Some literary foods are full meals, heaping quantities to be ingested and enjoyed at a table over a course of time. Others, however, are tender morsels, snacks meant to be gulped down quickly in this fast ‘on-the-go’ world we live in. Terror Beyond Measure is one of those snacks. Does its small size mean it lacks flavor or is it a taste-filled delight in a minute package?
Before I answer that, let us remember the Starving Review creed:
- I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre.
- I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible.
The old saying, ‘It’s not the size of the tool but how you use it.’, is most fitting for this wonderful little romp. Terror comes in like a bolt from the blue with excellent prose and doesn’t stop. What we are given is a microcosm of a larger piece: an interesting hook, character build-up, rising action, a fantastic climax, then a proper denouement. What is truly remarkable is that none of these bite-sized story elements is poorly executed. Everything comes off without a hitch.
The main character is cooked up with a sure hand and plenty of dashes of flavor, aided by an intimate first-person perspective, but the primary minor character isn’t left out either. Just this one adventure is enough that I hope to read more of Norton’s tales in the future … that’s how much this short story’s depiction of its protagonist impacted me.
The plot itself takes a careful blend of British wit, a classic time period, and some liberal dashes of Lovecraftian horror, gives it all a good stir, then gets it nice and hot in a short period of time. I would argue that the writer actually turns the short subject into an advantage here, as this one adventure would suffer from exaggerated and drawn-out pacing if it wasn’t tackled as a short subject. Very well done.
The framing device set up by the Prologue also works well here, providing some added world-building as well as giving the reader some fun interesting facts about some real-world events. Brilliant.
Just like the piece itself, I think it’s best to leave this review as a bite-sized morsel as well. There is little else to be said without dragging on for too long or giving away potential spoilers. Let’s just sum it up as this: Terror Beyond Measure is worth every penny of its cost and delivers wit, humor, action, and supernatural thrills in a snack-sized delight of a tale! I highly recommend this to any horror fan and, well, just about anyone who loves fantasy or adventure tales.
FINAL VERDICT: ***** (Wit, humor, action, and the supernatural in a snack-sized delight!)