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A Sliver of Darkness

A Sliver of Darkness is C. J. Tudor’s apology book – a collection of short stories released to make up for the delay in the publication of the author’s next novel. The format lets the author, well known for thriller mysteries with a slight horror fantasy element, explore other genres and their gray zones. The most interesting thing about the book is that each short story is introduced by the author, giving an insight into the writing process that is usually lacking from short story collections. In these introductions, we learn which are older pieces that Tudor has retouched, and which are new explorations into ideas raised in her other novels. Some of the introductions tell us about her inspirations, such as a graffiti lion on a fence, which I personally found quite endearing.

Overall, the stories were uneven. Some I loved, and continued to think about in the days following my read. Most striking is a post-apocalyptic story set on a cruise ship, which raises so many more questions than it answers. However, other stories feel dated and condescending. One is set in an abandoned block of apartment buildings, and the way the author writes about the surrounding neighborhood, complete with the tired idea that abandoned buildings attract crime, borders on offensive. The expected reader also varies, with some stories directed at a younger reader. These stories are certainly worth picking up, especially for fans of C. J. Tudor waiting on the next novel, but don’t expect to love each one.

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