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Starving Grounds

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Welcome to Sorrow Helm... To the woods and fens that surround it; to the creatures, cults and cruelties that hound it. Welcome to a collection of stories that bring folklore to life, that terrify and delight and that you should never, ever try to read at night. In Starving Grounds, Jay Alexander collects seven tales of madness and horror inspired by the marshes, fens and fol Welcome to Sorrow Helm... To the woods and fens that surround it; to the creatures, cults and cruelties that hound it. Welcome to a collection of stories that bring folklore to life, that terrify and delight and that you should never, ever try to read at night. In Starving Grounds, Jay Alexander collects seven tales of madness and horror inspired by the marshes, fens and folk stories of rural Britain. An antlered abomination tears nightmares from the trees and rends forests apart, aided and worshipped by strange, masked figures... a small community encourages tourists to visit The Bowls before they leave town - even if it means they never can... and on a fateful night in 1577, the Devil sends his dogs... All this and more in a collection that gathers stories like "Elken", "Fen King (A Duet)" and "Black Dogs in the Dark". Welcome to Sorrow Helm. You'll wish you'd never come...


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Welcome to Sorrow Helm... To the woods and fens that surround it; to the creatures, cults and cruelties that hound it. Welcome to a collection of stories that bring folklore to life, that terrify and delight and that you should never, ever try to read at night. In Starving Grounds, Jay Alexander collects seven tales of madness and horror inspired by the marshes, fens and fol Welcome to Sorrow Helm... To the woods and fens that surround it; to the creatures, cults and cruelties that hound it. Welcome to a collection of stories that bring folklore to life, that terrify and delight and that you should never, ever try to read at night. In Starving Grounds, Jay Alexander collects seven tales of madness and horror inspired by the marshes, fens and folk stories of rural Britain. An antlered abomination tears nightmares from the trees and rends forests apart, aided and worshipped by strange, masked figures... a small community encourages tourists to visit The Bowls before they leave town - even if it means they never can... and on a fateful night in 1577, the Devil sends his dogs... All this and more in a collection that gathers stories like "Elken", "Fen King (A Duet)" and "Black Dogs in the Dark". Welcome to Sorrow Helm. You'll wish you'd never come...

42 review for Starving Grounds

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jack Harding

    The seven stories that make up Jay Alexander’s new collection are as haunting as they are unsettling, each offering something a little different - a little special - to a macabre, gore-splashed canvas of colour, character and unnerving beauty that’s stooped in lore and dripping with atmosphere. Alexander paints a series of sinister shorts so vivid, so unique, fierce and palpable, yet undeniably mysterious, that any fan of folk horror (or horror fiction, period) will be hard-pushed not to come aw The seven stories that make up Jay Alexander’s new collection are as haunting as they are unsettling, each offering something a little different - a little special - to a macabre, gore-splashed canvas of colour, character and unnerving beauty that’s stooped in lore and dripping with atmosphere. Alexander paints a series of sinister shorts so vivid, so unique, fierce and palpable, yet undeniably mysterious, that any fan of folk horror (or horror fiction, period) will be hard-pushed not to come away from Sorrow Helm both thrilled and fulfilled. The author’s passion for - and perhaps fear of - the fens, forests and little-known legends of rural Britain shine through in wave after wave of exquisitely written tales that burrow under the skin and refuse to move on. There’s a lot of variety and range on show, and yet each story compliments one another in a big way to form a larger, layered, and multifaceted picture of age-old terror that’s more than the sum of its parts. That said, Starving Ground’s sophomore story, The Hucker Hole, deserves a special mention here on account of it being, quite possibly, the finest piece of short horror fiction I’ve read this year. Upon reading, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to the likes of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary and Ray Bradbury’s The One Who Waits. Big names, yes, but this dark and brooding slice of beautifully crafted horror will stay with you long after you’ve finished the collection. It’s an absolute masterclass in misdirection and second person storytelling and, for me, gleams as the jewel in the thorny crown of what I genuinely consider to be Alexander’s finest work to date. Overlook this at your peril!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gibbothegreat

