Helen McClory – Mayhem & Death (3 stars)

Helen McClory – Mayhem & Death

McClory's collection of short stories is the latest from publishers de jour 404 Ink

Mayhem & Death is the latest from Helen McClory and publishers 404 ink. McClory is the publishing house's self-confessed dream author and her new collection provides a follow-up to On the Edges of Vision which won the 2015 Saltire First Book of the Year.

McClory's second publication is a set of dark and forlorn short stories and a novella, dedicated to 'the lonely' and 'the lost' respectively. 'Southerrain' tells the story of a grieving mother who escapes her grief on a day trip to Mallaig, which contrasts entirely to the poem about actor Jeff Goldblum having various existential crises.

One particular stand-out is 'A Voice Spoke to Me at Night' which features a millennial who lives above a Tesco and is visited through the mirror by a lonely man from the past. This bizarre visitor speaks a mixture of Scots and Latin to tell the story of a plague from yesteryear.

The seemingly separate universes of the stories are sewed together with a vivid sense of nature and animal imagery that connects the emotions in each story. It leaves a feeling that the dark emotions experienced by the fragmented voices are eerily similar and perhaps universal.

Out now, published by 404 Ink.

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