Book Review: Behind The Wheel and Other Stories, By Erin Thorne

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Behind The Wheel: And Other Stories, by Erin Thorne is a dark fantasy book filled with short stories that will keep you up all night. I bought this book at an Author Event/Reading at the Palmer Public Library.

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When Author Erin Thorne read this book at the event I knew I would love it. The stories touched on things that scared me to death… and like most horror fans, I do love to be scared.

The beginning story is Behind The Wheel, a very interesting story about what can happen when you neglect to read the fine print before signing a contract. Coincidentally, I have recurring nightmares about being behind the wheel of a car that I do not have control of; so this story really hit home with me.

Denise Crane and over 75% of other Americans, are driving the new AutoDrive brand of car. These automobiles are reasonably priced, trendy, and eco-friendly. Sounds good right? Unfortunately, her minivan takes a turn for the worse when it drives itself, (with her and her son held hostage inside), to a place similar to a concentration camp known as the Population Center…

Unbeknownst to Denise, when she bought her new mini-van, she signed a contract that allows AutoDrive to be her supreme governing body; allowing them to take over her and her families lives. They can no longer choose where to live, what to eat, or even what to wear. They are completely under the power of the makers of AutoDrive.

Having both mental and physical illnesses, I would be weeded out and killed. Believe it or not, this was my saving grace. Because as can be predicted, members/hostages rioted and destroyed those who were running the operation. The expression, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, comes to mind. *Big Sighs* You can imagine what happens next, and I wouldn’t want to stick around, withering until I met my death.

The next tale is “After The End”, about a family of trolls who live on after their fairy tale is over.

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The troll family set off to look for the head of the family whom is missing, and are saddened and disgusted when they find him dead and mutilated. They decide on a plan to take revenge on the hoofed monster that did this to their father…

The next story is called, The Gathering. The Gathering portrays cows as “slaves” who finally rebel against their owners.

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Let me tell you, it changed the way I look at cows…

In the next story, Dean’s Pillow Money, is about a lonely man who works a monotonous job as a circuit board operator. Dean follows the same routine every day. However, his routine changes when he mysteriously continues to find crisp 100$ bills under his pillow…

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The next story, Shades of Lupine, is about two girls who are stalked by a werewolf. After finding their tent shredded, they stay up all night for weeks looking from the window for what could have caused this. One of the girls spots a shadowy dark figure watching her from outside her window, and she hides underneath her comforter, understandably afraid to emerge. Eventually they are brave enough to search for him outside, and when they stumble upon a gray wolf they laugh at themselves and go back to bed. However, there is something strange about this wolf… you see, the wolf walks on two feet, not four…

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The next story, Flora’s Tale, was my favorite. It is about a young girl who accepts solicitation from a witch and barters a strand of her hair for a small pebble. This pebble is magical, and it allows her to go out at night without her parents knowing. Unfortunately, this pebble turns her into a small mouse, and she faces far greater dangers as a mouse out at night then she would from her parents…

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Spoiled Pets, is a story about a family who capture tadpoles and feed them to their heart’s content. When they became too big for their tank, the father decides it is time to let them go in a pond. To me, this is a story about why you shouldn’t hold wild animals captive, and then set them free when you are don’t want to care for them anymore. (Much like the super snake that was created in Miami Florida by letting african-rock pythons free, who in turn bred with burmese pythons and created 14 ft long snakes…)

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Unfortunately for the families new pet hamster, one of the overfed tadpoles has been left behind, and he has a voracious appetite.

Next, is the story High Maintenance. High Maintenance is about a woman who after 36 hours of labor, gives birth to an unresponsive baby. The Doctor and medical team are able to stabilize the baby, but have to keep her in the NICU to monitor her before she can go home.

When the family arrives home a week later, their normally friendly, easy going, docile dog Banjo snarls and barks at the baby.

Banjo continues this bad behavior and is confined to the basement. When he escapes and lunges for the baby, the family decided that Banjo has got to go.

The baby brings out an equally strange reaction from the humans around her. She seems to drain the energy out of anyone she comes in contact with, her mother, father, and grandmother alike!

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When the baby starts daycare, she has this same fatiguing effect on the daycare children and provider also. Because of this, the baby is kicked out of several daycare centers…

The baby grows up, and as a teenager she has her heart broken by a boy who claims she is “draining.” She locks herself in her bedroom and cries, and cries, and cries. Needing to get away for a little bit, she takes a stroll into the forest where she hears a strange disembodied voice. She learns that she is one of “them”, and that her life is sustained by draining the energy from those around her.

The last story, Spellbound, is about a woman who owns a hair styling salon named Custom Creations. A man walks in for a hair cut and asks her out on a date to which she happily accepts. The man later learns, after his date, that the lady he took out is a witch…

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I thoroughly enjoyed these short stories and I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy and horror. 5 stars! Erin Thorne has a new reader and fan!

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