My grateful thanks to Adam Dickson for sending me a copy of his short story collection A Waltz Through The Dark Wood: in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share that review today.
A Waltz Through The Dark Wood was published on 24th August 2023 and is available for purchase here.
A Waltz Through The Dark Wood
Twelve powerful short stories that strip away the veneer and get right to the heart of the human condition. From the tensions that exist between lovers, to the heart-breaking realities of war. Out of these diverse elements, the forging of qualities that enable hope, dignity and ultimately transcendence to emerge. The essential dilemma of being human in a sometimes ruthless environment, dealing with circumstances beyond one’s control.
My Review of A Waltz Through The Dark Wood
A collection of 12 short stories.
A Waltz Through The Dark Wood is an interesting and eclectic mix of highly competent and imaginative writing.
There’s something for every reader in A Waltz Through The Dark Wood, from a modern retelling of the traditional Hansel and Gretal folk tale, through murder and extra-marital affairs to war, collaboration and betrayal. There’s both love and hatred here, displayed in raw and often poetic language. I loved the final paragraph of Christ and the Devil for example. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author adapts style to subject theme and era, because it makes each story feel fresh and different. Direct speech in particular adds to this effect, being natural and engaging.
Adam Dickson has the ability to show his readers right inside the minds of his characters, making them feel real and often evoking strong emotion in the reader. Many of these people suffer considerably at the hands of others in events that can be bleak to read about and experience vicariously through the writing, and yet there’s an attractive honesty in the darkest moments, many of which are ameliorated by hope and self understanding meaning that A Waltz Through The Dark Wood includes light and shade in a careful balance.
There’s a wide range of genre represented in A Waltz Through The Dark Wood so that I feel sure any reader will find a story that resonates with them. Recent history as in Collaborator or dystopian, almost science fiction elsewhere. I found Zero-Sum Game especially effective as the narrative builds with absolutely recognisable vignettes towards an unexpected and chilling conclusion. Indeed, these stories all demonstrate considerable skill in Adam Dickson’s writing.
I fear A Waltz Through The Dark Wood might be a quiet book that not enough readers discover and that would be a shame as here is a writer of intensity, drama and impact. I recommend you try these stories for yourself.
About Adam Dickson
Adam Dickson was a student of Bill Stanton’s Writer’s Tutorial for several years, learning the craft of writing fiction. His novels are The Butterfly Collector, Drowning by Numbers, Billy Riley and Indigo Blue.
A lifetime fitness enthusiast, Adam suffered two massive brain seizures in 2003 and was left permanently disabled. In spite of this setback, he took up triathlon and began entering races, competing in Ironman UK in 2007. He co-authored Triathlon – Serious About Your Sport which was published by New Holland in May 2012. Two more titles on Swimming and Cycling were published in March 2013.
Adam has also written a book on mental health, Surfing the Edge – a survivors guide to bipolar disorder, which was published in October 2015.
His screenplay, Heart of a Murderer, is based on a real-life murder case that caused a media sensation in England in 1946. Filming is currently on hold awaiting funding applications.
In February 2020, Adam appeared as one of the experts in the CBS Reality series Murder by the Sea, in the episode ‘Neville Heath Lady Killer.’
You’ll find all Adam’s books here.