Friday, 17 June 2016

REVIEW: Erik Hofstatter - Amaranthine and Other Stories

Genre: Horror / Collection
Publisher: Creativia Publishing
Publication Date: 18th May 2016
Pages: 63


A copy of Amaranthine and Other Stories was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Erik Hofstatter, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Creativia Publishing.

Erik Hofstatter. The most wonderful name in writing. I love when someone asks what I’m reading and I get the chance to say Hofstatter over and over. No idea why. It’s the little things I suppose. I have read a couple of other things by Mr Hofstatter in the past. The Pariahs and Katerina. You can read my reviews of both at the bottom of this review. Whilst The Pariahs blew me away, Katerina was more of a pop than a bang with me but there is just something about his writing that keeps me coming back for more. He has a talent for writing that I think will take him to all of the places he wants to go.

So when he asked if I would like a look at Amaranthine, how could I refuse?

This is what I thought.


Sean is struggling to get over his break up with Magda. She left him feeling abandoned and empty. The only thing he has to keep him going is his love for his son, Eli.

This tale is not what you think and will certainly not be what you're expecting.

A lonely man trying to mend his broken heart by giving all his love to......something.

This is gross. More than once I found myself nearly being sick reading this. You know it is building up to something strange. Something unusual. When you find out what it is you will be disgusted.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


Tristan is eight years old. He is all alone. He needs to solve the puzzle but doesn't know how. If he doesn't, he won't get out.

This is very short but extremely powerful stuff. You can almost smell the fear in this one. Fear of so many different types. Despair. Loneliness. Abandonment. Hopelessness.

This story literally gets you right into Tristan’s head and it's a scary place to be.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Welcome to the emporium of odd curiosities. A book shop with a difference. It has a unique clientele and an even more unique method of binding your books.

Flash fiction at its best. Again, you know something is coming and you know it's going to be bad but you don't know what it is going to be.

Excellent stuff. It's not until you finish this story that you realise just how horrific it is. It also leaves you wondering does it actually happened.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


An even shorter flash fiction piece.

Sorry, no idea what this was about or what it was trying to achieve.

Didn't understand it all.

★★ for general.

0 for horror.


Eva is from Bulgaria. She has come to the UK as an au pair and is currently employed by Gerard to look after his daughter Sophie.

They go swimming every Saturday but Sophie doesn’t want to go anymore. She is scared of Morgen. He might do something bad.

This is more like it. I don’t know why but this story creeped me out from the very start. It’s an old plot about a lonely child jealous of someone else coming into her life and thinking evil thoughts but this is so beautifully crafted and put together that you forget you might have read this type of story before.

This had the hairs on my arms standing to attention from beginning to end.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Jason, James and Randy are in a metal band. They love all things dark and demonic and are convinced if they make a sacrifice to the devil they will become better musicians and hit the big time.

The most extreme of the stories so far, this one will expect you to have a strong stomach. Devil worshipping and human sacrifice is the name of the game with this one. You know the scariest part? This probably does happen around the world.

The writing felt a little disjointed in places in this one. Didn’t flow as well as others but definitely had the scare factor.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Another flash fiction piece that I’m afraid did nothing for me at all but make me scrunch my face up.

A little unbelievable for me and not really my favourite kind of subject matter.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for horror.


Another flash fiction piece about a man scorned. He has hidden talents and knowledge about all things to do with deadly plants. His girlfriend is about to gain some knowledge too.

Again this didn’t do much for me. A bit too short with hardly any build up. It left me wanting more from the story.

★★★ for general.

★★ for horror.


Andy, John and Mike work as mechanics in a factory. They get a new supervisor, Imamu who is hell bent on stamping his authority in the place.

This is something the three colleagues do not lightly.

This is one of the longer stories in this collection. The longer ones have been better but this one was a bit weird again. I just couldn’t pick up what it was really about and what it was trying to achieve.

It has a fantastic use of the fear of old voodoo but again just felt a little disjointed to me.

★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.

So there you have it. My thoughts on Amaranthine and Other Stories. This is a real mixed bag of short stories and even shorter flash fiction pieces. I enjoyed some and just didn’t get the point of others.

Another thing that irked me was the length of the book. Coming in at around sixty-three pages with nine stories, it doesn’t leave an awful lot of room to develop the stories early and give you the true feeling of them and what they were really about.

This, for me, is extremely important in making a short story effective. It has to tell you the story in a very short space of time, make it believable and entertain you, leaving you wanting much much more from it. Only a couple of tales did that for me in this collection.

To summarise: a collection of shorts that you will probably read in double quick time. Some enjoyable, some not so. This will not stop me reading Erik Hofstatter again but I have a request for you Mr Hofstatter; please give me something in the style of The Pariahs again. That, for me, is your true style and your most enjoyable to read.

General rating:

★★★.8 would have like it longer.

Horror rating:

★★★ and scarier.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Amaranthine and Other Stories or any other books from Erik. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

"This collection will worm its way into your nightmares." -Sèphera Girón, author of A Penny Saved and the Witch Upon a Star

Amaranthine and Other Stories serves up nine schlock horror slices, sprinkled with quirk and humour.

Forget vampires. Forget werewolves. Forget ghosts. Humans are the ultimate grotesques. Variant flavours of woe sift through these pages. The results are sometimes hilarious, sometimes outright hair-raising!

As a bonus, the collection also includes story notes, offering the reader a rare glimpse into the inspiration behind each tale.


Erik Hofstatter's debut collection 'Moribund Tales' peaked at #2 on Amazon bestseller chart in horror anthologies. Several of these tales have been recorded for a podcast (Wicked Library, Tales To Terrify & Manor House Show) and printed in various magazines and anthologies around the world such as The Literary Hatchet (PearTree Press) Morpheus Tales and Sanitarium Magazine. His novella 'The Pariahs' is available from Creativia Publishing.

He dwells in a beauteous and serenading Garden of England where he can be frequently encountered consuming reckless amounts of mead and tyrannizing local peasantry.

And for more about Erik, visit his site or find him on social media:

Website Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon Page

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