Book Review: 'Nothing Untoward' by Clay McLeod Chapman

 Note: This was a digital copy from Edelweiss/Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
The book will be published on March 7, 2017. 

Photo Source: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books/ Clay McLeod Chapman


The creator of  'The Pumpkin Pie Show," wrote this collection of short stories. If you're well aware of Clay McLeod Chapman, then you know what you're getting to, if you aren't then be prepared for one of the darkest collection of short stories since H.P. Lovecraft.

What makes "Nothing Untoward" so chilling is the realism that is in each story. At first you start with weird stories about raising children. The first story to kickoff is "Mama Bird," which for those with a weak stomach will want to make sure they don't eat anything before they start this story (and other stories for that matter). The second one, "Diaper Genie" is just as disturbing, but humorous! "Rugrats" gives us a recap of dark Early American history. Let's just say a teacher takes some health matters in her own hands.

Honestly, the "Childcare" is the best section for the laughs (especially if you have a dark sense of humor). The other best for that was the "Love Stories" section. "President of the fan club," is one messed up story and "The Battle of the Belle Isle" will make you tear up.

Speaking of tears, while you'll find some dark humor, you'll also find some real disturbing stories, which is definitely what the author wanted. You get to be mortified as well as sad.  That section goes to both "Soft Targets" (which have to admit wasn't the biggest fan of some of those stories in that section) and "Commencement." "Commencement" is probably one of the hardest short stories to read of recent.

There is also "Ghost Stories" and "Birds and the Bees." Most of the "Ghost Stories" are great, though "Hobo Sterno," is way too chilling and once again is a great example in this book about how humans are the real monsters here. It involves teens and a hobo. Just what you read about the news headlines. It goes without saying that this is a real intense book.

"Buffet of the Damned" will make you realize that cruise ships are not worth it. The best story out of the "Birds and the Bees" section was definitely "Bridesmaid." A sister of the bride, tells a little more than just a few secrets.

So with a only a few stories that didn't grab the attention, "Nothing Untoward" deserves a well awarded 4 out of 5 stars. For those who like intense dark stories that aren't exactly about vampires, zombies, but instead monsters that are just your normal average people with their dark desires. People are the ruthless ones!

Clay McLeod Chapman's writing reminds one of H.P. Lovecraft (like stated before), Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Paulanik, and Stephen King.

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