How often does a book give you the creeps or the willies? How often do you find yourself at a loss for words after reading story after story? “Sheep And Wolves” takes my words away from me and brings them back just to tease me with them. The writing is precise, the word choice is chosen very careful for maximum effect. The protagonists are unlikable and situations uncomfortable. This collection of short stories is not one to read by the fire with a glass of wine in your hands. It feels more like the sort of book you would read after being unable to sleep and wanting something to feel in common with, something so like your fever dream that you couldn’t tell where the sickness ended and the story starts. Jeremy Shipps is probably a very nice man but after reading this I would check my tea for glass shards and always have one eye on the exit.
The tales can be very brutal and how brutal can sneak up on you suddenly like a mad man with a hammer. The writing is deceptively is writing is clean and simple, not very descriptive but you are able to paint a picture nonetheless. Most of the worlds written about will be as foreign as any planet in the galaxy and as close as the strange look you don’t like in your neighbors eye. If you are looking for vampires, werewolves and zombies then “Sheep And Wolves” are not for you. If you like a very different voice in fiction then the works of Jeremy C. Shipp is for you. Any author who leaves me uneasy has power in his writing and will probably make me read him again as I will want to know if I am more sure what I think the next time and the next.
Some books are remembered long after they have been read, this collection of short stories by Jeremy C. Shipp is such a work. I think I have found another reason not to sleep.