The Wraith Within offers a wide variety of stories touching upon the horror, fantasy, and thriller genres. However, the main focus of the collection is horror. Go into this collection, expecting to read disturbing material and situations. As with many anthologies and collections, from professional best-selling authors to the best of the mid-list, anthologies and collections are often a mixed bag. Some stories are going to connect with readers. Other stories, don’t leave quite the same impact. For me, this collection didn’t quite hit the mark, but there is certainly potential here for future greatness.
Stories like “Why You Don’t Bring People Back from the Dead”, “The Morrigan”, “Tunnel Vision”, “The Legend of the Leprechaun”, “Pictures of Lily”, “The Desert Stars”, “Outback Oblivion”, “Granny Decay and the Halloween of ’94”, and “The Hole” show Hinton’s ability to write stories with vastly different tones, genres, and themes. Some stories are wholesome. Others are horrific. A couple even seem a little cartoonish but in an enjoyable way. However, I cannot deny these stories were all entertaining and kept me wanting to read more of the anthology. Unfortunately, the anthology is made up of close to 30 stories, and I can only say I truly enjoyed the tales as mentioned above. What I can say is consistent about each story in the anthology is Hinton’s writing. It is detailed without being purple. It manages to push along the story while still building atmosphere and tone. The issue of character is where Hinton’s weakness lies. Many of the stories told in the first person POV didn’t feel like it was a different protagonist telling the story. There was no personality or quirk to the characters telling these stories. It was merely a person recounting a tale. With a collection, this flaw becomes incredibly clear when story after story feels like the same person is telling the story.
What stands out the most to me about this collection is Hinton’s author notes. I’m a sucker for author notes. I like knowing what inspired the story. The behind the scenes thoughts and motivations into what brought the story to fruition. Hinton’s notes are interesting and tend to answer many of the questions I might have had after finishing the story.
Overall, I recommend giving this book a read. As with many starting authors, there are a few kinks to work out of the system. There is no doubt in my mind, there is talent here. With time and practice, Hinton will flourish into a great talent and someone to look forward to reading.