Title: We Live Inside Your Eyes
Author: Kealan Patrick Burke
Page Count: 227 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
In the ruins of an old parking garage, there is an effigy lashed to a pillar. To anyone else, the remains of the woman with the goat skull head is a warning. To a lonely young boy looking for escape, it is a god of salvation. At its feet lay tattered old notebooks, scattered stories, tales of strange encounters, of broken people and monstrous things, and of corrupt hearts and evil minds. In order to complete his transfiguration, the boy must read these stories, but he has no idea the fate that awaits him.
WE LIVE INSIDE YOUR EYES is the much anticipated new collection from Bram Stoker Award-winning horror author Kealan Patrick Burke, featuring previously uncollected stories and two brand new tales written especially for this collection, the short story “You Have Nothing to Fear From Me”, and the novelette “The House on Abigail Lane.” With an introduction and story notes by the author
“Behind his eyes, veils were falling away. He did not want to be here, shouldn’t have come, but this was, for his purposes, exactly where he needed to be.”
Since discovering Kealan Patrick Burke through the bookstagram community, I’ve been consistently amazed at how talented he is. A couple of his novellas were the very first purchases I made “thanks to bookstagram”, and since reading those, I haven’t stopped buying. Kealan’s voice is singularly enthralling, with this really amazing creep factor that I just can’t get enough of. His writing is eloquent, atmospheric, and consistently compelling – qualities I value very much in my reading, and will cause me to continue auto-buying everything he puts out.
Naturally, when this collection was released back in April, I knew I needed to get a copy. The day it arrived, I shared a photo to my Instagram stories asking if anyone wanted to buddy read it with me – and this ended up spawning an entire readalong that I co-hosted with my friend Jess! Turns out, a huge number of people were just as excited for Kealan’s newest as I was, and readalongs are always a really fun reading experience for me! I’m really happy to confirm that the book lived up to the hype, and we had a great time!
I think my favorite part of the book is that this collection of short stories (and one poem!) are part of a larger whole. A boy stumbles upon these stories in a creepy old place, and begins reading them one by one, as we the readers do, too. It was such a cool way of framing the collection, and one that I find isn’t used super often in what I’ve recently read.
Another really great thing about this collection is that it features “Story Notes” at the back of the book. These notes are from the author himself, giving us a peek into what went into the creation or inspiration of each story here. I love reading about what inspired something, or random little trivia bits about the things I love, so this was awesome! I really wish more authors included stuff like this, ’cause as a reader, it’s like a little treat at the end of the book. 🙂
We Live Inside Your Eyes contains 13 stories altogether, with 2 of them having been written specifically for the collection. I gave pretty much every story here 5 stars, as per usual – I just really, really love everything Kealan writes, okay!? I did have a couple stand out favorites though, so I’ll briefly recap (no spoilers!) my thoughts on those below:
💀 The Mannequin Challenge – During the readalong, this one was voted as the favorite of the most of our participants. I can absolutely see why! It’s such a messed up little story, sort of like The Office meets… something really disturbing, lol. It’s so good, and I loved it.
💀 Go Warily After Dark – This story made me really sad, which usually happens when I read war-related types of things. You all already know how I feel about sad stuff (I LOVE IT), so this was a home run! Very creepy, too.
💀 Sanctuary – My number one favorite in this whole collection. It’s fucked up and weird, in all the best ways.
💀 A Wicked Thirst – The end of this one took me by surprise and the whole thing sort of repulsed me a little bit, which I think was maybe intended? That sort of late night, seedy bar feeling? This story had it, and I dug it.
💀 You Have Nothing To Fear From Me – I don’t even want to say anything about this one, ’cause it’s probably my second favorite in the entire collection and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. It’s so sad! Ahhh!
Whether you’re a longtime fan of Kealan Patrick Burke or just hearing about him for the first time, this would be a great place to start with his books. It’s got a little bit of everything horror-wise, AND did I mention that he designed the cover himself? He has a company that designs them, and his work has been popping up a lot in the horror community! Like I said, crazy talented!
Don’t miss this one! I’d also highly recommend basically anything else he’s written; my first book by him was Sour Candy, so if you’re into creepy kid stories, check that one out, too!
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