinion, is the exemplar of those aspects. If you’ve ever had a hard-to-reach itch, your skin might start to crawl reading Itch/Scratch, I know mine did. All of the sub-stories in Emergency are strong alone and again the global ending came as a delightfully macabre surprise. I don’t know how many more of these stories Michelle Merz has in her catalog but, based on the strength of Abhorrent, I would eagerly read them as well.

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite