NIGHTMARE REALITY by Kyle Lybeck
This is Kyle’s second collection but it is my first experience reading his work. Given the accolades I had heard from others and the blurbs that grace it, I was expecting a dripping bouquet of extreme and brutal horror. NIGHTMARE REALITY is not, what it is a much more realistically based gathering of stories, many of which almost have the feel of urban legend or passed tales. It is one of the charms of the book.
Opening with EMILY’S FIRST FLIGHT, a short a gut-punch of a tale about a little girls first foray into the air, which is followed by FOREVER LOST, FOUND AGAIN. This triple-decker sandwich of grief, loss and grief is a story I was lucky enough to see the author read at a convention this past summer. It is a powerful piece. FINAL JOB is a tale of assassins and honor, while GHOST WARRIORS reminds me of an old campfire tale. BSL-4 is a modern tale of the disgruntled employee, with a little espionage added for flavor.
FAMILY VACATION mines the tragedy vein again, as so many of these stories do, this one packs a wallop when you finish that last paragraph. SPREADING MY LOVE is a modernly dark parable of revenge and the great lengths some go to exact it. The collection closes with BAD PICTURES which plays like an old episode of NIGHT GALLERY or something. Actually most of Lybeck’s stories carry that almost small screen flair.
I did not mention all of the stories here, I liked most. There were a couple that seemed a little “been there, done that” but had enough of a fresh voice added to make them palatable. I did like enough to recommend the collection and to want to follow this young man’s progress as he (hopefully) puts out more material. (John Boden)