Twisted Tales in "Dancing in Valhalla" (2019) by John West – An eBook Collection of Short Stories

By: Shane Lambert

I met John West in a Facebook group that we are both a part of called “Indie Authors Networking.” We share an interest in writing short stories and he was nice enough to chat online for a short time about a project of his that’s available on Amazon.

John West, author of
“Dancing in Valhalla.”

Entitled “Dancing in Valhalla,” Mr. West answered four questions for me and the readers of this site regarding his 13 short stories. They are posted below and may help readers decide if West’s eBook or Paperback is the right choice for them.

Me, Shane Lambert: “I saw that you called your short stories ‘twisted tales.’ Would you put them in horror or suspense categories as well? If someone liked the “Tales from the Crypt” comic books, do you think they would like your 13 stories?”

The Cryptkeeper. Depicted by artist Al Feldstein.

John West, author: “These stories bounce between horror and suspense, Shane. But they all have twists in the tale. Hence “twisted.” Although that could also apply that to some of the events and characters in the stories. And the lunatic who wrote them. I like to think that “Crypt” fans would definitely enjoy these. So did the Cryptkeeper. He told me so over drinks the other night.”

Me, Shane Lambert: “I see. I wonder how his breath was? On that matter, should someone read your stories if he or she has a weak stomach?”

John West, author: “I don’t write for people with weak stomachs. Anyone who struggles with the first story in the collection should stop reading immediately and consult a medical practitioner. Or pour a stiff drink and soldier on. Best keep the bottle nearby for emergencies.”

That’s what a five-star review looks like in this genre.

Me, Shane Lambert: “I guess when it comes to that kind of writing, if your reader pukes real bad — it means it’s good. Speaking of your readers, one of your fans, in his review, was happy with your work. However, he said that he didn’t like the South African slang in some parts. It does seem that if a story was set in South Africa, then realism requires slang common to that area so maybe the criticism isn’t entirely fair. But can you offer a quick glossary on the terms he might be referring to as a service to your future readers? Even just 2-3 South African slang words.”

John West, author: “I wrote this one for the South African fans who came out to buy my first novel at book fairs around Johannesburg. So, yes, I pushed the SA slang aspect this time, based on mates from 1980s Hillbrow (you know who you are).

Bra = brother/friend. Oke = guy. Make out = see/understand. Tune = tell.

All in all, it makes about as much sense as the rest of our delightful English language.”

Me, Shane Lambert: “Thanks for that. I think ‘Bra’ is common in my knack of the woods at least for meaning ‘brother/friend.’ Now, completely off topic. One of your short-story descriptions mentioned Jack the Ripper. As far as you can ‘tune,’ any guesses on what his identity might have been? What if I narrowed your choices down to Aaron Kosminski and Charles Lechmere? Hint-hint: an article about a short story with one ‘Charley Lechmere’ is the most popular blog on this website.”

John West, author: “Not John Williams? I’ve read theories ranging from Masons to demons. So Polish barbers and meat cart drivers are well within the realm of possibilities. If I had to choose between Aaron and Charles? I wouldn’t. I don’t believe records from the time are accurate enough to definitively prove it one way or another. Let Whitechapel keep its secrets.”

John West’s “Dancing in Valhalla” has a publication date at Amazon of April 21st, 2019. As for the reviews, it seems that those that have read it have enjoyed it. Described as “13 twisted tales of music, magick, mayhem & murder,” the eBook is available on Amazon on a variety of devices. It’s also available in a paperback edition.

Note: his eBook cover definitely beats the hell out of mine!