Title: Strange Secrets
Author: Mike Russell
Genre/s: Mystery, Fantasy, Short stories
My rating: 4/5 stars
Discover the mystery of the two-headed rose and many more Strange Secrets in this new collection of extraordinary stories by Mike Russell. ‘It can’t be real.’ ‘But it is.’ Strange Secrets invites you to discover the magical and the marvellous. Startlingly inventive and constantly entertaining, these unique, vital and vividly realised stories will take you to places you have never been before. Strange Secrets is Mike Russell’s third short-story collection.
The Strange Books secretary gave me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Seeing the synopsis, I was intrigued right away. A collection of short stories filled with mystery and magic? Count me in!
I really liked the writing in this book. It was easy to read and to follow, yet it was eerie and disturbing. These short stories, though they seem like simple bedtime stories at first, can be awfully spooky as you read on. Apart from being mysterious, these stories were also poetic and oftentimes philosophical—it makes you think. It makes you think about the characters, it makes you think about their world, it makes you think about humanity and our world. As a reader, I applaud the author for achieving that.
The characters, what I loved about them is that they have this aura of innocence. In each of the stories included in this book, I really noticed that there are characters who hold such innocence and yet they are the ones who are different, the ones who push the story forward. I loved that.
The plot was easy to follow, and as mysterious and disturbing as they are, I really liked it. There were a couple of stories though, in which the plots were a little vague. And though there were answers to the mysteries, some were a bit confusing. The rest, I really loved.
I particularly loved the last story in this book. It was truly poetic and so real, and the plot was written well.
Quotes from the book
“I’m always happy to aid in people’s disappointment. The sooner you’re disappointed the better. That way you don’t waste time hoping.”
“One day a man at the bottom will fall to the top and he will help everyone he meets on the way.”
“How do you know it’s real?” the forlorn-looking man asked, to which Lisa replied:
“Because it is.”
“When a treasure chest is made of treasure, what does it contain?”
“You were both seeing only a fraction of the light before,’ the forester said. ‘Now you are seeing the whole of the light. Now the door will open.”
This was such a quick read and yet it’s a book that makes you think and scratch your head. All in all, it was spooky, entertaining, and an awesome read. I give this one 4 stars!
Thanks Jay for the review copy!
Learn more about Mike Russell and his books here: