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The Complete Edition of Justin Bog's First Collection of Dark Psychological Suspense Tales.In the old incarnation, the book was a Finalist for the 2014 Ohioana Book Award, and picked as one of Suspense Magazine's Best of 2013 Books!An award-winning collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories reveals twisted secrets that are mined like plutonium. These twelve literary tales arThe Complete Edition of Justin Bog's First Collection of Dark Psychological Suspense Tales.In the old incarnation, the book was a Finalist for the 2014 Ohioana Book Award, and picked as one of Suspense Magazine's Best of 2013 Books!An award-winning collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories reveals twisted secrets that are mined like plutonium. These twelve literary tales are nothing short of an adventure through a roiling sea of emotion. With authenticity and eloquence, author Justin Bog holds a provocative and compelling mirror on the human condition. "The stories are those of everyday people who might live next door or in the walk-up across the street . . . A man with a personal crisis takes a singles cruise –-- a woman leaves her toddler girl at the beach while having a romantic tryst –-- a B-list actor’s character is killed off –-- a girl is sucked below the sand into an underwater chamber . . . an old gardener who has dark secrets interacts with the bosses daughter in a most unforeseen way. The only commonality in these tight, little stories is they are unexpected. Having this book is like having a string of black pearls –-- each one slightly different, but each a perfect, dark, little gem . . . Bog paints pictures with words as Titian did with oil paints – startlingly detailed with deep perspective and rich complexity." ---Rosi Hollenbeck, San Francisco Book ReviewSandcastle and Other Stories details: These twelve literary, psychological, and suspense tales are nothing short of an adventure through a roiling sea of emotion. Meet: an old man twisted by fate and a lost love . . . a young girl playing on the ocean shore who becomes entangled in nets of a mercurial god . . . a divorced man mired in troubles who's coerced into taking a singles cruise . . . a Hollywood actor in a television drama who's always typecast as the bad boy . . . a child kept awake by night terrors, and a woman who hides her secretive personality from everyone on the beach one sunny day. Genuine voices of the characters, mixed with a clear-eyed tonal directness, make this a series with mesmerizing psychological interaction. Stories span a broad depth of human understanding and build a bridge between deepest chasms of pain and high portals of joy. Read these dark tales and stand witness to unspeakable hate sitting with cozy wile, right beside unconditional love --- a provocative and compelling mirror on the human condition....

Title : Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition
Author :
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ISBN : 13640184
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 274 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition Reviews

  • Abigail
    2019-04-05 07:12

    "As he's walking away I know he's still thinking about trains, wondering what a really big train crash would look like, the first car striking something twisted on the tracks and dragging the following cars off the rails, tumbling over on their sides with a world-stopping screech." location 2227Everybody loves a good train wreck, though personally I vote for the roller coaster because I can get my fill of other people's misfortunes, the Schadenfreude, bright bloody and visceral. But wait, is this what the collection is about? No but there are a few train wrecks in it, a few boundaries pushed. This is not a light festive read, the Sandcastle? Well I am betting there is a foot print smack dab in the middle of it.I read a couple of the stories out loud to my fiance, one of which had him so excited we ended up getting into a two hour discussion on this particular form of story telling. After finishing Mother of Twins, he immediately said, "Read the next one, I am really enjoying this, it reminds me of Flannery O'Connor's writing!" This is the third story in the collection and starts off with a creepy Stepford Wives feel. As with all the other stories in this book, the door is opened a bit more as it progresses, the jaws of life prying apart the wrecked side of the last car and contents revealed. In the end the grotesqueness of the human spirit is revealed in a the form that is also a desperate beauty, a justifiable need. Her weakness exposed like a pile of intestines, we cannot turn away and yet we want too, we can't. Again, train wreck!But train wrecks are not always ugly, bloody and a mess. Sometimes you are riding a train when it happens, the cars ahead start to brake before smashing into a wall and jostle you a bit. Instead of having your leg ripped of you fall into the lap of the man or woman in the bench in front of you. You know the one, the sunlight hitting their glasses, preventing you seeing their eyes? The beauty seems real and you are like, wow how lucky I am, then the blinds are dropped and as beautiful as they are ... there is something different and disturbing. Beauty you cannot look away from, as dangerous as it maybe, drawing you into its clutches. The story Poseidon Eyes is a little like this. Just look beyond the fins and see what I mean when you read it.If I were to pick a favorite, I would be hard pressed. I can't. Each one is its own train wreck, in fact there are a few roller coaster accidents, which as I said are my favorite. When the Ship Sinks probably is the one that gave me the most pause and qualifies as a roller coaster accident. The parallels and hidden metaphors are so lovely, disturbing and addictive I just did not want it to end, but FEMA was able to clear the tracks and I had to move along.Sandcastle and Other Stories pushes the boundaries making you think. It is not cotton candy, a BLT or even a steak. It is complex Seafood Paella with muscles, spicy chirizo, clams, chicken, shrimp, sofrito, short ribs and more. Blended perfectly and placed over rice you dig in, experiencing joy, sweat breaking out from the spice as you gulp water and shovel more into your mouth unable to stop because of an evocation of pleasure and pain you received knowing the next time you get a chance to eat it, you will with even more splendor and abandonment!(NOTE - I gave this collection to one of the professors at the University and he recently wrote me saying this book will probably be used as part of his lecture series on the world of self publishing he is doing to help dispel the stigma attached.)

