Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for the short story collection, A Bowl of Cherries by F.E.Birch.
There’s nothing cosy about these crimes.
Succulent rich stories of the dark and unknown that might terrify, horrify, or deliciously delight. Thirty-two prize winning and/or previously published tales that contain themes of death, destruction, abuse and emotion, each one a veritable stride into a unique and different world. From the psychologically disturbed, the raging mad, the vulnerability of victims, and desperately needy, there’s not much that isn’t covered in the dark genre for those that like their stories to be troubling, distressing and quirky. NOT for the faint of heart, this comes with a triple X warning!
I do love short stories. For me they hold the same thrill as sneaking a peek into living rooms lit up, curtains open as you stroll past on one of those early evenings in winter. A brief interlude into another’s life. So I was of course tempted by this collection of 34 short stories, some as short as a handful of lines, the longest about 14 pages long. My copy arrived, inside a note alongside the author’s signature, ‘ Hope you like your stories dark.’ I was certainly intrigued.
The first story, ‘Bowl of Cherries’ was certainly that. A story filled with the darker side of seduction following events that you knew wouldn’t end nicely. Yet all in all this is a rather eclectic mix of stories. Stories like ‘On the Beach’ and ‘All About Joanna’ we’re in ways a little distressing, horror filled and sinister. Others such a ‘Tiny Little Feet’, A Man Called Andy and ‘ You Can’t Change Time’, were incredibly moving. I have to say the latter was my personal favourite, as heartbreaking as it was, but beautiful too. But there is also so much more, stories that will play with the mind, confuse and unnerve you, and even stories that are oddly surreal.
Effie is an established writer and has had scores of stories published. And amongst the darkness and horror are pieces of writing that is in itself stunning. Not all of these stories were to my taste. They provoke emotions and some are rather explicit but that is the beauty of a short story collection. You will always find your favourites, those stories that will linger with you after and always become a part of your memory.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Effie (F.E.Birch) for sending me a signed copy to review.
Favourite story: ‘You Can’t Change Time’
Favourite first line:
Everything was different on the day the hedgehogs failed to come.’From ‘Hedgehogs, Green Bottles, and Lilies’
Most moving story: ‘Forever Day’
Most disturbing story: Bowl of Cherries
About the author
Effie Merryl is an ex-cop who spends her time between the North East of England and Central Scotland. She won the first Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect in 2012 with the manuscript that will hopefully become her debut crime novel. She is the pseudonymous author of a ‘faction’ book of memoirs published by Harper Collins in 2013. She has had over 150 short stories published online and in print, many of which have been placed in competitions (2004 – present). Her short story collection, Bowl of Cherries, contains some of her best prize winners, and is released on Amazon Kindle under the name F.E. Birch.
You can follow Effie on Twitter at @EffieMerryl