Hunger For Death by Joshua Marsella is dark, gritty, and it has loads of heartbreak and terror. As Joshua’s first short story collection, this one is sure to blow readers away!
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way. I also purchased a copy.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Hunger For Death by Joshua Marsella
I absolutely love short stories. When I saw Joshua tweet about a future collection, I couldn’t wait! I immediately added it to my list of upcoming releases to keep an eye on.
Later on, when the call came for beta readers, I threw my name in immediately. I’m so honored to say that I was part of the beta reading crew.
As soon as the ebook popped into my inbox, I loaded it on my kindle and got ready to dive in that weekend. And thank goodness I saved it for the weekend; I couldn’t put it down!
This collection absolutely rules! Each story is so different from one another and each one packs a punch of its own. From the horrific to the heartbreaking, readers are in for quite the ride with these short stories.
Per usual, here are my notes on each tale:
Daphne – Five Stars
While attending to his nightly chores, this boy finds that one of their pigs has gone missing. As he goes to investigate, things go very, very wrong.
This tale is so unsettling! And that ending! Phew!
To Feast With Orphans – Five Stars
When three drunken men attack a man dressed as Santa who had been out on the street looking for donations, they think they’ve gotten away with it. But boy are they wrong!
This tale is absolutely brutal! Buckle up before diving into this one!
Coma Toast – Five Stars
My god. This is something straight out of my nightmares! Readers that enjoy stories that make them shout “OH NO” right out loud are sure to love this one! I won’t be forgetting this one any time soon…
A Room Full of Toys – Five Stars
When a mother is invited to an important party, she brings her kids along. Not wanting the children to be mingling around the adults, they are brought to a room full of toys. But once they play a record, they hear noises from the attic and they go to see what it could be.
This one was eerie and so sad! The little gut punches just keep rolling in.
Polybus- Four Stars
Danforth is a man that lives a simple life that revolves around his puzzles. When a surprise gift is left on his doorstep, he is pleased to find that it contains a puzzle. And of course, he can’t help but put it together.
While I was super excited to find out what this puzzle was, I was also terrified of what else was going to happen! The slow way that this story comes together section by section just like the puzzle itself is brilliant!
The Blue Cliffs – Four Stars
A young man who struggles with guilt around an accident is teetering on making a life altering decision. But when someone began to talk with him, he’s able to see the situation more clearly for the first time.
This tale was handled so perfectly. I struggle reading about suicidal thoughts having been there myself time and time again. Joshua really has something special with this tale. And an extra shout out to the author for adding the note about the suicide hotline at the end.
The Cauldron – Five Stars
When a boy approaches a known horror fan to tell him about a cauldron he found in the woods, it piques the teens interest. As they enter the woods and approach the cabin, the horror fan is in heaven!
Ah I love tales that center around old buildings in the woods! The pacing of this one was excellent and I loved the ending!
Mean Old Mr. Amesbury – Four Stars
When a high school party ends in tragedy, the local swimming spot is fenced off to keep trespassers out. Years later, three kids sneak in to enjoy the water.
The world needs more kids like this one! Such a sad tale with a dose of spookiness!
A Trailer Park Christmas – Four Stars
On this Christmas night, a man is forced to come to terms with a horrible event from his life that he had been in a bit of denial about. But it’s not just coal he’ll be getting as a result of the event…
This tale was so unsettling! It was clear this guy was a bit of a turd, but the more we learn about him, the easier it is to hate him.
Man Of My Dreams – Four Stars
A woman haunted by nightmares finally opened up to her wife about what happened. But it’s not just the secrets and nightmares that these two should be weary of.
This one had my blood boiling! I can see the situation from all sides, but it still made me so angry. Even so, I was hoping for the best. This poor woman!
Desecrated – Five Stars
When a grandson visiting his grandfather at a VA hospital takes him out fishing, they fish in the pond on the grounds that was off limits. After catching a stick, they reel something else in that makes them realize why this area was not supposed to be used.
This one was so heartwarming at first, but it certainly takes a turn!
Unholy Communion – Four Stars
When a boys’ curiosity gets the best of him, he sees something that he wasn’t meant to see in the basement of the local church.
Eep! Stories set in churches always spook me. This poor kid will certainly be haunted by this!
Sacrifice – Four Stars
After bombs are dropped, a pregnant woman is forced to try to walk to the neighboring town before she gives birth.
This one had me ready to jump out of my skin while reading. I absolutely cannot imagine being in this poor woman’s shoes!
My Favorite Passages from Hunger For Death
She knew she’d never be able to forgive her brother, nor would she forget the face of the boy that was too scared to leave the dark room in the attic for fear of what was in the light.
As a million thoughts ran circles in his mind, one question never game to pass; did it mean to do him harm?
At what point in life did I lose that sense of wonder and imagination? Perhaps it’s something intentionally let go for fear of being perceived as immature… such a shame to lose so much of who we were just to be accepted by those who’ll never accept us anyway.
My Final Thoughts on Hunger For Death
This is such an amazing collection with wonderful range. Joshua is really showing off his skill here and I am so here for it. If this isn’t already on your TBR, I highly recommend going to add it right away.
I cannot wait to read what Joshua writes next!
Preorder your copy today using my Amazon Affiliate link so you can dive in on release day, November 30th, 2021!
Thanks for reading!
One last thing I’d love to point out is that Joshua added a page to the front of the collection to direct readers to the back if they are interested in seeing content warnings. I LOVE this approach so much.