Review of Ashley Lister’s “Raven and Skull”

Raven and Skull review ashley lister“Tell us about a time you nearly died, Tony.”

I met Ashley Lister at Eroticon 2014 in Bristol, UK. He was giving a lecture on using the basics of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” in romance and erotic writing. I was one of the faceless attendees that day and, as Mrs. Stranded and I often joke, the only one in the room with no accent. That Lister was hitting on the Campbell note, the same note that inspired one named Lucas to write “Star Wars”, was one of the highlights of the conference for me.

“Raven and Skull” is the first chance I have finally had to read one of Lister’s work.

Having been part of the conference at Eroticon, finding Lister writing in the horror realms was surprising. Honestly, I expected romance or erotica.

What a pleasant surprise, though.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not dark, heavy Clive Barker horror we are discussing.This is light horror, though wonderfully crafted. Just for reference, of the heavyweights, I’d equate this more to something I’d expect from Neil Gaiman.

It’s a bit of an anthology that is wild fun as employees gather at a pub and tell of their adventures within the hallowed halls of Raven and Skull. From the Skull on the desk to the mysterious janitor, the stories are fresh and fun with just a slice of darkness that brings a grin to my face. I’m not confident I can ever look at stairs the same way again.

It’s the typical after-work employee banter with additions of murder, Satanism, and mafia.

We’ve all experienced this, right?

No?

Oh, well…okay, I’ve not either.

And that’s why this works so well.

Lister gives us characters we all know well, but in situations that we just can’t fathom and have to keep reading about to get the full impact.

Impact…yes…again, I am now afraid of stairs.

Having bought the ebook version, I’m deep enough in this that I want a printed copy. Highly recommend this one for those enjoying a light dose of the darkness with a heavy dose of humor.

This review now appears both on Goodreads and Amazon.ca

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