It's our first Night Worms Book Party of the year! Last month, we all read SERVED COLD by Alan Baxter. It was awesome to go through the busy holiday season with a group chat of like-minded, bookish individuals all reading through the same short story collection. There were about 20 readers-all with different preferences and perspectives. Here are some of the photos that showed up on social media as well as some blurbs from the reviews:
(watch this space for more book parties! Brian Kirk, Grady Hendrix and More!)
"SERVED COLD by Alan Baxter is a collection of sixteen eerily told short stories that I devoured one by one. I read this over a few days which is unusual for me, but it just felt right to go slow. Every story is unique, but they are all cohesively written with complex characters in ordinary settings until something dreadful or ghastly shows up.
This is my first time reading Baxter’s work and I have to say it was the perfect introduction. I immediately purchased DEVOURING DARK and MANIFEST RECALL - from what I can tell they are all drastically different from each other so color me intrigued!"- @shereadswithcats
"This is my first experience reading Alan Baxter's work and it will definitely not be my last! I read this collection with a group of other horror lovers this month and in our group chats, there were many different stories that were mentioned as favorites throughout the book. This just shows how talented the author is at catering to every reader. Baxter is definitely NOT a one-trick pony! This is the perfect collection to pick up when you have no idea what you want to read next. I guarantee you will be entertained!" - @keelyfuse85
"Where to begin with this book. All of the stories were good, they just weren’t all for me. There is a great mixture of horror for everyone. Some stories were very visceral such as “Exquiste”, while others were more for the fans of supernatural horror like “Her Grief in my Halls”. One story in particular that was my favorite was “The Goodbye Message”. While it’s slightly predictable, I found it to be terrifying in a way that shows how little details can be overlooked until it’s too late.
This book is great for anyone looking for a wide variety of horror with every story and it’s very well written!-@radioactivereads
"Alan Baxter is a chameleon. This collection is a solid example of what seasoned, confident authors can do in just a few pages. A whole world of horror to explore in one book, recommended to fans who want to try a little bit of everything horror has to offer."- @Mother.Horror
"While I’m not overly familiar with the works of Alan Baxter, the few books and anthologized short stories I’ve read of his have been enough to convince me he’s a pretty solid and reliable storyteller. Served Cold solidifies this opinion even further....As a whole, Served Cold presented a number of strong stories and further cement my good opinion of Alan Baxter. He’s an author whose new releases I’ll be watching out for." @mphicks79
"By many accounts, writing a good short story is much different than writing a good novel. Many prolific authors may struggle to write a few good short stories, never mind an entire collection. With that being said, what’s accomplished here is no small feat. Alan Baxter has written one of the finest short fiction collections I’ve ever read." -@steelrainreviews
"Served Cold is a collection of elegant horrors that fans of the genre will be sure to find delightfully terrifying. I don't want to say that I was surprised that I enjoyed this book so much because it came highly recommended and when the opportunity arose to read along with some fellow reviewers, I pounced. This is my first time reading a book by the author and I will definitely read more by him. Alan Baxter wrote with style and grace while delivering a refreshing compilation of horror stories that will not disappoint." - @thebookdad
"Served Cold” by Alan Baxter features 16 short stories, most of which had been previously published somewhere else. There was a variety of horror sub-genres, from Lovecraftian monsters and landscapes to haunted houses to gore to demons. The main theme tying them together is they are all pretty ok, but not great stories. Even the best of the bunch (“served cold” and “yellowheart”) lacked enough detail to push them into the great story category. Don’t get me wrong, I still rate this collection 3 stars. I just feel like there were not enough details to make the stories capable of engrossing the reader. Most of the plots were pretty good, but the lack of details and Baxter's love of having to have everything tied up neatly by the end really made the execution lacking. Maybe his novels are better? I’m not sure. I’m not totally writing him off though."-@mrsbeverlygibbs
"This collection had me feeling anxious, dark, disgusted, delighted and at times paralyzed. This collection is sure to recollect your every childhood fear and perhaps create some to carry throughout your adulthood as well.
Baxter could very well be the next Barker of a new generation. Kudos!
