A short collection of short horror stories from a new-to-me author, Steven Jenkins, Spine contains the usual gaggle of variable tales, some good, some okay, and a couple that were not at all to my taste.
Of the former, It's a Wonderful Death nicely straddles the line between allegory for depression and true possession story, Watch Over Me strikes an uncomfortable chord for anybody who has dealt with a terminal disease personally or by proxy through a loved one, and One Pill for Perfect Vision sets up an intriguing world in which a particular drug allows people to communicate with the dead and briefly explores what the fall out of such a drug might be.
The Our-Side, by contrast, feels like a quality set-up for an excellent novel but abruptly ends having barely scratched the surface of what could have been, while Crawl Space is very middle-of-the-road and offers nothing new while taking up an enviable amount of space in this 104 page collection. Likewise The Devil's Apprentice proves overly predictable, and All Eyes on Me does nothing to make itself stand out in its relativity short page count. But the most disappointing story is the longest. The Home has a great deal of potential as it details one carer's experiences at a nursing home for the dying, yet it too often descends into cliché without delivering any notable scares.
Though the writing is technically quite good, and I would be happy to return to another collection of stories by Jenkins, all in all, I would be hoping for something more consistent across the board if I were to do so.
3 Perfectly Cognizant, Eternal Waits for Spine.