Winterset: Short Stories of Pixies, Demons, and Fiends
NeoLeaf Press (2019)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (1/2021)
“Winterset: Short Stories of Pixies, Demons, and Fiends” by Dennis Maulsby, is a gathering place for supernatural stories and talented writing. Its focus is on Father Donahey, who just wants to look out for his new flock in the Iowa town of Winterset. It’s a small place of legends, but are the legends based on fact? This place is far different from South America, where he served for years. The priest finds that his new community is full of paranormal creatures, and not all of them are nice. These creatures are out to wreak havoc on his parish, and it’s up to him to protect everyone, but can he? This well-published, well-reviewed author gives the gift of imagination and spirt in the short stories contained in this volume.
From the first few pages, you will get a sense of the kind of writing a good author is capable of. Maulsby writes with lots of detailed description, sets the perfect tone for each story, and allows the reader to become personally familiar with the characters, settings, and mythical creatures. The background of wise Father Donahey is interesting, and so are the creatures. Sometimes you don’t know whether to be frightened, charmed, or both. The author is skilled at bringing the creatures to life and making everything seem believable. Though there are some fantasy elements, they aren’t always cute. Some can be dark, and if you are into learning more about the dark side and reading about the entities that may inhabit it, then you will be more than informed and entertained.
I like that the retired priest finds some challenges in his new homeplace, and we see his character grow over the course of the stories. Winterset is a portal of sorts, the Grand Central Station for all things mystical. But the priest doesn’t have to fight these spiritual battles alone. He has help from others who have their own special abilities. Some of the stories are eerie, some lighter than others, but all well-written and engrossing. If it’s creatures of the night you’re looking for, your search is over with “Winterset: Short Stories of Pixies, Demons, and Fiends” by Dennis Maulsby.