    I was offered an eARC in exchange for an honest opinion. After reading "The Launching" which I loved, I was offered the opportunity to read "Starving Grounds" and I'm so glad to say what a fantastic collection of creepy/gory/haunted stories all bundled together as a great read. The collection comprises of seven folklore horror stories, each creepy and violent with plenty of mutilated bodies and gallons of blood. They're all very creepy but my favourites are: The Bowels, a mysterious hole in the wood I was offered an eARC in exchange for an honest opinion. After reading "The Launching" which I loved, I was offered the opportunity to read "Starving Grounds" and I'm so glad to say what a fantastic collection of creepy/gory/haunted stories all bundled together as a great read. The collection comprises of seven folklore horror stories, each creepy and violent with plenty of mutilated bodies and gallons of blood. They're all very creepy but my favourites are: The Bowels, a mysterious hole in the woods together with a very strange hotel where guests are welcomed but not allowed to leave. Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So? this one really got me!. A bit unsettling but creepy as hell, left me wanting more. Jay's writing style is something else, especially when explaining what Nana does with the cleaver, which left me a bit squeamish but wanting more. So, overall a great read and looking forward to his future projects.

  3. 4 out of 5

    looneybooks79

    I received an ARC from author Jay Alexander… this book will be released on June 20th! Pre-order it now, it’ll be well worth it! I want to begin with thanking Jay for the copy I received! This collection contains seven folk horror tales: Elken, which I had already read in January (my review for that short is also on Goodreads) and which I reread to have a feel of what else was to come in this collection. Elken was definitely a great story, with a very dark atmosphere. The Hucker Hole: one of my two I received an ARC from author Jay Alexander… this book will be released on June 20th! Pre-order it now, it’ll be well worth it! I want to begin with thanking Jay for the copy I received! This collection contains seven folk horror tales: Elken, which I had already read in January (my review for that short is also on Goodreads) and which I reread to have a feel of what else was to come in this collection. Elken was definitely a great story, with a very dark atmosphere. The Hucker Hole: one of my two favourites in this collection. The first thing I noticed was how the person talking spoke to someone, about someone but also referring to himself which felt bizarre at first, but once you reach the end of this tale, you are left mouth wide open and baffled. Jay’s talent as a writer is very obvious in this one… (the entire collection proved to be a testimony to his talent!) Fen King (a Duet): this was the only little tale I felt a bit underwhelmed with this one… but as it was a short one, it doesn’t spoil the fun… and it wasn’t bad either, let me be clear…! The Soft Parts: this is my second favourite of this collection! A folk tale that raises clay creatures into a small town which ends up in an inferno! This was written with such vigour and if really oozes from its pages! The Bowls: across several decades a b&b is the focal point of a lot of disappearances. Who will find the reason and who can stop it? Why doth Nana cleave me so?: I’m sure Jay had fun writing this because, although very short, it has such an impact! 🔪 Black dogs in the dark: the final story is a cruel one (well, they all are 🤭) where a bunch of people huddle together and hide in a church for some vicious hellhounds. I had so much fun reading this, even had all else on the side just to read this. I’m sure a lot of horror fans will enjoy reading this. Fans of movies such as The Ritual and Midsommar will definitely find what they are looking for in this collection! And as far as I’m concerned, Jay has put a seriously huge stamp on the indiehorror community (writers ànd readers) and will lure a whole bunch of new readers to the community! Great work, Jay! Well done! 👏

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dave Musson

    I’ve always found folk horror a slog. Most of the previous examples I’ve read have been too pretentious, too earnest, and too boring to get me enthused. But, it turns out I just needed the right person to guide me in, and that person turned out to be Jay Alexander. As Jay himself notes in his afterword, this is his first attempt at this genre. And, reader, he nails it. The seven tales here are bloody, goorey, and creepy as anything. More than anything though, they’re brilliantly told; Jay’s narra I’ve always found folk horror a slog. Most of the previous examples I’ve read have been too pretentious, too earnest, and too boring to get me enthused. But, it turns out I just needed the right person to guide me in, and that person turned out to be Jay Alexander. As Jay himself notes in his afterword, this is his first attempt at this genre. And, reader, he nails it. The seven tales here are bloody, goorey, and creepy as anything. More than anything though, they’re brilliantly told; Jay’s narrative voice has the pacing and mystique of a camp fire orator - his words draw you in, and take you down paths you would never normally dream of treading, before bringing you out in a clearing full of all sorts of awful horrors. It’s a thrilling ride. There’s something noteworthy about every single story collected here. The blood, snow, and antlers of Elken lulls you in before a quite terrifying and heart-racing climax, The Hucker Hole is dark, disturbing, and shocking, while the Fen King’s structure and story are both disorientating and tense. The Soft Parts is grim and gross before hitting with a surprise finale, The Bowls interweave a plethora of timelines with a really strong pair of nasty lead characters, while Black Dogs in the Dark bring the infamous Norfolk tale of the Black Shuck to life vividly. But, it’s Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So? that takes the prize as my favourite here. It is devilishly dark, shockingly violent, and downright bleak. Also, the way the author uses the sentence ‘the pain was incredible’ made me wince as my guts twisted and whole body shuddered. It’s obvious that the writer behind these tales is a talented one, but Starving Grounds is impressive for more than just being of incredibly high quality. They nail the folk horror brief because they feel well-worn, lived in, like they’ve been handed down through the generations - as well as being all kinds of scary. You can feel the wind whipping your face, smell the musty undergrowth of those creepy woods, and the thought of sunset will make you shiver. Jay’s passion for the wilderness, and the stories hidden within, are evident and it feels like he has truly found his niche. If this is how good his first attempt is, I can’t wait to read more. Thanks to the author for the ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alana K. Drex

