“Leave Them Laughing” is a selection of 17 short horror and suspense stories that range from the everyday to the supernatural. The common theme is laughter, but laughter can result from madness and pain as well as joy. Each story stands on its own, although some are pieces of a larger yet incomplete whole. Some are brief studies of disturbed individuals, while others are narratives of harrowing experiences and grisly discoveries.
This book is the debut of a promising young author full of amazing potential. The first story sets the tone for the anthology where we see a pair of teenagers attempting to raise a demon in what else? The body of a clown. The end of the story I’ll leave for you to discover, but its every bit as macabre as it is amusing. This was one of my favorites from the collection. The dialogue between the two friends is very realistic. It captures that element of craziness of adolescence when we are capable of nearly anything.
But don’t stop with this story. Each and everyone one of these stories is precious in its own way. Delishus Barbakew is a quaint story that reveals that the best barbecue comes from the Ozarks. It’s all about the genius of the chef, and the lengths he’s willing to go to fill a big order. Roll shows a remarkable ability at local color in this tale that will keep you madly turning pages to find out what happens next.
The Christmas There was a Santa and The Cat Came Back are two particularly chilling stories with no real elements of the supernatural but evocative nonetheless. One displaying the powerful elements of nature, while the latter delivers a treat to the senses that can only be achieved by the best and worst in human nature.
Some of stories read like segues to bigger stories later on. They are still satisfying, but lack the punch that a short story yearns for. Other stories could have had a bit more in the way of plot development, making the ending a little too obvious early on to this reader. Other than that, there is little bad to be said about this collection. Each turn of the page left me with a desire for more from this author and for the most part, he delivered well for his first outing.
Currently, this book is only available as an ebook for the delectable price of $.99 with a print version currently in the works. Get this one while you can for this absurdly low price. Chris Roll is definitely a name to be reckoned with in the arena of horror fantasy, that I am sure we will hear much about in the future.
Leave Them Laughing can be purchased here: Leave Them Laughing
For more information about Chris Roll’s upcoming project follow him on facebook: Chris Roll