[Short] Review: High, High Country – Brandon Daubs
Short story| Speculative fiction| 8 pages
4/5. I read this story in the first issue of Three Crows Magazine (that’s a direct link to their site – no marketing ploys or any such nonsense, I just enjoyed their mag!). As with my earlier review for a Three Crows story (Animals of Ure -Daryna Stremetska), I won’t give away too much here purely due to the shortness of the piece.
Daubs is, according to the Three Crows’ summary, a rather prolific and well-known author with features in several other publications and anthologies and a fair few awards under his belt: it is clear to see why.
In just 8 pages Daubs creates a true sense of dread and intrigue in High, High Country, a tale in which one park ranger recounts a tale of terror to a fellow ranger whilst a brutal storm rages outside their cabin. The story is told in the second person, we are the addressee Phil in this folkish tale and I can genuinely say I have not seen this perspective so excellently presented before – the tension in the final few paragraphs was truly something else.
Not only does the subject matter lend itself well to this style of storytelling but Daubs himself writes in both an accessible and neat manner – no words are wasted in this short story. Absolutely no complaints with the author’s writing style or technique, it is refreshing to find prose which suits its narrative so well.
4/5 for this short. Daubs is clearly very good at what he does, and as with my review of Animals of Ure, my main complaint is that the journey is over so soon. Should the author ever create a larger narrative around these I events I would snap it up in a heartbeat. The originality of this story is difficult to judge due to its familiar style (not necessarily in books but other media) and the ending seemed to be just a tad too predictable for me to give it higher than 4/5. I think anybody with an interest in short, tension-filled narratives should pick have a read of this – especially with Halloween just around the corner!
The cover illustration is from the Three Crows Magazine, created by Cze Peku (https://www.artstation.com/czepeku). Check out the creator’s other great pieces!