Review By Malin M.
Chills: A Collection of Short Stories is a quick and engaging read by indie author Sahar Sabati. By no means a blood-soaked murder-spree, this collection is purely psychological. The author states in the preface that the stories are all metaphors for fears that she or those close to her have experienced and that writing was the outlet she used to face these fears. Sahar also makes it clear her goal in writing this is to trigger a reflection of our (the readers’) own fears. She seems to succeed in this goal. Most of the stories are quite good at playing on human emotion, though that isn’t to say that there aren’t a few low points.
Here’s the rundown:
Double Double: Follows Dana. She lost her husband a while back. Every time Dana stops at McDonalds she sees the same family and it becomes clear that it’s not just a coincidence. This story is an excellent way to start off the collection but it seems to end too soon.
The Mug Shot: One of the two that played on my own anxiety the most. Follows a college student working the night shift in the ER. She has a chance encounter with someone she happens to recognize from a mug shot. This is one of those situations that could happen to anyone, which makes it creepier than any paranormal occurrence. Again, the ending somehow felt weak.
Karma: I had a very hard time with this story for a few reasons, one of them being the ethical questions involved between the characters. The story follows a pharmacist who, despite his best efforts, ends up falling in love with a regular customer at his store. During the story, there is an incident that made me feel as though the pharmacist character did not uphold his ethical and moral responsibilities, and which could have led to a very different outcome. The story itself was extremely well written and the despair felt between these two characters was easily felt. This story, in particular, had a strong ending.
The Car in the Fog: Probably my least favourite story in the collection. More twists than an M. Night Shyamalan flick. Let’s put it this way: If you are driving home late at night in super dense fog and there’s a driverless car following you without its lights on, the last thing you do is stop and break into a house where a murder occurred. This is not to say the story is bad. It just didn’t particularly give me any “chills”.
Monster In My Closet: Tied with The Mug Shot for creepiest, in my opinion. Another one of those “it could happen to anyone” scenarios. About a woman who lives alone and knows something is amiss the second she happens to glance over at her closet. Very chilling. Made me happy to have roommates.
Misty Eyes: This was another story I really enjoyed. It’s about a woman who lives across the street from a house where a murder occurred. One day, an exceptionally thick fog rolls through and she looks out and sees something rather peculiar: a person in a deep burgundy coat. This wouldn’t normally be an issue except that she keeps seeing this coat pass by. Again, and again, and again. This story, in particular, is very well written and holds its own as an exceptional page-turner.
Mindy’s Melody: Admittedly a heartfelt story involving a husband whose wife had died. Not really the creepiest or most memorable of the bunch but a good choice to end the book. You can’t help but feel for him during the story. There’s some supernatural activity involved as well.
Overall, Chills: A Short Story Collection is an enjoyable and quick read. Not nightmare-inducing material but the author definitely reached her goal as far as triggering my level of anxiety. Of course, this review is subjective, and while I may not have found one story particularly intriguing or terrifying due to some paranormal content or another, a different reader may find that story to be their absolute favourite, or the one that scares them, which the author somewhat makes a note of in the preface when she writes about “triggering a reflection of our fears”. Furthermore, it should be noted that this is a young adult novel. The younger generations are likely to be less nit-picky than I and will probably love reading it.
It’s not perfect but it’s a decent read. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.