    "Nobody knows for sure -- well, plenty do, I'm certain, but they ain't much for telling us about it, are they?" (from THE HUCKER HOLE) I didn't know how utterly horrifying folk horror could be until reading this anthology of short stories. There's a main theme of the land and surrounding nature in Sorrow's Helm holding evil properties. You do not want to stay the night in this place...keep driving!! My favorites were: THE HUCKER HOLE: There's a myth about the Hucker Hole, a deep hole that you do no "Nobody knows for sure -- well, plenty do, I'm certain, but they ain't much for telling us about it, are they?" (from THE HUCKER HOLE) I didn't know how utterly horrifying folk horror could be until reading this anthology of short stories. There's a main theme of the land and surrounding nature in Sorrow's Helm holding evil properties. You do not want to stay the night in this place...keep driving!! My favorites were: THE HUCKER HOLE: There's a myth about the Hucker Hole, a deep hole that you do not want to fall down...not because you won't come back out -- but because you WILL. THE BOWLS Spend the night at Mr. And Mrs. Robbins inn and take in the sight of "the bowls" the towns landmark of 5 huge dips into the earth. How did they get there? More importantly, what is there purpose? I don't want to say more, but this one really had my heart racing! BLACK DOGS IN THE DARK: Scary from the start, a group is hiding locked in a church, should they help the people screaming outside the door? The group is torn. I really appreciated the descriptions in this one and the dialog was on point. I highly recommend, read one per night and get your dose of adrenaline before bedtime. Caution: May induce vivid nightmares!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kyle J. Durrant

    I've not read much folk horror, but it certainly does intrigue me. Before picking up this collection, I'd already had a chance to check out two of the stories inside it. That meant I knew what to expect, somewhat, and was excited to explore more of Sorrow Helm, the shared setting of most of these works (I believe). This was a great collection, one I'm glad I got the opportunity to read, and one I definitely recommend. It's out on June 20th, so preorder your ebook (or set a reminder for the day so I've not read much folk horror, but it certainly does intrigue me. Before picking up this collection, I'd already had a chance to check out two of the stories inside it. That meant I knew what to expect, somewhat, and was excited to explore more of Sorrow Helm, the shared setting of most of these works (I believe). This was a great collection, one I'm glad I got the opportunity to read, and one I definitely recommend. It's out on June 20th, so preorder your ebook (or set a reminder for the day so you can grab the great quality paperback). Elken - Second time reading this story, and I think it was better on a reread. Also a particularly strong opener for what lies ahead. We're introduced to Sorrow Helm and its unnerving atmosphere, as well as being delivered an entertaining but twisted tale. The Hucker Hole - Probably my favourite in the collection. Things feel "off" throughout, though nothing truly horrific really happens until the final reveal, but Jay uses language brilliantly to leave you on edge. Fen King (A Duet) - I struggled a bit with this story, not because it was a poor story but because it used a more experimental style (in my eyes) that I struggled to connect with. Interesting, though. The Soft Parts - This was a fun one with some very interesting ideas. I look forward to rereading this one day to see if I can pick up hints I missed the first time. Really liked this one. The Bowls - A great story that I'd love to see expanded to something bigger. Fascinating mythology and a plotline that grabbed me and didn't let go. Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So? - Second time reading this story. Great story, very unsettling, raising questions until the dark ending. I want to know more about the lore in this one, too. Black Dogs in the Dark - I feel a connection to this one, as I lived in the town of Bungay (where part of this tale it set) for several years. An interesting take on the myth; a strong close to the collection. This is a strong, thoroughly enjoyable folk horror collection, and I look forward to seeing what comes next from Jay.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Samuel (Still Reading Sam) M.

