“With the cold winds of winter come times of peace and joy….” states Mr. Halloween’s second collection of short stories. Despite this deceptive quote, the only peace and joy that is to be found in this book comes from the quote itself. This collection of eight short stories are filled with blood, horror, murder, self sacrifice, evil, and people dealing with impossible situations and the resolve to seek revenge. Oh, and did I mention the blood?
With “Cold Blooded,” Mr. Halloween has reached into the depths of the human mind and pulled out the hard learned fact that sometimes when it comes to murder and horror, there doesn’t always have to be a reason why. Sometimes it just is.
Similar to his last book, this collection of stories is presented in a oversized softcover which I was glad to see again. Due to it’s odd size it is not destined to be lost amongst other books on your bookshelf. Once again the front cover features Mr. Halloween, this time in a winterish environment. Each story is illustrated by a full page black and white picture which makes up the title page. His previous book had a lot of 3D based illustrations while this one includes mostly 2D pictures, a lot of which seem to be photographs, some in the form of a sort of twisted collage.
Within the stories it is apparent that Mr. Halloween’s heart lies not in creating the messes in his stories, but laying down the consequences piece by bloody piece. The stories are for the most part short, and right to the point. However, you will find little to no back story, just the moment at which the conflicts peak. I look forward to the day when Mr. Halloween brings depth to his characters, which as they are now are extremely colorful, but sometimes fall a bit flat. In a short story sometimes character depth isn’t necessary and is often refreshing when omitted, but on the other hand, he creates wonderful characters which with a little more substance could bring his stories to a whole new level. His stories are brutal and macabre but have no shock value. Perhaps if the reader was able to identify more with the individuals in the stories they would feel something more then satisfaction when they turn the last page.
The lack of depth doesn’t ruin the stories, they are still highly entertaining. The stories topics vary from the mutilation of animals, to the death of an unborn…. They all revolve around the holiday season and winter time, setting the stories in the cold where chills are found more often. I found all of the stories to be entertaining, and easy to follow. The stories in this collection are more original and the writing is a bit more smoother. Mr. Halloween changed a few things with this collection, one being that the stories end leaving the reader hanging. The final conclusion is up to you, and your imagination. A few stories in particular caught my attention. One being “I Like To Play With Their Insides,” which is about a child on his way to being a sociopath until he meets his match. This story was very well done, and the characters shined the brightest here.
There is not only reading to be found in this book, the eight stories make up for only half of the the book. The rest of the book is filled with puzzles based on this and his previous book as well other other horror related elements, along with numerous “ads” for Mr. Halloween’s upcoming works.
His book is presented with a CD-ROM which includes a music video for his song “All Blood No Love,” as well as a video interview with Mr. Halloween himself. I really enjoyed the interview, it was nice to get a feel for the man behind the blood. Mr. Halloween presents him self as being laid back with a good head on his shoulders, and this interview was an awesome addition to the book.
Mr. Halloween’s second book only proves what I believe, which is that this beginning writer has a wonderful potential to be great. I see this latest book as a slight step up from the last one, and hopefully he will only continue to get better and better.