Short Reviews: “Help! Wanted” edited by Peter Giglio / Lily’s “Eden Fell”

Help! Wanted: Tales of On-the-Job Terror edited by Peter Giglio

Help! Wanted collects 25 short stories on the really dark side of the workplace, with tales ranging from a financially-desperate undertaker given a horrifying request (Stephen Volk’s “The Chapel of Unrest”) to a bookstore where the more annoying sorts of customers have a habit of dying (Lisa Morton’s “Face Out”) to an interview in which a psychiatrist with some highly unusual views on treatment tries to hide his true self (Adrian Chamberlain’s “The Interview). The workplaces and workers featured vary as greatly as the styles of the contributing authors, making for an entertaining mix.

As always, a collection of stories has its high points and low. Not all of the stories here worked for me, but my level of satisfaction overall was quite high. In addition to the three stories mentioned earlier, my favorites included Jeff Strand’s “Work/Life Balance” (on a Casual Fridays policy gone very wrong) and Mark Allan Gunnells’ “Must Be Something in the Water” (featuring a new water cooler that encourages some highly unprofessional conduct). Overall it’s a good and tasty collection of sharp short horror fiction, well worth checking out.

Eden Fell by Lily

Eden, an abstract painter, journeys through reality and unreality as her life falls apart. Accompanied by a snake and a rhinocerous, she encounters a strange and surreal set of characters and situations, all while struggling to hold her life together and find what she is desperately missing. Through a stream of consciousness narrative we’re drawn into Eden’s struggles and to her ultimate fate.

Eden Fell is one of those books that, while I liked it a lot, I find difficult to explain, or sometimes follow. A lot of the pleasure of this book comes from the exquisite prose, and how well it drew me behind the eyes of Eden’s character… and since she is often at the mercy of weird happenings, so was I. I love experiences like that, and too seldom find them. If you do too, I recommend this book.

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

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