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Epeolatry Book Review: If Only a Heart and Other Tales of Terror by Caleb Stephens

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Alien: Inferno's Fall

Title: If Only a Heart and Other Tales of Terror
Author: Caleb Stephens
Publisher:Salt Heart Press
Genre: Horror
Release Date:October, 2022

Synopsis: Coming October 2022…

An unlikely friendship is born in the red clay dirt of a trailer park. Two latchkey kids who will do anything to hold onto one other, despite the consequences.

A disabled boy and his sister move into a house by the sea, one haunted by a demon living in the walls.

A father on a camping trip in a remote section of Appalachia wakes to find his daughter missing, taken by something not quite human.

A traumatized teenager stumbles across a strange slide at a waterpark—one only he can see.

If Only a Heart and Other Tales of Terror is a visceral collection of thirteen stories that explore what happens when we open ourselves to others and dare to let them in. There are monsters on these pages, yes, ones whose teeth cut deep, but never as deep as the teeth of the monsters in the mirror.

Caleb always delivers an intriguing tale and with his new collection, If Only a Heart he has done it once again. Many of his previously published stories from venues across the horror landscape are included, and each packs a punch.

The stories deal with differing aspects of loss and what it can do to those left behind, be it fall into a hallucinatory depression or push oneself beyond physical limits at the possibility of a return to normalcy.

My favorites: ‘Welcome to Camp Klehani!’, ‘Shadow Puppets’, and ‘A Slide Infinite’.

‘Welcome to Camp Klehani!’ had an amazing 80s vibe much like Stranger Things. It reminded me of stereotypical camp movies like Adams Family Values and Fear Street 1978 but with a fun, new twist.

‘Shadow Puppets’ was a surprising tearjerker about a teenage boy who had a rough time trying to do the right thing for someone else within his similar situation.

‘A Slide Infinite’, definitely my favorite of the bunch, went to unexpected wild places, and I loved every moment of it.

So, if you’re looking to see a great sample of some of the best horror out there, definitely check out If Only a Heart by Caleb Stephens.

/5

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

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