Craig Saunders’s The Scarecrow takes the usual creepy scarecrow story and gives it a deliciously violent twist. After the police pay a call to Madge and Bernie Rochette to let them know gypsies would be in town camping in a distant neighbor’s field, the couple finds their life turned upside down. Although Madge wasn’t too worried about the visitors, Bernie makes sure he has his shotgun to protect them from the intrusion.
But it’s not long before Madge realizes her husband had the right idea. Convinced her husband has been kidnapped after an altercation with some of the gypsies, she tries to enlist the help of the police. However, Bernie is nowhere to be found. He’s a lot closer than she thinks, though. All she needs to do is look out at the field…
The Scarecrow is a short story, but it packs quite a punch. The ending will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading it.
The Madness, written by Robert Essig, is another violent story, but doesn’t go in the direction you think it will when you first start reading. Tony is the bank manager in a small town. After closing for the day due to an approaching blizzard, Tony finds himself in a dire position on the roads. Realizing he must find shelter from the storm or die on the road, he pulls in to the closest house and asks for help. He is not immediately welcomed by the man of the house.
The man of the house, Dan, harbors a dark secret, one even his wife and ten-year-old son don’t know about. Every so often Dan gets a “tickle” in his brain, which tries to make him do horrible things, bloody things. And tonight the “tickle” is back. The blizzard isn’t the only threat to these people.
While both stories are excellent, The Madness was my favorite. Suspenseful, bloody, and shocking, you will find yourself unable to put the book down until you’ve finally reached the end. The Madness will leave you breathless, angry and very wary of snowstorms and what they may bring.
Book Review: The Scarecrow and The Madness – Authors Craig Saunders and Robert Essig