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Side by Side Book Reviews: Short Stories by Jamie Stewart

Our Night Worms Group Chat is where we all enable each other to buy more books we couldn't possibly have time to read. Once someone comes into the chat excited about the latest amazing book they just finished, the rest of us have to have it. The quickest way to turn heads in the chat is to drop a line like, "I just read the sickest book I've ever read."

Within an hour, everyone will have purchased the "sick" book and already be halfway through reading it. We're a weird bunch.

In October, one of us was reading a short story by Jamie Stewart, expressed how much they liked it and before you know it, we're all choosing different short stories and reading them. Here are the reviews:

TRICK OR TREAT by Jamie Stewart is everything a horror lover wants out of their seasonal reading. This is a short story that takes place on Halloween night. Last Halloween, Jane's son Logan went missing. Even though there were no official suspects or leads, the townspeople whisper the name, The Reaper Man.
Jane knows what she has to do to get some closure.
Confront the Reaper Man.
I love that this story sucked me in and surprised me. Stewart's storytelling is compelling as it intensifies page after page to its startling conclusion.
The perfect read for Halloween night!
Someone get me a young priest and an old priest...
For real though, how does one up the ante on the classic Crossroads narrative? Ask Jamie Stewart or ask Father Agnew. The Woman Under the White Tree, is the first story in the Father Michael Agnew series from Jamie, and it is a good time. Yarns concerning Gents of the cloth and their battles against the darkest of evils are an immediate draw to me. 
There is a lot to enjoy in this novella. There is also a lot going on in a short amount of time, I’d love another dozen or two pages to flesh out these characters a bit more. This goes for the three priests we meet and for The Woman Under the White Tree as well, it feels like there’s a more to these people and this story. Secrets and revelations. And with the label “The first story in...” I hope we get to find out. I’ll definitely come back for the further adventures of Father Michael Agnew.



Frank Morris is a Catholic priest in training in Northern Ireland, however the Bishop who is training him finds Frank to be a man who is too curious to become a priest. Enter Father Agnew, a friend of the Bishop, and a heavily tattooed priest who offers to take Frank with him on an outing. Not surprisingly the pair are not going out on house calls, rather the unconventional Agnew drives them to Ballygore Road, a deserted stretch of tarmac that used to be called Slaughter Road. A number of people have died inexplicable deaths on this road, and Father Agnew has been studying all of them. He's uncovered the reason for all of these deaths, and with the help of Frank, he intends to exorcise the road of the evil that is killing so many unsuspecting drivers.

A fresh twist on traditional ghost stories, a haunted road just may be enough to cause Frank Morris to abandon his curiosity and finally become a man of the cloth. @gowsy33
Have you ever read a workplace horror? I’ve had scary dreams about work called “work anxiety” which encompass my deepest fears about work. Jamie Stewart took his wildest workplace fears and gave it a sci-fi twist. Hold on wait… our dreams can get scarier? Oh yes! 
Peter recounts the events of his time as a retail manager. He hires a guy that is a little odd but doesn’t think much about it until he encounters a situation in which he must assert his managerial powers. Did he make the right decision? 
“𝙒𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙤𝙤 𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛-𝙘𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙙, 𝙩𝙤𝙤 𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙥𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙚𝙚.“
I was very intrigued by where this story would go and my mind was taking me in all different directions. I couldn’t have predicted that ending even if I tried. The immense creativity of the author is immeasurable. I was shocked to say the least. Even the story's ending holds a whole new meaning to dreams and our place in the world. The story is short and picks up quickly with tension and anxiety building from the main character. The only thing I wish was that there was more connection or time with the main character and a girl he was crushing on. I feel that with a little more time and connection it would have blown it over the edge for me. So I gave this story 4 ⭐️ @shereadshorror
“The Woman Under the White Tree” by Jamie Stewart is a new take on religious horror. It is an exorcism without the creepy child. It is a haunting without the house. The ‘old priest and young priest’ standard is still there, but the old priest is a badass and the young priest is a bit of a dumbass. The unlikely pairing creates humor and a great repertoire. The plot is unique and although the story is short, it packs in a good deal of scares and empathy for the antagonist. In this story, it is not hellfire vs holy water, it is more about the power of compassion. Please don’t read this review and get the impression that this story is about people joining hands and singing ‘Kumbaya’. It is about the unconventional methods a badass priest uses to help others. I believe this could be the beginning of a series and I cannot wait to read more adventures of Father Agnew and Frank! @mrsbeverlygibbs
💀 This story would best be read while waiting for masked trick-or-treaters on Halloween night....bundled up and cozy in a blanket....waiting for a knock on the door, or a ring of the door bell. Will it be a child reveling in the fun of All Hallow's Eve, or will it be "The Reaper Man"? (And will you be as ready for him as Jane was?) ⁣
Last Halloween, Jane's son went missing while trick or treating. This Halloween, Jane devises a plan to invite "The Reaper Man" in to her home for a few "tricks" and no "treats." She is determined to make him pay for what he did to her son. The spooky factor was strong in this short story, and it will have you hooked from beginning to end as you root so hard for Jane. ⁣

🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤/5- Ughhhh....why do short stories have to be so short?!?!? Seriously though, this one packed such a punch into so few pages, and I just want more of the "witch," Jane. I want to see her avenge other deaths as she did her son's. ⁣

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