Blood Mountain* sweeps me off my feet from the start. Brenda Tolian has such a deliciously sneaky, beautiful way of writing, that it takes you a second to realize you're also reading a scene with some horribly grotesque destruction of the human form. Combine that with a deep respect and reverence for Mother Nature and the Earth, and you have the makings for some terrifying stories.
Brenda flips everything on its head so efficiently with each story, that you never know what's waiting for you, other than some mind-blowing gore. Whether the monsters take human shape, or that of creatures not commonly seen, there is no doubt that those who have somehow wronged the Earth in any way will receive their punishments. The Mountain is a cruel mistress, who spares no expense when it comes to ensuring her needs are met and revenge is taken upon those deserving.
Even with that being said, the explanation is far from being so simple. Some stories provide a clearer picture, while others leave you contemplating the forces at work far beyond human understanding. The characters fall across the spectrum in so many ways: innocent to evil, and everything in between. While a handful of the stories elicit sympathy for those involved, several of them have you hanging with bated breath to see in what grisly ways flesh will be stripped from bone.
If you're a fan of folklore, nature, and incredibly creative kills, I have no doubts you'll find this collection right up your alley.
Go find Brenda!
Facebook: Brenda Tolian
Her site: brendatolian.com