    "You understand the importance of stories, now" . Spoilers / Review for Starving Grounds . Jay Alexander's collection of folk horror stories is a well crafted collection and shows such passion and love for the subgenre of folk horror. Included in this collection are (brief review and rating for each); . Elken - 1971, Sorrow Helm. Dr Wilbur Rowan is a cartographer mapping the woods around Sorrow Helm. But something lurks out there... A killer opening story and my personal favourite. The setting, the wo "You understand the importance of stories, now" . Spoilers / Review for Starving Grounds . Jay Alexander's collection of folk horror stories is a well crafted collection and shows such passion and love for the subgenre of folk horror. Included in this collection are (brief review and rating for each); . Elken - 1971, Sorrow Helm. Dr Wilbur Rowan is a cartographer mapping the woods around Sorrow Helm. But something lurks out there... A killer opening story and my personal favourite. The setting, the woods, the atmosphere and feel you get whilst reading Elken, the mysterious elements of it all come together in a big way to form a great story. There's some brilliant twists and turns to this and is a superb opener. 5/5 ⭐ The Hucker Hole - Told via a second person narrative, you are haunted by mysterious yellow eyes and a voice in a pit. You know to stay away from the Hucker Hole but you can feel the pull o f something... I don't do well with second person narrative but this one really worked. The descriptions and way it's written show Alexander's skill. There's a number of themes that are dealt with here and are all weaved together well. The ending threw me a bit but still a great story. 4.5/5 ⭐ The Fen King (A Duet) - Crossing the Fens and marshlands, the narrator struggles partly due to being drunk, partly due to thoughts of the Fen King... It took me a bit to get info this one but it was good. The Fen King is an intriguing character and his origins were a stand out moment for me. It has a great climax and ends on a great note. 4.25/5 ⭐ The Soft Parts - Opening with Diana playing her violin at her mother's coastal grave, TSP also features Samuel Codling playing chess with his friend, Clive. But this story gets very strange very quickly... This one really sang to me as a reader. It's very off beat but very enjoyable. The stranger elements make this one so good I think. Diana and her father and Codling are all wonderful characters and I got lost in their story. I couldn't help but wonder if a tiny bit more could have been squeezed out towards the end. 4.5/5 ⭐ The Bowls - Covering decades of history, The Bowls is a series of shorts forming a larger narrative... It's hard to describe this one. But I really enjoyed it again. It doesn't play out chronologically which plays to the stories favour. Its presented very unusually but that's why it works. 4.5/5 ⭐ Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So? - Leanne is trapped in a cabin with her deadly and dangerous Nana... This one plays on a classic theme of older members gone rogue but Alexander puts a good spin on it. It gets dark and weird but again enjoyable. I do with it was longer however. 4.25/5 ⭐ Black Dogs in the Dark - Set in the Tudor Era, BDITD opens with Elizabeth at St Mary's Church wherein lays a site of chaos... I liked this one and it's a good closer. In some ways, it has elements of "The Thing" to it. The religious tones to it work well. But again I wish we had more. 4.5/5 ⭐ . Many thanks to Jay for the ARC. Overall 4.5/5 ⭐ for this. Strongly recommend checking it out!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vix

    A great collection of folk horror and I love the fact it's set in The Fens, which is very close to where I grew up - so I have heard some of the folklore (and know to steer clear of the lantern men). The cover is stunning too, I love the colours and the abstract face of (I'm presuming) The Fen King. Some very creepy stories, and the language was quite poetic in a few of them. My particular favourites were "The Hucker Hole" and "Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So". "The Hucker Hole" had a great build-up, th A great collection of folk horror and I love the fact it's set in The Fens, which is very close to where I grew up - so I have heard some of the folklore (and know to steer clear of the lantern men). The cover is stunning too, I love the colours and the abstract face of (I'm presuming) The Fen King. Some very creepy stories, and the language was quite poetic in a few of them. My particular favourites were "The Hucker Hole" and "Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So". "The Hucker Hole" had a great build-up, then a nice twist ending. "Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So" was just down right gruesome - the vivid imagery was something else. Whilst "The Bowls" was the longest story, I felt it wasn't long enough. There is so much more that needs to be explored - it could be a whole story all to itself. Every time I drive past the "Welcome to Fenland" sign, I will be thinking of this book. If you like folk horror then this is for you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Langley

