Led by Beasts by Clark Roberts

Clark Roberts isn’t shy about his love for Stephen King. In this book, Clark Roberts pays respect and gives admirtaion towards the legendary writer, citing him as a source of inspiration. Inspiration is putting it lightly. From the first story to the last, I could see the King (as well as a few other big names) influence in prose, subject matter, and story telling, as if Clark Roberts had studied the man. Of course, it should go without saying that I’m not equating Roberts to King in regards to quality, but I found the stories to be very gripping and entertaining. Isn’t that what we look for in a book?

Listen to the review here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/24516580

As a horror anthology, you’re given a serving of several short stories that have their own themes, characters, and flavor. I often compare a horror anthology to an appetizer platter where you get to try and enjoy all sorts of different foods, whereas in those platters you normally get just a sample size of what the restaraunt has offer, this one provides a meaty portions. I found the stories in this collection to be thick, but without needless fat and filler.

While I enjoyed every story in this collection, I have a few favorites. The first of which is Buffoonville, where a town of clowns worship and give sacrifice to a dark and sinister force. The story has a great tone, a blend of comedy and dread. The setting and characters are relatable and real, which allows the plot to soar into absurdity without losing the reader. The The second favorite of mine has to be a tie between Carny Bob and Craftsmanship for Food. Both stories have a very strong King resemblance with characters that struggle with their writing and are confronted with a problem of craft over life.

I should add that King is not the only influence at work in this collection. Horror authros Clive Barker, Peter Straub, and Laird Barron left a strong impression on Clark Roberts and the proof of that is in these stories.

In summation, Led by Beasts is a short story collection from an author that not only loves the craft, but pays respects to the greats that gave influence. The result is a book that you’ll WANT to have in your collection.

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