Unsafe Words by Loren Rhoads is the first full-length collection of the author’s award-winning short stories, which live on the boundaries between horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction.
Her imaginative stories are filled with the likes of ghosts, succubi, naiads, vampires, and human monsters, too. Rhoads is amazing at building a complete world for her stories to reside in, especially considering how brief these stories are.
Among my favorites are “Here Be Monsters,” a haunting story that pits a girl versus an evil entity that roams more than just a house. Another is “The Arms Dealer’s Daughter,” a sci-fi short that takes place on a planet full of varying life forms, and leaves a few questions answered ambiguously.
I also enjoyed “Valentine,” which had a bit of a Highlander feel about it, and “Never Bargained for You,” about a succubi set in the L.A. rock scene of the early 70s.
A few others, like “In the Pines,” about a missing girl, and “Grandfather Carp’s Dream,” about a fish trying to escape home, I enjoyed, but felt they ended a bit abruptly.
The collection of stories in this book also include a lot of graphic erotic horror, which I’m not a fan of, but there were enough other stories around those scenes that it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole.
Overall, Unsafe Words by Loren Rhoads is an creative collection of original stories and I’m giving the book a 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received an advance e-book copy for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not compensated in any other way. My opinion is honest, and as always, my own.
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