    Jay Alexander's collection, Starving Grounds promises "seven tales of madness and horror, inspired by the marshes, fens, and folk stories of rural Britain." Mostly, it delivers in this blood-soaked and inventive collection of stories. It gets off to an absolutely cracking start with a pair of excellent stories in 'Elken' and 'The Hucker Hole'. 'Elken' introduces the setting well, and it's not long before that intense atmosphere of dread builds. The use of antlers within the story worked really we Jay Alexander's collection, Starving Grounds promises "seven tales of madness and horror, inspired by the marshes, fens, and folk stories of rural Britain." Mostly, it delivers in this blood-soaked and inventive collection of stories. It gets off to an absolutely cracking start with a pair of excellent stories in 'Elken' and 'The Hucker Hole'. 'Elken' introduces the setting well, and it's not long before that intense atmosphere of dread builds. The use of antlers within the story worked really well. Next up, 'The Hucker Hole' gives us a second-person story, teasing the range of different perspectives and approaches Alexander takes in this collection. It's a great story, this one, with a mysterious well that you're warned to keep away from, until the true horror of the past emerges. Fen King (A Duet) is another story with an experimental style, two perpectives in tandem seeing the same event through different eyes, one set innocent, the other less so. The Soft Parts sees an attack on a small community. It's gruesome, and the end very effective. Next comes The Bowls, among the strongest of the stories with a narrative that jumps through time to tell us about the mysterious being that opperates around the area known as The Bowls, five huge impressions in the earth. The choppy narrative perhaps means it lacks a solid conclusion, but the journey through it is still entertaining. Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So? is absolutely drenched in blood. It's pretty grim this one. We end with a journey back in time with Black Dogs in the Dark which probably has the best ending of all of the stories. Each story is well written. The longer stories show Alexander's skill at building a more complex narrative, and these stories are perhaps more pleasing. Throughout, the description is great, particularly when things get a little gory. The atmosphere throughout is creepy. I would have liked to have seen this widened a little to give more of a universal view of Sorrow Helm. While the place was mentioned in a number of stories, they didn't always feel totally connected to that place. And as much as I enjoyed these stories and their visceral content, they are a rather dark and hopeless bunch! Even the lighter moments tend to come from dark humour. An entertaining collection of vividly-described visceral terrors. I rushed through it, and had a great time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Miltos Theodossiou

    I asked the author for an ARC because, after reading his novellas Elken and The Lunchling, I couldn’t wait to read his collection of stories. The collection is all folk horror, top quality, great setting and outstanding prose. Elken is included here as well, opening the collection with this very strong story of a man essentially lost in the woods, both literally and metaphorically. The real threat to his sanity, however, turns out to be something a lot more sinister than relationship hardships o I asked the author for an ARC because, after reading his novellas Elken and The Lunchling, I couldn’t wait to read his collection of stories. The collection is all folk horror, top quality, great setting and outstanding prose. Elken is included here as well, opening the collection with this very strong story of a man essentially lost in the woods, both literally and metaphorically. The real threat to his sanity, however, turns out to be something a lot more sinister than relationship hardships or professional hurdles. It's, well, antlers. I gladly reread Elken; even knowing what’s to come, it remains a dark and deeply atmospheric folk horror story. What follows is a number of standard folk horror stories (not gore and splatter, but Midsommar as Shirley Jackson might have done it, trips gone incredibly awry, children discovering uncomfortable truths about themselves, couples uncovering dark plots and meeting entirely creepy endings); and then comes “The Bowls.” What a gem! A great ride from one decade to the next (and back again), a horrifying tale from beginning to end. Don’t expect answers: the horror lies in the unknown brutally beating on your door deep in the night. This iconic tale has everything: a haunted forest, mysterious disappearances, vicious B&B owners, and a hint of old gods. Obviously, “The Bowls” is my favorite story of the collection. Close second comes the story after that, “Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So?” It’s not difficult to guess what’s going on, but the author’s use of language and the increasing sense of dread make this story scary and bloody as hell; the ending is stunning: it reveals a lot about what family means in a folk horror setting. So, there you have it: a chilling, outstanding collection of folk horror stories, a genuine voice from deep in the woods, stalking the fields and waiting to pounce on the innocent – and the not so innocent. Highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Jay Alexander stitches beautifully horrifying tapestries of tales with such detail in his words that you can see everything as if you have had first hand experiences in the scenes that play out before you. As you read each story With desperately eager eyes urging you to continue, mesmerized by plot, characters, settings, and fear, you fail to notice the chill creeping up your spine or the slight tremors in your hands until it's to late and you have already been submerged into the depths of the s Jay Alexander stitches beautifully horrifying tapestries of tales with such detail in his words that you can see everything as if you have had first hand experiences in the scenes that play out before you. As you read each story With desperately eager eyes urging you to continue, mesmerized by plot, characters, settings, and fear, you fail to notice the chill creeping up your spine or the slight tremors in your hands until it's to late and you have already been submerged into the depths of the sentences before you. You end up giving your full attention to this book, and for a time, become a citizen of Sorrow Helm as you sink into starving grounds.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Bohills

