Anthologies can be hit or miss, especially if it’s an anthology with a wrap around story. The challenge here is having each story connect in some way shape or form while at the same time, ensuring that each story has it’s own unique tone that sets it apart from the story before or after it. Actor/Musician/Author, Ted Parker, has written such an anthology in his book, Freakshow.
The cover of the book itself is rather intriguing and works to entice the potential reader to open the book and I as a reader was not disappointed. Upon opening the book, one is seeing things from the point of view of a young girl named Jenny who snuck out of her house late at night to go see a Carnival Freakshow. The carnival barker is a “strange looking goth-looking man” who introduces the show as being a tribute to a historic theater in Paris that specialized in freakish plays of long ago and it is up to the audience to decide whether the stories are fact or fiction. Then, the show begins and the reader is taken on a ride of 11 disturbing tales of horror.
Parker has a rather clever way of writing his stories; much in the spirit of Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, X-files, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits with maybe a pinch of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. While there were some stories I enjoyed more than others, each story succeeds at having it’s own personality and none of the stories “run together” or appear generic. I’d say my favorites were “Pizza Boy,” “Virgin Sacrifice,” “Slayphone,” and “The Fifth.” While the stories are short in length, Parker has a way of capturing the essence of the characters so that the reader cares about each person and wants them to succeed in their mission. The stories are descriptive enough without bogging down the reader with too many details.
With the Halloween season approaching, I would say this is the perfect book to read late at night. It’s not too long of a read and can hold the reader’s attention until the end. I hope to be reading more from Parker in the future.
Book Review: Freakshow – Author Ted Parker