Double Review: Peck & Following the Dead Tracks by Aiden Merchant

PECK - sara-kurfess - Cinema and Dated

Title: Peck

Author: Aiden Merchant

Release date: August 7th, 2020

I’ve know Aiden for a bit now and have read a few of his works and he had kindly asked me to beta read his story ‘Pray’ recently as well. He emailed me two short stories for review recently, which I read last night.

The first of the two is ‘Peck.’ Immediately, I was interested in what this story might encompass by the plague doctor mask adorning the cover.

‘Peck’ was a straight forward story filled with horrific gore. We are introduced to a man walking at night, only to have a creep rush them. They wake up naked, strapped to a table and this mysterious individual, who won’t speak a word then has their sadistic way.

I enjoyed the unflinching torture that occurred, with our character having no idea why they were chosen or why this individual was inflicting these acts on them.

I wasn’t a fan of the ending, finding out the real identity seemed a bit rushed and, while Aiden mentions in the afterword, it was designed to be humorous, it didn’t come across as all that funny without diving deeper into the story.

I think I would’ve enjoyed this one significantly more if it was a full length, detective murder mystery in the vein of the Saw series.



Title: Following the Dead Tracks

Author: Aiden Merchant

Release date: July 3, 2020

The second of the two short stories Aiden sent along was ‘Following the Dead Tracks.’ Of the two (the other being ‘Peck’) this was the stronger of the two, hands down.

Ben’s new boyfriend visits the same section of train tracks every Tuesday night. Eventually, he invites Ben to come visit the area but on a different night. We soon discover why and I really enjoyed the ‘why.’ The location and setting created was eerie and I enjoyed seeing the connection between the two characters.

One thing that I thought was a bit of a stretch was that a heinous crime had occurred where they were heading and Ben didn’t connect the dots between the crime, the victim and his boyfriend. The story mentioned that it had been on the news a lot, so that seemed a bit odd.

Aiden did mention that he was looking at expanding this story in the future, but I personally really enjoyed how this played out.



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