The Carvings Collection by Drake Vaughn is a mixed bag of stories that covers true crime, paranormal and psychological horror. The first story was one of my favorites called Dolls. It’s about a girl who has a doll that talks and doesn’t act like other dolls. I liked how the relationship the girl has with her dolls closely mirrors her parents relationship. I thought the end was a little confusing but it was a good creepy story to start the anthology. The next story was called Drivers Seat and is about a woman who is afraid to drive. I liked how the story was told, it had a great idea behind it but the ending was disappointing.
The third story is Master Key which is a creepy tale where some kids enter a secret passage in a school and learn about the school’s dark history. The next one is In The Chair which is about a man who killed his mother and then gets kidnapped and held prisoner by someone who believes he is doing gods will. I liked how the author shows who the real villain is. The descriptions of the man trying to escape from the chair were gruesome and really made you feel empathy for the character. He made a decision to end his mother’s suffering but had to suffer himself. I thought where the man was being held seemed a little far-fetched but it was still an entertaining story.
Another good story in this collection is called Sales. it’s about a man named Conner who is hired by a firm to harass a female singer in order for her to hire more bodyguards. The singer is much more than she appears, men who go to her apartment come out changed and it may take more than an ability to talk to save Conner.My favorite part of this story was hearing all of Conner’s observations about the people he meets. He is good at reading people but still doesn’t see the situation that he is walking into, great ending.
The Garden is another supernatural story which is about two boys who steal some vegetables from an old man’s garden and find out about a horrifying secret in the man’s basement. I liked how one of the boys shows his loyalty to his friend despite his fear. Next up is The Test. It’s about a man who tells his wife how a friend of his died. This story was one of the longer ones and had a lot of depth to it. There was a scene in a restaurant that was funny and sad at the same time. I also liked how its shown that a past relationship effected the man’s present relationship.
One story in The Carving Collection that I would like to see expanded on is Trip to V-Town. The story gets into a group of men’s journey into the vampire side of town to have sex in a vampire whorehouse. This was a really short one that managed to say a lot. I liked how one character is changed at the end from what he has seen and I felt the author was making a good point on how one group of people looks down on another group from the wrong side of the tracks. The Carvings Collection is an anthology for anyone who likes a good story and I hope to see more from Drake Vaughn.