Living in anticipation of more by this author." @KamisKorner
"If you know me even a little bit, you probably know that I'm a big fan of short stories. I'm actually learning that there really isn't a type of writing that I don't enjoy (although I'm still sort of working on really loving poetry). I've read some of Baxter's novels in the past, and they were all very good. I'm a fan. So when I heard that we would be reading Baxter's short story collection SERVED COLD, I was pumped. And I was right to be. The collection is fun from start to finish...While I enjoyed some of the stories in this collection more than others, all of them are infused with Baxter's voice. He is quickly becoming an author I can count on, and I'm eager to see what he has to offer in 2020." @gowsy33
"WOW WOW WOW!! First off let me start by saying that I don’t like short stories. Something about the format just throws me off, but I wanted to check some out and see if I had a change of heart. So, When I was presented with the opportunity to review this book for a #nightwormsbookparty I jumped on it, plus the title, yes, please. Guys, I am so glad I did because this book is chock full of terrifying stories! Each story is better than the last. I don’t tend to get scared with books but this one gave me chills. I have chosen a few favorites but honestly, it was so hard choosing cause they were all fantastic, which is not usually the case in collections. I often find that the majority of the stories in a collection tend to fall short but SERVED COLD is quite the opposite. Needless to say, Mr. Baxter can write the hell out of a short story. I will definitely be checking out more of his work!" -@marcyreads
"I read this with my Night Worms pals and a few other friends on Instagram for a #nightwormsbookparty, and my friend Janelle mentioned that some of the stories felt like they could be episodes of BLACK MIRROR to her, which I absolutely agree with! In fact, Baxter’s written voice and writing ability is so strongly developed that I could easily picture any of the titles from this collection as incredible screen adaptations – and you’d better bet I’d watch every second of them if they’re ever made! I can’t recommend this one highly enough, especially to readers who may want to explore horror a bit more in all of its many genres – but it surely won’t disappoint any long term fans of the genre either! Each of the stories is relatively short, which makes the entire collection feel really bite-sized and manageable, which are qualities I love from my short stories ’cause it makes me feel firstname.lastname@example.org
"Revenge is a common theme in these tales and the writing is so good and paced out that most stories read like fully fleshed out novels! Not every story is gory though. There's sweetness hidden in a few stories like The Goodbye Message that will break your heart. Alan Baxter has range!! I definitely am going to seek out more from him because if he can work this magic in stories a few pages long I can't wait to read what he does with a whole novel!" -@readswithdogs
"This is my first Alan Baxter experience and I can say that it won't be my last. Baxter makes the short story seem effortless. His writing is so good that I just want to keep reading, even when the content is gruesome, gory, and uncomfortable, Baxter's skill makes those stories shine...There were a few stories in this collection that enjoyed less but absolutely none of them are not well written. These few stories kept me from rating it 5 stars but you should know that it was very close. There is definitely something in this collection for every type of reader. If you enjoy scary stuff, you'll dig this book." -@teamredmon
"After reading this collection I'm convinced that Alan Baxter is the king of setting the scene for great horror. His writing was very atmospheric and at times poetic. In fact, my favorites in this collection were the two ghost stories and the ones with supernatural elements because of this. With short stories, it can be hard to get engaged with the characters right away since you have less time to connect with them, but I found that this was never an issue with Baxter's stories." -@LanternsJourney
"Served Cold by Alan Baxter is a collection of 16 short horror stories. It was the first thing that I’d read from Baxter but it definitely won’t be my last. Overall, the collection is eerie and the prose made me want to keep on reading, which is rare for me with short stories. Generally, when I read a short story collection, I like to read one or two stories per night so I don’t mash each story together in my head. But Baxter really showed off his skill in writing by making sure that no two stories were alike. In fact, there were a lot of different themes and I can safely say that there is something here for every horror lover." -@pageandparlor
"Short stories are hard to rate because there are different types of stories and people have different tastes. Some of these stories weren't for me simply because they're not the kind of things I enjoy reading about, but they might be the kind of thing another reader loves. I liked it but didn't love this collection. I would definitely read more by Baxter and I recommend reading this collection for yourself and drawing your own conclusion." @the.bold.bookworm
"While reading this collection, I remembered Joe Hill’s words that these are short stories that define a talented writer because writing a great short story takes much more skill and effort than writing a novel, and Alan Baxter is definitely an author who knows how to create an impressive and memorable short story, even if it’s just a couple of pages long.
I don’t read short stories often but I’m very glad I’m ending my reading year with this book because it helped me to break out of a reading slump. What really surprised me in this collection is the diversity of themes, horrors, and moods, and I believe everyone will find here a story to his own taste. My personal favorites are “Simulacrum of Hope”, “How Father Bryant Saw the Light”, “Waters Strangely Clear”, “Ways to Live and Die”, and “Yellowheart”; all of them well-written and captivating. I wish I could spend more time with some of these stories and characters, and I think some of them could be developed and adapted for the screen." -@kz_books
"Served Cold by Alan Baxter is ‘t my favorite collection of the year, but it’s a really good time. Baxter’s writing is excellent, and it’s not the fault of his prose for my lacking star. Baxter does a great job with the set-up but more often than not, the payoff leaves much to be desired. Some had such great, memorable beginnings that it may not have been possible to finish them up in a meaningful way as a short story. I could have read a whole book based on the Gangle Man in “Father Bryant Sees the Light.”- @vulgarianlibrarian
"The horror is more than just a ghost in the corner, this horror takes you to multiple places, it’s different with each story. It takes you to those dark places that some have lived that may scare some more than others because they have been in that darkness. Saying this, some stories definitely made the hair on the back of my neck stand more than others. Overall, I would say, if you like short stories and different types of horror this book would be a good choice." -@wanderingthepages_
"He is able to toy with my mind in a way that gives me the creeps, the writing was excellent and vivid, his stories ranged from the horrific, the sad and the gory; from the monster inside yourself, to that one weird neighbor down the street. Served Cold is a mixed bag of horror sub-genres and there is definitely a little something for everyone. I loved how original the stories were and how many great ideas Baxter came up with, each story had its own personality and hidden horror." -@witching_reads