Review written by Shiela Tamerline
"September And Other Stories" by Julie Ann Dawson
Author: Julie Ann Dawson
Publisher: Lulu Press
softcover, 188 pgs
Simultaneously dark, creepy, and quirky, September and Other Storiesis a collection of 16 horror short stories and poems by writer Julie AnnDawson. Horror fans looking for something original and entertainingwill enjoy the range of writing styles and unexpected plot twists thatfill this book.
The collection includes a variety of flash fiction pieces, including myfavorite story, Voodoo. Voodoo relates the events that transpiredwhen a co-worker asked the author to make a voodoo doll of their boss.Dawson's wit and odd sense of humor come into play beautifully in thisstory. Another flash fiction piece, A Daughter's Pride, focuses on ayoung woman's thirst for revenge after her aging parents are the victimsof home invaders. Bad Karma tells the tale of a selfish man whoawakens from a bad dream, only to discover it wasn't a dream after all.
Dawson's short stories are engaging and thought-provoking. The storyTo Dine With a Demon *tells the tale of a writer who agrees to adinner date with a young college co-ed, and discovers she's not what sheappears to be. But this isn't your normal "sell-your-soul" story.Instead, the demon isn't looking for the writer's soul, but his help inthe final battle against God. Dawson presents an alternative theorybehind the Fall of Humanity that leaves you wondering whos side youshould be on. *Bus 264 is a reverse ghost story of sorts, telling thetale of a frightened teenager who, upon discovering she was pregnant,decides to try and get to the clinic for an abortion before her parentscome home from vacation. The internal and external dialogue between theprotagonist and the other girl sharing the bench waiting for the bus isheart-breaking.
In the novella, September, Dawson provokes the feel of early 20thcentury pulp fiction with a story of three affluent sisters journeyingto Cairo in search of the tomb of a forgotten pharaoh. The story istold from the perspective of Natasha Collins, a professor of philosophyand religion who just so happens to possess an uncanny knack forcommunicating with the dead. The novella is part H. P. Lovecraft, partMummy Returns, and entirely entertaining. Natasha also appears in thestory A Candle for Imbolc, when she and a ghostly companioninvestigate the death of a fellow professor, and the story The Horrorin the Attic, where Natasha is asked by a friend of her mother's toinvestigate an apparent suicide in the woman's house.
The stories move quickly and the dialoque is fresh and enjoyable. Thisbook is a fine addition to any horror or dark fantasy library.