WORSE THINGS THAN SPIDERS AND OTHER STORIES By Samantha Lee, Shadow Publishing, s/b £7.99, www.shadowpublishing.webeasysite.co.uk
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
According to the bio at the back of this collection of excellent short stories, Samantha Lee is best known for scripting the children’s television classic, Rainbow, at one time. The stories held in this collection though, couldn’t be further from the heady days of George, Bungle and Zippy.
The opening tale “Worse Things Than Spiders” sees an aspiring actress who suffers from arachnophobia working in a hotel acting in a corporate role-play training day. Put up overnight in the hotel, she finds herself terrorised by spiders and visions of a gigantic spider-like creature.
Another, “Take Five”, sees a jazz musician joining a group of deceased musicians on a stage in what he takes to be heaven, but soon realises is quite the opposite.
In “Sea Change”, a young boy is saved from drowning in the sea by a ghost. A couple having an affair are hounded by a mysterious white-robed figure in “Over My Dead Body”, and in “Scoop”, a mute, fat barman working in a South American bar panics and tries to run away when approached by a journalist whistling “Blue Suede Shoes”.
Lee’s work is impeccable – some of her ghoulish tales are only a few pages long, but all are exquisitely told.