*Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*
May 24, 1944
The damp air smothered Hans with a slow asphyxiation of hot sweat, carbon dioxide, and diesel fuel. Each breath grew more and more tortured, not so much from the pervasive soggy drip of foul moisture clogging his lungs, but from the thought of what caused the U-292 German submarine to shudder, as if in anticipation.
The U-boat was cruising along the surface in attack mode with other subs in the wolf pack. They preyed upon the merchant cargo ships that crossed the unforgiving sea from Newfoundland to England. Each time the ship shook, a torpedo was sent away through the frigid North Atlantic Ocean towards its hapless convoy target.
Hans sat in the narrow toilet stall behind a flimsy curtain screen, leaning forward with his head cradled by his trembling hands, ashamed of his behavior, but unable to control it any more. He carefully eased a photograph from his uniform’s breast pocket. Stroking the portrait of his love, Greta, he wondered yet again how he was going to stay sane – U-boat service extracted a heavy toll upon him.
He winced yet again…
Hans thought he could hear the harsh shriek of the enemy vessels tearing apart after each torpedo hit, but he knew that was unlikely, for the submarine’s twin diesel engines were humming along at low throttle inn the nearby bulkhead compartment.
He had heard that sound before, the dreadful shearing metal sound of sinking ships, and it haunted him. Like being underneath a waterfall, thunderous bubbling accompanied the dying throes of a merchant ship as it cracked open like a fragile egg shell, the deadly water flooding inside and the sailors within… he swore that he could hear the sounds of their lost souls screaming, just like in his nightmares.
What would you do if fate led you astray into a grim world where you encountered vengeful ghosts, homicidal maniacs, ancient gods, apocalyptic nightmares, dark magic, deadly space aliens, and more?
If you dare, why not find out?
Read for yourself the twenty-two gloriously provocative tales that dwell within this book – but be warned, some of my dear readers have experienced lasting nightmares…
The Captivating Flames of Madness is an apt name for a collection chock full of twisted and deranged characters. Parsons builds each story on a solid premise, a straight forward tale that the reader can see coming, only to have him pull the rug from under their feet at the last second. There are twists, turns, and surprising endings in these stories, and all of them are darker than you might imagine. Whether it’s a mugging gone wrong in ‘Control‘ where drug addict Chelsea gets more than she bargained for in her search for another hit, or a wish for eternal life turning a hacker’s life upside down in ‘Nothing Personal‘.
Parsons strength in writing is creating a richly layered moment in time, a scene and situation that the reader can instantly step into and forget that they are reading a story – which only serves to make the horror that much more disturbing. Ghosts to Gods, madmen to madwomen, both ancient and modern evils, The Captivating Flames of Madness is a diverse set of stories, circumstances, and characters to lose yourself in.
A collection of over twenty tales of horror, darkness, and disturbed minds, The Captivating Flames of Madness is a generous offering of new and enthralling stories. Jeff Parsons takes you down many paths and turns, and is a writer I’d be happy to follow again.
The Captivating Flames of Madness is a collection best read by candlelight, a darkness best enjoyed by fans of unexpected endings and mysteries in the shadows.
About the Author –
Jeff Parsons is a professional engineer enjoying life in sunny California, USA. He has a long history of technical writing, which oddly enough, often reads like pure fiction. You can find out more about Jeff Parsons and his work on the HellBound Books website here.
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