The Hand That Pulls You Under — Tales of Absurdity and Lunacy by James Flynn is a collection that certainly lives up to it’s title!
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the author per request of an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on The Hand That Pulls You Under — Tales of Absurdity and Lunacy by James Flynn
In the preface, James states:
It is my humble hope that by the time you finish this book you will walk away feeling not only terrified, but gobsmacked and dizzy. I want you, the reader, to feel as though you have stared the unthinkable straight in the face, and shaken hands with the unimaginable.
When I first read that, I thought: Bring. It. On.
This collection did exactly that! I had a blast with most of the tales! Only a few weren’t for me.
I loved that each tale started with a poem, and that the poem set the mood for the short story that was to come next! There were even a few illustrations throughout.
My favorite stories from this collection include:
- Buried Memory
- The Drifter
- Be Careful What You Wish For
- Guilt Trip
Here are my thoughts on each tale:
The Residents of Hilltop Harrows
When a man falls on hard times, he ends up squatting in a place called Hilltop Harrows. The people he meets here, and their quirks that come out when they eat strange mushrooms that grow there, makes a lasting impression on him that he’ll never forget.
Oh my gosh, the turns this one took! I loved the main character and how easygoing he seemed. I kept getting so nervous that he would run into a really bad situation with a violent end. But I’m glad it was just a bizarre situation he wound up in!
Piece Of Mind, a place that customers can cost in order to replace their memories. When a man named Justin goes, he feels better afterward but he is haunted by nightmares. Meanwhile a man named Ryan has sold his memories to the company to be given to others, and he’s realized he may have made a mistake…
Oh man, not going to lie, I have some memories from high school and college that I would happily replace! It wouldn’t risk a stay memory slipping through? I’m not sure. This one was so frustrating in the unfairness of it all!
Determined to find out more about a legend of a man that wanders called the Drifter, this man trespasses into an old hospital site to see if he can get video footage. But when he sees something move in the shadows, his life will change forever.
This one was so unsettling. At first I loved learning the lore about the Drifter. But when the group traveled, the tone got a little darker and it made me so anxious!
A group called the Acute Ones are bored and try to find new ways to stay entertained in their synthetic life. Of course, the Acute Ones do something despicable.
Content warning for animal fighting. Boy was this one brutal… and the turn at the end was so not for me. As you could guess from the title, fans of sexual horror will enjoy this!
Be Careful What You Wish For
When an author writes up a novel with grisly murders, he’s hoping it will catch on as a cult classic. When he doesn’t see any traction, he decides to reenact parts of the book in real life…
What a twisted tale this one was! At first I was chuckling at the authors desperation, but once he became more unraveled, I was hooked!
When a family finds a cat dead on the curb by their home, they mourn the loss of their family pet. But then they see their cat come strolling by. Turns out it was a cat with the same markings. Rather than leaving the cat buried, they dig it up and out it back by the road… when the owner finds the original cat, she begins her quest for revenge.
This was so bizarre and sad. The decision making skills by these people was not great.
The Infinite Joyride
Not one for me. Fans of sexual horror will enjoy this!
When a prank while on LSD goes very wrong, a crew breaks apart. Years later, one man has a hunch that the people going missing in that town have something to do with the prank. So he goes to investigate…
THAT ENDING! My goodness. This whole story was so unsettling. I am not a fan of pranks to begin with, and seeing this one go wrong was heartbreaking.
What would happen if a machine was granted full rights to determine who or what was a fault during a court case? This story will allow readers to find out!
What a slippery slope this was! That poor woman who lost her baby…
The House of Human Pleasures
Another not for me as it was super sexual.
My Favorite Passage from The Hand That Pulls You Under
The interior of the hospital was like a setting for a demented dream. Old fashioned relics and artifacts of a time gone by sat in every crevice of every room and hallway, all covered in dead flies and dust. Metal trolleys with torn tablet boxes in their compartments beside stairwells, bed frames with mouldy mattresses occupied empty wards, and small storage cupboards here and there were filled with broken mops and half-disintegrated rubber gloves.
My Final Thoughts on The Hand That Pulls You Under
This is such a great collection to pick up if you need to get out of your head for a bit. Each tale is so different, and like the author promised, you will walk away having been terrified, gobsmacked, and much more!
Snag a copy through your local bookstore if you are able or feel free to use my Amazon affiliate link:
Thanks for reading!