I don’t usually make it through short story collections very fast. I tend to get tired of the stories or want to read something bigger. I’ve read two wonderful collections this year. The first being David Bernstein’s A Mixed Bag of Blood, the other—Sleep Paralysis by Patrick Lacey.
I was introduced to Patrick Lacey via the story, “Pen Pals” (which is in this collection). I instantly loved his style. Throughout this collection of 18 tales, Lacey’s natural gift of storytelling is on full display. I don’t usually make it through short story collections very fast. I tend to get tired of the stories or want to read something bigger. I’ve read two wonderful collections this year. The first being David Bernstein’s A Mixed Bag of Blood, the other—SLEEP PARALYSIS by Patrick Lacey.
Like Bernstein, Lacey is able to suck you right into each story and each character within the first page. More than half of these stories are good to great, even the lesser ones are still worthy of a read. I’ll focus on my ten favorites.
My 4-star stories:
“Drowning in Filth” is a great take on hoarders.
“Operation Parasite” and “Worm Garden” are a great one-two punch.
“Full Disclosure” is a cool ghost story that wasn’t quite like any other I’d read before.
My 5-star wonders!
“Pen Pals” was great the first time I read it in Pavor Nocturnus: A Dark Fiction Anthology Vol. 2 (an anthology I appeared in with Lacey) and it was stellar the second time around, too.
“The Lynwood Vampires” A fantastic culty, ‘Salem’s Lotty, type story that was freaking awesome.
“Lost and Found” I really loved this one, too. A kid witnesses a murder and finds the dead girl’s body…love where Lacey takes this.
My very, very favorites
“Last Words” This one really hit me. Not so much where Lacey decides to take it, but the set up itself. My father died from complications following a stroke, so does the main character’s dad. My wife’s name is Meghan (MC’s wife is Megan), and my mom’s name is Sheila (MC’s sister’s name). Top that off with my walking into the hospital room to find my sister balling after my dad passed and how I put my hurt aside to make sure she was okay… well, I was able to step right into this one.
Lacey saves a little secret that brings in the creepy factor, but for me, it’s the writing here that brings this one up above the others. I could swear Lacey walked in my shoes. Very cool and impressive.
”Send Your End” This one was my second favorite. A fantastically, creepy website where people film their own suicides and have them uploaded to this sick website.
This one was definitely dark, but well-written and completely captivating.
“First Bell” My favorite of the bunch.
“Eddie opens his eyes. The sun is far in the distance, making things seem pink and dreamlike. Part of him wants the world to be like this all the time. He wishes he could live the rest of his life in this pre-dawn twilight.”
Eddie is up early every day getting to school before the first bell rings. It’s here Eddie gets to see the girl he loves.
This one is very special and I’d rather not give anything away. I just thought it was brilliant from start to finish.
Overall, I give SLEEP PARALYSIS 4 stars! Can’t wait to see what Lacey gives us next. He is a supreme talent and the dude has a very bright future.
Grab the Kindle Edition of SLEEP PARALYSIS HERE
For a limited time, you can grab his Samhain Publishing novella, A DEBT TO BE PAID, for just 99 cents! Check out my review HERE.