  • Lisa
    2019-04-19 09:09

    This is the first collection of short stories I have read since the Canterbury Tales in high school. And I've concluded that the short story genre just isn't something I am drawn to ultimately.The writing style is fantastic. The author clearly is talented (and I'm not just saying that because he personally thanked me for rating his book on Goodreads....which I was frankly very surprised about!) The writing was not the problem for me. I am just not a short story person. I like to really take the time to invest myself in a story and its characters...and by the time I did that with one story...POOF....it was over. I can imagine how the short story genre is appealing to many readers. I'm just not one of them. Within a few seconds after I read one story, I forgot practically all the details. After I read the entire book, I can hardly remember anything. Maybe I need to get my memory checked! Haha. I'm just able to retain more when the focus is on a main storyline, it seems. However, two stand out stories for me from the bunch were Poseidon Eyes (a crazy descriptive acid trip) and On The Back Staircase (I read it late at night which had me channeling the main character's paranoia...that's for sure!)An analogy just came to me...for me...the short story genre is like taking a trip on a cruise. You get to stop at a ton of different ports and experience many different places and it's exciting and new, but you don't ever really get to truly immerse yourself in each destination. Some people LOVE to cruise. I have never enjoyed cruising myself though ;)Bottom line, I appreciate the creativity of Bog's writing style and I would recommend this book to anyone who gravitates towards short stories. But if you prefer a more focused book with the same characters throughout for the most part, like me, this probably isn't the book for you. And major props to Bogs for reaching out to his readers. I appreciate his accessibility.

  • M.E. Franco
    2019-03-27 08:11

    Personally I love a good short story. I don't have a lot of time to read, so I like being able to sit down and read an entire story in one sitting. Writing a good short story is difficult given the size limitation. The author has to develop the characters, story line and ending all within the space of what would roughly count as one chapter in a novel. Each word has to be chosed with care.Justin Bog not only wrote one amazing short story, but he wrote ten of them. This collection is an incredible roller coaster of psychological twists and turns. I like to read one story at a time, but after I read The Virtue of Minding Your Own Business, I sat stunned, staring at my iPod. Did that really just happen? Without hesitation, I immediately started reading the next one, Sandcastles.As I read these stories, I felt sadness, anger, shock, surprise, amazement, and even a little fear. Not a single one of them left me feeling neutral. If you are looking for a light, entertaining read with no emotional investment, this isn't for you. If you want something more, something to stimulate your brain and your emotions, then this collection is a incredible read that I would highly recommend.

  • Rachel Thompson
    2019-04-24 05:19

    If you think you're in for a happy-go-lucky group of stories about unicorns and rainbows people, leave right now. These are dark stories, amazingly detailed and well-thought out, to the point that I found myself holding my breath to discover where Mr. Bog would take us next.Yes, he's that good.My favorite is the title story, Sandcastle, a seemingly quiet tale of mothers and daughters on the beach. And then it's not. And it haunts me in the kind of way that I've read it repeatedly, thinking "How did he do that?" Wow.I encourage you to buy this collection, read it, reread it, give it to friends, share with the world the talent that is Justin Bog.Rachel Thompson, author, A Walk in the Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, Founder, BadRedheadMedia

  • Justin Bog
    2019-03-27 07:59

    It's filled with characters who spoke to me, some very loudly.

  • March Shoggoth Madness The Haunted Reading Room
    2019-04-17 04:54

    Review on July 2: REVIEW: SANDCASTLE AND OTHER STORIES by Justin BogA richly imaged, literate dozen of psychological suspense, the stories collected here are like invisible nerve gas: you won't realize at first, but each story will change you, commemorate itself in your memory, and days, months, later, you will find yourself recalling a note, a passage, an image; and you will be impelled to dive into the collection again.

  • Ben Ditmars
    2019-04-23 08:11

    Author Justin Bog, and I don't say this lightly, has written the defining collection of our age. I have not read a modern author interpret so many perspectives as eloquently or brilliantly. He is a master of every genre, every facet. If you like intelligent, deep stories with unmatched imagination behind them, Sandcastle and Other Stories is for you.