    Jay Alexander Starving Grounds Jay Alexander’s Starving Grounds is a collection of seven short stories dripping in an disquieting atmosphere. The Folk Horror tales are of varying length, in which I felt the longer ones were able to pack more of a punch but they all were still very good, one of the shorter one I enjoyed was ‘Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So?’ which I think we can all agree is an excellent title! To me ‘The Bowls’ was the one that give me a feeling wanting more from it, but that’s based on Jay Alexander Starving Grounds Jay Alexander’s Starving Grounds is a collection of seven short stories dripping in an disquieting atmosphere. The Folk Horror tales are of varying length, in which I felt the longer ones were able to pack more of a punch but they all were still very good, one of the shorter one I enjoyed was ‘Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So?’ which I think we can all agree is an excellent title! To me ‘The Bowls’ was the one that give me a feeling wanting more from it, but that’s based on how much I enjoyed it rather than something being missing. Starving Grounds has been officially released this week so if you like short horror stories you should check this out.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Windy

    I just added Folk Horror to my list of fav sub genres. I had no idea how frightening it could be until I dug into this short story collection. There are 7 chilling short stories here, each one freaked me out and for all different reasons! And the detail! Talk about setting the atmosphere. I just loved the earthly and eerie scene ambience. My top three are Why Doth Nana Cleave Me So, The Soft Parts and The Bowls. The Bowls really did a number on me 😱 I highly recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Craig Randall

    I LOVED this collection of stories. Love it! I've been following Jay for a while in IG-land and have appreciated his consistent presence and jumped at the opportunity to read this. Jay's not just a good writer, he's a purveyor of the genre of horror, and it's many sub-genres, but also of the craft of writing itself. Not only does he branch out into a different sub-genre, he does it boldly and takes massive chances with story structure, narrative perspective, and elements that create break-neck p I LOVED this collection of stories. Love it! I've been following Jay for a while in IG-land and have appreciated his consistent presence and jumped at the opportunity to read this. Jay's not just a good writer, he's a purveyor of the genre of horror, and it's many sub-genres, but also of the craft of writing itself. Not only does he branch out into a different sub-genre, he does it boldly and takes massive chances with story structure, narrative perspective, and elements that create break-neck pacing which kept me on the edge of my seat (and from breathing for unhealthy amounts of time! Ha! Good for horror!) and engaged the whole time! This is the first time in YEARS I've seen someone write in the second person narrative style, but succeed! It was fun and kept me guessing! Of all the stories, that one's pacing shifted and slowed, but it worked so well with how it was told, it was needed! One of the reasons I've come to appreciate Jay's writing so much is choices like that. Some readers will scoff and ignore wonderful strokes like that because 'it doesn't fit what they're used to.' It's not 'normal.' THAT'S THE POINT OF STORIES AND WRITING! TO GROW AND TO EXPAND! AND TO PUSH THE GENRE! I believe Jay's doing just that with this collection. A series of stories all set around the same geographical location, themes, and wonderful amounts of gruesome terror and dread. This collection is not for the faint of heart. There are brutal, brutal moments, which Jay, without flinching simply walks us right into. My favorite of the collection is probably The Soft Parts. I won't spoil why, but will state that I simply loved it. It was one of those stories I wished I had come up with. If you haven't pre-ordered this book/read it or read any of Jay's other work: GET IT NOW! Buy it. Devour it. Go review it. Get this work in as many hands as possible, because it's a wonderful read. Oh, and he does all the art (cover and inside) himself! Great work, Jay! Can't wait to keep reading!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maddy

