SEVEN DEADLY PLEASURES, Michael Aronovitz, Hippocampus Press, $15, 250 pages, ISBN: 9780982429600, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Once in a while a new writer comes along and shows a knack for surprising the reader and presenting his story in a new and interesting way. Aronovitz is one of those writers who has surprised me in this first encounter with his work. Three of the stories have appeared in other venues and the other four appear here for the first time.
“How Bria Died” is a high school ghost story and a tale about broken promises. “The Clever Mask” tells of a man who makes a bet with the Grim Reaper only to learn that it would have been better to make a deal with the devil. “Quest for Sadness” is the story of a man seeking to find the origin of woe. “The Legend of the Slither-Shifter” introduces us to one of the strangest baby sitters ever. “The Exterminator” gives us another reason to dislike clowns. “Passive Passenger” is an online game where gaining experience points takes on a completely new meaning.
“Toll Booth” is the longest and best story in the collection. It is a tale of teenage pranks, betrayal, and death. It shows the development of character and a mastery of storytelling.
Aronovitz will be a name that will be seen more in the future. Pick this volume up to be one of the first to experience a new name in horror.