Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: What Tangled Webs by Dan Dillard

Reviewer Black Pearl Raves:

'Dillard is indeed a gifted writer!'

Winner of Risqué Reviews Top Pick Award

Title: What Tangled Webs
Author: Dan Dillard
Release Date: 15 October 2010
Genre: Horror Anthology
Pages: 236
Publisher: Smashwords
Series: N/A
Format: ebook/Kindle

Posted: June 27, 2012
Reviewer: The Black Pearl
Rating: 5
Heat Level: N/A


Cheating death, cheating time, looking for the easy way out. These things have consequences. Consequences that can be violent and painful. What Tangled Webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive. "What Tangled Webs" is short story collection that tells it like it might be… when the balance is off and the monsters come out. Includes the novella, "The Wager" where Jacob Kane finds himself living in a hell on Earth. He's lost the woman he loves, his peaceful life, and worst of all, his soul. What has the devil got in store for him? Bounty hunting the worst, most despicable people on the planet.


With a somewhat skeptical eye, I began Dan Dillard's horror anthology What Tangled Webs." Having just completed Dillard's Demons and Other Inconveniences, I prepared myself for the let-down that often occurs when a reader is first amazed by the writings of an author they’d never read before and then sorely disappointed when anything else read never lives up to the original--like when, as the reader, you question if perhaps the author had experienced a rare stroke of creative genius during the first read or if they simply got complacent having received such rave reviews for the first novel. With that being said, I prepared myself for said let-down and opened my Kindle.

*Insert funky disco tune here!*

Dillard can write a darn good horror story! Several times I put down my Kindle, wishing someone sat next to me who I could elbow and say, "Can you believe this guy?" or "This is craziness. Pure craziness!" I just wanted to share all the feelings I experienced with someone who could understand how psyched one gets by an amazingly-written story. So, I reviewed Dillard's anthology with the following system:

I like to give each story its own rating with a rating of five stars being ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT, 3 stars being MEH, IT WAS OKAY, and 1 star being COULD HAVE WENT WITHOUT READING IT. My rating for the stories included in What Tangled Webs are as follows:??

Lament of the Devil– 5 (Dillard once again opens his collection of scaries with a poem that is both entertaining and thought-provoking)

Deliver Us From Evil– 3 (The story starts interesting enough with a truly despicable character that the reader should have no trouble disliking. My issue is with the execution of the ending. I had some questions as to the "how" that I would have liked answered.)

Epi3Demic– 4.5 (A great story that reminded me of several tv shorts I’d seen. There seemed to be a small inconsistency toward the end of the story but that could be my mistake. I would have loved to have known the exact cause of what it was that was causing the "epi3demic".)

Quid Pro Quo– 5 (A great story that's simply amazing, making one wonder if given the choice…what would they choose?)????

Rite of Passage– 4.5 (I loved this story. And the way in which little William spoke – "Franks" – how endearing! The ending was truly unexpected, and I would have liked to have known the "why," but I’m annoyingly curious like that.)

Out, Damned Spot– 3.5 (Dillard writes the best characters. I so mean that.)

Briar Trace– 4.5 (I really enjoyed this story. I almost thought it was a carry-over from his previous book Demons and Other Inconveniences but, when I realized it was not, I wasn’t disappointed. Again I would have liked a few questions answered.)

What Tangled Webs– 4.5 (I almost skipped this one when I came across the word ‘spider’ in the first line. My arachnophobia coupled with the likes of Dan Dillard couldn’t be good. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I delved into this story of two people who couldn’t have been more right for each other.)

The ‘A’ Word– 5 (A chilling story with an unexpected and hard-to-stomach ending. It might be slightly offensive to those who fail to remember it’s just a story…right?)

Saranormal– 3.5 (A really good story, but I found myself confused by the ending

The Wager– 5 (This masterpiece is what makes this short story collection a 5. I couldn’t even find fault with the ending--only because I’m hoping and praying and wishing that the author turns this novella into a full-blown novel or even a series! An amazing story with a cast of characters so real that you’ll forget you’re reading as your mind brings these characters and this story to life. Bravo!)

Dillard amazes me, yet again, in What Tangled Webs. I can’t say enough about the writing style, characterization, or creativity woven into each story. I look forward to reading more by this author who affirms my saying that talent can be learned but a gift is truly something divine. Dillard is indeed a gifted writer.

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