Gwendolyn Kiste had long since been on my TBR. As an active member of the Horror Writers Association’s (HWA) Facebook group, as well as connections I’ve made over the years with Ross Lockheart, Anya Martin, and Leza Cantoral, amongst others, I was familiar with her work, but until today, I hadn’t had the pleasure of sampling her prose.
That all changed with Volume VI, which I believe was published in December, 2018, in Bracken magazine. Follow the link to read the short story for free:
Without saying too much, I was immediately struck by the ease of flow; the scattering of small details which, in turn, made for a much larger, visual scale; and, perhaps most impressive of all, intelligence on display. It was also very creative and original, with an emphasis on both bright and melancholic color schemes. It felt modern, and yet inexplicably vintage, reminiscent of Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, and old-school Stephen King.
Garden of Grudges wasn’t merely an education in the macabre, either. Kiste wrote with a lot of heart, and I think that was its strongest, and most surprising, feature.
The grudge had braided its way through the roots of all the vegetables. The radishes and beets and potatoes, each one poisoned with the dull silvery growth, its tendrils curling in every direction.
Rating: 5/5 stars