Reviewed by Steve Quade for Indies Today.
Is your favorite vegetable candy corn? Do you view a skeleton as a decoration instead of an anatomy class prop? Would you only have a pet cat if it were black? If so, Boarded Windows, Dead Leaves will be a perfect reminder of your favorite time of year. This amusing book is a small collection of stories that fall into the horror genre. The easily digestible tales require only a small investment of time for such a large amount of entertainment. There are nine distinct stories covering all the usual suspects: creepy cultist practices, vampires, zombies, and more. The tales are eerie and imaginative, but not overly gory, appealing to a wide reading audience.The real fun comes with the connection to our modern society. In Warm and Tender, Todd is an average guy dealing with a man-made zombie apocalypse. It is comical to imagine the normalcies of life, such as a computer chess match or shoes left in the middle of the floor, while the entire world outside is filled with boarded up windows and burnt out cars. Todd, who eventually succumbs to the hungy masses, decides to go down only on his own terms with a memorable one-liner. Michael Jess Alexander possesses a frightfully captivating writing style. Imbued with humor and wit, Boarded Windows, Dead Leaves is a perfect blend of humor and horror that is equal parts dread and delight. (5/5 stars)
Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite.
Boarded Windows, Dead Leaves is a small collection of short horror stories by Michael Jess Alexander; so short as to be eligible for the designation "snippets", or perhaps "brain fodder" intended for more lengthy treatment elsewhere. This is not to be critical of ultra-short fiction, although its massive popularity is a rather modern phenomenon. The effect is pleasing to fans of the "quick read", like a tiny jolt of adrenaline from a sugery, caffeinated soda. Most required from purveyors of such material is a conscientious conciseness of writing shorn of all non-essential adornment, and since micro-stories are all about the key ideas activating them, a strong creative foundation is essential. Mr. Alexander's writing is a concise as those four bullets blasting through his final story, and his creativity, while founded on the overly familiar tenets of classic horror, always adds a twist of wryness to the reader's smugly satisfied smile. When I refer to classic horror, I mean that Michael Jess Alexander "peoples" his collection, Boarded Windows, Dead Leaves, with vampires, zombies, and werewolves. However, he consistently adds his own creative twists to such familiar horrors, and the result creates a pleasant sense of some deeply familiar if twisted world - a perfect home for all horror fiction fans. Perhaps the most sadistic piece is a little gem called Accident at the Laboratory. The accident itself holds one gingerly in suspense, afraid to move a muscle. The uniquely delivered denouement rewards the reader's tense ansiety with that aforementioned, smugly satisfied smile. One asks for no more than this. (5/5 stars)