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In Dread We Sing (The Skull's Grin #4) by C.M. Allen

Sam has abandoned the Shack, leaving his swamps and bayou behind.

And he's taken Jack with him.

This is the fourth short story in the Skull's Grin series, and if you thought the last three were on the edge of creepy and strange, just you wait...

With the skull and a knife hanging by his side, his only friend and possession in the world, Sam wanders south through Louisiana, down the shores of the Mississippi River, looking for anything to occupy his mind until his death finally greets him. He wants to rid the world of as much darkness as possible before his time consumes him, and he'll make every last sinner pay in flesh and blood.

Discovering a paddle steamer headed downriver, Sam boards the New Indiana, eager to travel in style like the old days, and even the sharp fragments of his past cannot cut him too deep.

But it soon becomes clear there's a foul curse aboard the steamer and Sam is unwillingly thrown headfirst into a murder mystery of such revolting gore and horror, even he has trouble stomaching it. A ship of passengers zombified by enchantment and a woman too innocent to sin are just a few of the matters Sam will have to attend to as he quickly realizes skulls and blades are no use against darkness he's never encountered before.

If he's to survive the New Indiana, Sam will have to destroy himself.

My Thoughts:

The story continues with Sam and his trusted sidekick John leaving the Shack, for the first time in many years. He's on a mission, can he survive leaving disconnected from the Shack?

He boards a paddle steamer the New Indiana which is headed downriver to New Orlean. He senses a dark presence but without the help of the Shack he is unsure, he seeks advice from jack but as always he's in his world.

Both parts come together perfectly, we meet new characters which we might see again in the future. I'm grateful that Jack has a bigger role in the story it's a massive one!!. There is gore, zombies and don't forget body parts!!

I cannot reiterate enough about Charles's writing, it's so different to what's out there, it's incredible!!

Charles, since reading the first book you are on my auto-buy author's list. Can't wait to travel with Sam & Jack on further adventures.


About the author

This is not going to be pleasant. You've chosen to read this, and I can only apologise for your evidently poor choice. You have been warned. It's a bit self-indulgent, so I will switch tot eh third-person to save face...

A summary is always an odd beast. It must capture the spirit of somebody without indulgence, intrigue without rambling, present an acceptable façade without revealing the picture's whole. Unfortunately, summaries can also tend towards sycophantic rants, and in this, Charles will most likely tread that fine line and objective truth and subjective nonsense. Charles is him, a man, a married man with three children and a house, a dog, a car, a job, many passions, a peculiar fascination with the human psyche and how it seeks to operate and undo itself, and a hobby for creative writing that evolved and spun out of control, evolutions within revolutions.

Charles enjoys finding simplicity within complexity, yet he is intrigued by the chaos in structure. Charles is someone that sees the normality within paranormality, the details within the vastness, and the enormity of the microscopic. Charles is not what one might call 'typical' or 'average', and perhaps, in this, there is a nugget of interest, a speck of personality cut from his own cloth, honed by his own hand, self-taught in many respects yet wholly dependent on the educations provided by others.

Charles is just the right amount of egotistically self-aware. Charles is keenly interested by the facets of the mind linked to emotive reasoning, finding everything homo sapiens do balanced and guided by how they feel. Every action they perform, everything they say, everything they think...secretly guided by the limbic systems in their brain squelches. Humans are not solely logical beings, and in accepting, hey emotive resonances, they begin to understand who they are as people, not just humans. And they, as people, however small they are as a microcosm in the face of an almighty, expanding universe, can only strive to find a reason against the overwhelming vastness of eternity.

Reason is purpose, and purpose makes everyone feel better. And so, to summarise: Charles is simply he, a dedicated and loving father and husband, responsible dog, house and car owner, and cultivator of the very small fragments of the mind humans do not necessarily concern themselves with. All great things start from the smallest of ideas. I did warn you. Wasn't that just a completely unnecessary word salad of nonsensical farce? Shared with Public

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