Every morning I peruse the list of currently free Amazon Kindle titles, and this Tuesday morning I was quite happy to see that Cemetery Dance Publications set the price of Brian James Freeman's Seven Stories collection to free for a limited time (the sale ends Saturday!). By Tuesday afternoon of this price change, Seven Stories was #1 in the free part of the Anthologies for Kindle section of Amazon.com in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany! I wouldn't be surprised if it breaks the top 100 overall too. It is that good. Why does this please me? Well, I'm excited to hear other people's opinions on these works that have been such a joy to me. I purchased this collection a few days after it came out in July 2010, and I've read each one of them at least twice since then…and I don't normally read books or stories more than once.
Seven Stories contains seven excellent horror pieces. Mr. Freeman is a master of quiet horror and he is masterful at making the reader feel. Many of his stories will leave you with questions and unease, but this is obviously what the author wants, and it works so well! He takes the reader on the ride, and then jumps out of the car that is careening toward…the readers own conclusions. Many of his stories have left me breathless, fidgety, and yet fully satisfied. I love dwelling in their worlds for hours after I've finished.
Reading Brian James Freeman's works over the years has made a few things come to light for me. Many of his stories interconnect. Mostly it is just setting and places (Black Hills, Pennsylvania and Black Rock Lake to name a couple), but there and characters that re-appear and even some actions (like running). These interconnections are included in his longer works too (like Black Fire, written under the pseudonym James Kidman). He's taken these themes and places and built them up enough to make them very real in my mind. In many ways this is like the way Stephen King has reoccurring characters and places (like Castle Rock) in his works. It isn't distracting at all, and it isn't essential to the understanding and enjoyment of any of his pieces. It is just something cool that his constant readers will notice.
One piece, "A Dreamlike State," has become quite an obsession with me. It is a piece of a greater jigsaw puzzle that intrigues me a great deal. Mr. Freeman wrote another piece (not included in Seven Stories, but available on Amazon) called "The Silent Attic" that has very direct links to "A Dreamlike State." Mr. Freeman succeeded in making me feel genuine emotions for the characters and I got very wrapped up in the mystery of how their entire world got to where it was in these stories. I became so obsessed with the world of these two works that I took copious notes and ended up eventually emailing Brian James Freeman a bunch of questions, theories, praise, and more. He responded graciously, but he wouldn't give me too many clues except to say that there would be more of this world to be read soon (Yay!). If "more of this world to be read soon" means a novel (please, please, please), I will be first in line for it.
The time is ripe to start reading Brian James Freeman's works. Each of his stories is getting better with every release (a hard thing to do because they are all excellent), and his style is quite addicting. His Seven Stories collection is a great place to start (and FREE is a great price to help you get started). If the "Free" promotion is over by the time you are reading this, believe me, the regular price is well worth it! Brian James Freeman's blog mentions that some physical releases (plural!) collecting his short fiction will eventually come out, but this could be years in the future for all I know. I cannot wait to add those to my physical library shelves, but in the meantime, I am very happy being able to read his works on my eReader.
Seven Stories by Brian James Freeman includes:
"Walking With the Ghosts of Pier 13"
"Answering the Call"
"The Punishment Room"
"What They Left Behind"
"A Dreamlike State"
"Where Sunlight Sleeps"
Robert Brouhard is a freelance writer and Assistant Editor. His poetry has appeared in Death in Common: Poems from Unlikely Victims edited by Rich Ristow, and he has additional poetry and short stories scheduled to appear in other anthologies in the future. You can catch him writing reviews at Mark Sieber's Horror Drive-In, and he also tries to keep a blog about (mostly children's) books going called Book ‘em Bob.