REVIEW: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow Paperbacks
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0063075768
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063075764
Cost: $13.79

When I delve into the macabre, I like stories that titillate; that entertain; that set the imagination to conjuring up all sorts of scenarios in which you could see yourself in the same situation, meeting your doom. And the reason for that is simple. I don’t often get shocked, frightened or suffer from the heebie-jeebies. I never have done. So, when an author does manage to give me pause. . .

That’s good writing!

And those that actually manage to chill me? Well – They deserve an airing.
Which is why I’ve chosen a collection of short stories from Neil Gaiman. A man who needs no introduction. As such, I’ll just hit you with the blurb to one of his best short story collections:


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, a wide-ranging assortment of short fiction that pierces the veil of reality to expose the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath―one of ten classic Gaiman works repackaged with elegant original watercolor art by acclaimed artist Henry Sene Yee
“Beautiful, haunting . . . Evokes our wonder at the myths and imaginations of our childhoods.”—Washington Post


This is one selection box that does exactly what it says on the tin!

Inside, you get a veritable fright, full of scaretales to chill the soul. (Did you see what I did there?) Yes, ranging from the experimental and grotesque to the ludicrously eccentric, Trigger Warning guides you through a disturbingly dark and macabre menagerie of Gaiman’s musings of what it’s like, crossing the border between ‘make believe’ and ‘I don’t want to believe that could possibly happen.’

In doing so, Gaiman gives you a taste of why he is a master of his craft.

How so?

Well, one of my personal bugbears with short story collections is the danger of becoming lost in the sheer variety of what’s on offer. I like to commit to a common thread. To attune to a particular voice or style. In the past, I’ve found myself thoroughly enjoying one or two tall tales, while others in the same book leave me hanging. I’ve also been in situations where some make a lasting impression, only to fall short because the rest of the collection almost sends me off to sleep.

Not so with Neil Gaiman.

On each occasion, he manages to hook your attention from the outset. (Quite an achievement with so many scenarios on offer). Some of his stories present the slow burn, with a gradual buildup. Others hit the ground running from the outset. A goodly few are cunningly constructed, requiring you to stop and think. And yet more are soooo realistic, you could almost imagine them happening in your everyday life, if only. . .

And THAT’s what makes an accomplished writer, next-level-genius! His ability to transport you into the realms of the imagination where the everyday and the humdrum become sublime and incandescent.

I really would invite you to welcome the heart palpitations into your life, by adding Trigger Warning to your bookshelf.

My personal favorites?

Ah, that would be, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains; The Case of Death and Honey; Click-Clack the Rattlebag; Nothing o’clock . . . and the most wonderful, The Return of the Thin White Duke. (When you read this one, try and guess who the Duke ends up being in our world). Even now, I still shake my head and smile at the artful way Gaiman links fact and fiction. A truly wonderful, poignant tribute story.

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