    This is a collection of seven tales of folk horror that take you to the dark, gory, horrifying, and beautiful forests and marshes of rural Britain. They're chock full of exactly what I want from folk horror: antlers, mud, blood, skulls and bones, cults and pagan churches, unknown gods. I give every story in this collection five stars. They are each so different in regards to style and plot, but they work together well. The stories are original, and most of the endings completely surprised me. I' This is a collection of seven tales of folk horror that take you to the dark, gory, horrifying, and beautiful forests and marshes of rural Britain. They're chock full of exactly what I want from folk horror: antlers, mud, blood, skulls and bones, cults and pagan churches, unknown gods. I give every story in this collection five stars. They are each so different in regards to style and plot, but they work together well. The stories are original, and most of the endings completely surprised me. I'm not going to review/describe each story individually because I had so much not knowing what was coming next while reading, and I don't want to ruin that for anyone else. Just know that they were beautiful and terrifying (and a little gross). Jay Alexander's writing is wonderful. I find it very easy to read - it's not simple (in fact, it's highly detailed), but everything flows so well that I get lost in it. One of the stories is written in second person, which I normally can't stand, but he pulls it off, and the effect is very unsettling. I also appreciate that the dialogue is realistic and natural. I cannot recommend Starving Grounds enough. Seriously, if you like horror, you have to read this. It is easily one of my favorite short story collections. Thank you so much to Jay Alexander for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Starving Grounds by Jay Alexander is another wonderful read. Seven stories of purely wicked folk horror fun. The stories are vivid and colorful, and written with great imagination. Each tale speaks with a voice and dialect of its own, challenging the reader through their styles, mysteries and suspense. His descriptive precision is carried over from The Lunchling and his imagery walks the reader through these twisting tales like a host leading guests through a haunted farm attraction. Starving Gr Starving Grounds by Jay Alexander is another wonderful read. Seven stories of purely wicked folk horror fun. The stories are vivid and colorful, and written with great imagination. Each tale speaks with a voice and dialect of its own, challenging the reader through their styles, mysteries and suspense. His descriptive precision is carried over from The Lunchling and his imagery walks the reader through these twisting tales like a host leading guests through a haunted farm attraction. Starving Grounds is a suspenseful ride and a perfect read to remind you of all of those little dark places that reside just outside your door…or perhaps within.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Phillips

    Absolutely excellent, well written short stories. They were brutally descriptive and genuinely scary! I won't be forgetting these anytime soon. I highly recommend to any horror lover! Absolutely excellent, well written short stories. They were brutally descriptive and genuinely scary! I won't be forgetting these anytime soon. I highly recommend to any horror lover!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    Really well written collection of stories. I think the problem is me. I don't like folk horror as much as I thought I did. If you're into folk horror, this is probably a 5-star read Really well written collection of stories. I think the problem is me. I don't like folk horror as much as I thought I did. If you're into folk horror, this is probably a 5-star read

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shawna Mathieu

    Even better I read "Elken" as a separate publication, and was happy to find the author had written even more. These stories will draw you towards, and the same time repel you from, the deep woods. Even better I read "Elken" as a separate publication, and was happy to find the author had written even more. These stories will draw you towards, and the same time repel you from, the deep woods.

  20. 5 out of 5

    H. Everend

  21. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca L Nicholson

  23. 5 out of 5

    delila ann hook

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Wellner

  25. 4 out of 5

    Renee Omens

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bee

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brutal Bookshelf

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lee-ellen Howells

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam Lonberg

  30. 4 out of 5

    V

  31. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

  32. 4 out of 5

    Albert Ekholm

  33. 4 out of 5

    Cass

  34. 4 out of 5

    Gunnar

  35. 4 out of 5

    Dafne ❀

  36. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Ross

  37. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Cady

  38. 4 out of 5

    Robb

  39. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

  40. 5 out of 5

    Alena

  41. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  42. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Clough

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