Book Review: Surface Tension

This is going to be a shorter, no-spoiler review as I STRONGLY suggest you all purchase this wonderful collection of short stories to read for yourself and having spoilers will definitely diminish your enjoyment of them. Also a MASSIVE thank you to Claret Press for letting me review this – it’s an honour to work with you.

Instead I will here include the synopsis:

Surface Tension is a unique collection of six dark tales, which delves deep into the undercurrents of human psychology. Ghosts, heavenly creatures and magic-beings find fantastical ways to deliver messages of warning or redemption. From a widow longing to be reunited with her husband, to a mother trapped by guilt these stories reveal how life’s tragic events can change our perception and lead to unexpected consequences. The results are delightful stories that charm, intrigue and scare in equal measure.
After a fire in her house Coral is puzzled by the appearance of a mysterious light switch. Flicking the switch unleashes a supernatural force threatening her with the secrets of her family’s twisted past.
Anna has the lifestyle she’s always wanted until a violent attack robs her of everything. She’s left afraid and alone until courage is return to her by a visit from a strangely familiar child.
Embittered by his past regrets George is waiting to die. He rejects everyone, including his loyal daughter, Emily. His care-worker, and guardian angel, Gabriel attempts to persuade him to forgive, before he loses his last opportunity to live.
Vanessa has lost everything including her daughter Cherry. Without the love of her beloved mother she’s stuck and doesn’t know how to move on with her life.
Lonely Sirena risks everything when she makes her boss a declaration of love. Humiliation is guaranteed until she has an unusual encounter with a misplaced sea creature.
When Esther’s abusive dead husband returns to haunt her, she has to stop him taking over her life and dragging her into the grave.

I don’t often read ‘dark tales’ and this is my first experience of reading a collection of short stories but I have to admit I think I will be indulging in a lot more books of this sort. Each of the stories was unbelievably gripping and beautifully descriptive with enough similarities to make sense under the same title but whilst being unique at the same time.

My absolute favourites have to be: Switch, Cherry & Surface Tension

The characters are so wonderfully diverse and there’s definitely opportunities to both relate to the characters and to step back and truly see the story as a reader. One of my favourite quotes (which comes from Switch) is:

Despite how stupid it was, she still carried a secret fear of the unknown, a fear of the threats that nestle amongst ordinary thing.

I found this quote amusing, comforting and so applicable. I personally think this is something most adults feel, although not many would admit, and as a stand-alone quote, and within the novel itself, it felt like a remarkable and powerful sentence.

This novel was full of suspense, the panoramal, psychology undertones (lets be honest as Psychology underdgrad this was AWESOME) and ghosts so if those things appeal definitely go purchase yourself a copy and support a wonderful author. And if, like myself, it intrigues you but you’re unsure- give it a go! I honestly do not believe anyone could be disappointed.


A little about the author:

Sarah Gray has been storytelling all her professional life. As a television editor turned writer/director she has worked on hundreds of programmes and written and directed her own short films. Her education is in literature and writing, for prose and screen. Sarah’s focus is on short stories and she delights in both supernatural and comic genres. Some of the gothic themes within her novels are an expression of the struggle Sarah herself faces daily with her terminal illness Motor Neurons Disease, an unending battle that will unfortunately shorten her lifespan dramatically.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Surface Tension

  1. Glad you liked Cherry so much. I suggested to Sarah that she submit it to competitions because it’s so technically well-written (competitions tilt in favour of technical virtuosity). At a book slam fundraiser that we had for Motor Neuron’s Disease, we read Nail Gaiman and Saki and Edgar Allen Poe and we ended the night with Cherry. It brought the house down.


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