As you know, I’m a sucker for a good short story. Doubly so for a good short story anthology or collection, and extra bonus points if it’s horror.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last few collections from Author Elford Alley, will this collection hold up as well?
This collection, his fourth I believe, was published by Desert Creek Publishing in October of 2021.
This is the third collection I’ve read from Elford Alley and I enjoyed the first two quite a bit. Previously I had read his collections Ash and Bone : Tales of Terror and The Last Night In The Damned House and Other Ghost Stories and really enjoyed his writing style and storytelling.
I have not read his first collection yet, Find Us and Other Stories, but it’s in my Kindle library and I hope to get to it soon. But with the other two, I’ve found each one to be better than the last. Which means I had high hopes for this latest collection.
Spoiler, it didn’t disappoint.
The stories in this collection, We Will Find A Place For You, feel a bit different than the other collections, however they feel oddly comforting and familiar at the same time.
More than any of the other collections I’ve read so far, this one has the largest variety in the types of stories included. They all vary in length, with some being super punchy 2 or 3 paragraph stories that say so much in so few words, such as the very first story titled My Child. A devious little twist on how society values the highlight reel of our lives on social media, but doesn’t know our real lives behind the scenes.
There are other stories that utilize a fun and refreshing approach to format, such as Camp Summerside, which present a story laid out as an informational packet for new hires at a summer camp that requires a VERY specific set of qualifications to appease a certain, unnamed, hockey mask wearing, terror.
And of course there are plenty of traditional short horror/dark fiction stories involving all manner of creepy situations and horrifying implications. Some dip into a bit of a sci-fi horror themes, while others hammer home the beauty, sadness, and horror of the human condition.
The human condition and relatability is what makes a story truly impactful, regardless of the length. Without the human connection a story feels a bit impersonal or disconnected, and thus not as enjoyable.
Elford Alley does this so well, establishing and maintaining a solid base in humanity in all of his stories, which leaves you really feeling connected to his dark tales.
Notable mention needs to be made for the pacing and layout of this collection. Reading through the 26 tales, you rarely find two back to back that feel like the same story told with different characters.
That allows every story to feel fresh and there was never a moment of, what I think of as, “anthology fatigue”.
Anthology fatigue is that feeling you get when you are reading a collection of short fiction from an author and the stories all begin to run together into a blurred mess in your mind, leaving you feeling rather “meh” about the whole experience.
As with most anthologies, it is difficult to pick a FAVORITE story or two from the entire collection. However, there was one story early on that was at once creepy, sad, and lonely while also being so incredibly beautiful and touching.
The story, titled A Tree Of Stone, shares a family secret of a special tree found years before, the horror of what the tree does, and a father’s love for his son. I won’t spoil it for you, but the horror is mixed with tenderness and the pure intentions of a fathers unending love for his son and as a father myself, it hit me in all the best ways.
The Bottom Line
We Will Find A Place For You absolutely delivers as a wonderful collection of short horror and dark fiction.
From start to finish this anthology is super enjoyable. One note, however, is that since there are way more stories here than in his previous collections, it made it more difficult for the individual stories to REALLY sink in and stay memorable.
While a few truly stuck with me, unfortunately there are also a number that I had to look back at for this review because I couldn’t quite remember all of them. Which is a bit of a bummer since, when I re-read those stories, they were good stories that I really enjoyed!
As you’ll hear in a future review for a HUGE short story collection of science fiction though, that’s the beauty(and the downfall) to ANY collection or anthology.
The more stories they include, the more you should treat them like a beautiful coffee-table style book. Picking them up, enjoying a story or two and letting it really sink in, and then putting it back down for a bit. That way each story gets the attention from you that it deserves.
That being said, even though there were 26 tales in this book, at 280 pages it wasn’t anything super unmanageable. Just be aware of it as you enjoy this book.
I give this 4 out of 5 stars.
Elford Alley is quickly becoming one of my favorite modern dark fiction writers, offering stories with a fun and unique take on horror that does a brilliant job of feeling terrifying, humorous, light hearted, yet devastating all at once.
This collection, We Will Find A Place For You, absolutely deserves a place on your shelf and I highly recommend it for any dark fiction or horror fan, especially those of you out there who, like me, LOVE a good short story!
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