  • Elite Indie
    2019-04-04 04:59

    Justin Bog writes stories that are chilling in an uncanny and uncomfortable way. His stories have very other-world qualities to them, while being very contemporary. Bog is a fantastic writer, with a literary bent. It's been a long time since EiR has read a book that is so engaging. You can read this book quickly, but I found myself slowing down, re-reading sentences that were too delicious to pass up. Entertaining and challenging. Some of these stories flow like poetry off the page, some of them are fast paced and some are introspective. You will not go wrong with this collection. Easily, an Elite Indie Read.

  • Jane Isaac
    2019-04-20 08:07

    This enchanting short story collection deftly examines the psychology of life.With elegant prose, each story leads the reader through a character's journey, requiring reflection on influential events in their lives, and finishes up with an unexpected twist at the end.This anthology can be read as individual stories, or in its entirety, and I very much look forward to more work from this author.

  • Giuliana
    2019-04-16 09:51

    What an assortment of short stories! In a daring departure from the typical trajectory of the American writer Justin Bog’s Sandcastle and Other Stories takes no prisoners, spares no one and yet holds you captive in the wondrous web of his craft! His subject choices are bold, strange, almost stunning in their range of flavors. Each and every one a perfect morsel served on a spotless mirror reflecting each and every one of us deepest inner fears.

  • Charity Parkerson
    2019-04-15 05:06

    Terrifyingly brilliant, unique, and memorable are just a few of the words that I can think of to describe the stories contained inside this book. Don't let the bright happy cover fool you. Things are very deep inside of Sandcastles.

  • Helle Gade
    2019-04-24 10:18

    This collection of short storys takes you on a psychological journey through human nature in all it's diversity. I highly recommend it.

  • Jen La Duca
    2019-04-11 07:17

    I don’t typically read a lot of short stories; I’ve always carried this misconception that unless you had at least 300 pages in a book then there was no true way to connect to a story or its characters no matter how talented an author is. Last year I re-read some of my favorite Stephen King books and at some point stumbled across a little book of his called Full Dark, No Stars, I decided to give it a try and was totally blown away and realized how wrong I’d been all these years in my refusal to read short stories. Since then I’ve read almost all of his collections but I still hadn’t ventured on to any others because let’s face it, King is the king of storytelling and I typically think anything he writes is gold :) When I was recently offered an opportunity to be part of the review tour for Sandcastle and Other Stories I took a look at the blurb that cited this as a “collection of dark psychological suspense tales” and knew this could be something I really liked so I jumped on board.Justin Bog has written an incredible collection of short stories! These are stories that really force you to think, some will even cause you to re-read the ending just to make sure that what you think just happened, really did just happen. Each of these stories are not what they initially seem, they start out ordinary enough and center around everyday people, yet somehow along the way Bog twist and turns the characters or story into something far darker and more sinister. It’s brilliant when an author pulls this off flawlessly and here Bog hasn’t just done it once, but over and over again. I personally find this style more satisfying and far more frightening than anything in the horror genre! There’s a sense of everydayness that makes you feel like these situations could actually happen and Bog impressively writes each character in such a way that’s raw and completely organic. Whether he’s writing as a mother, an aging man, or a small child; the voice he gives to each is believable and true to human nature. There wasn’t one story in this collection that I didn’t like but of course some of the stories I loved or connected more with than others. I few of the standouts for me were Mother of Twins, Sandcastle and On the Back Staircase. I honestly can’t say which one is my favorite but I know I definitely want to read more from this highly talented author! I would absolutely recommended Sandcastle and Other Stories to fans of short stories and psychological suspense and I look forward to seeing what Justin Bog has up his sleeve for us next!

  • Zoë
    2019-04-10 08:16

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review.I was pleasantly surprised by this. I picked it up, was interested to see the short stories that featured, and there were some solid reviews about it. I had no real idea what to expect from the author, who is someone I had not heard of before, or his style of writing or the type of content. Something I am going to draw attention to from the off is the fact that Justin Bog can write. I mean it, really well. It flows quite well, each story brought something different to the table, even though a lot of them had repeating themes (such as oceans, twins, waves, paranoia, trees, psychological issues, names, etc). Bog's writing style is engaging and creepy, and all his stories featured here are quite unsettling and psychologically creepy, crawling in under your skin. This might not appeal to the average reader, or someone who does not like some twisted tales, and it will upset those thinking they are getting a light, happy-go-lucky read. However, it totally ticked all my boxes for a short story. Doesn't give away too much, but just enough to make you think, to wonder, and the way that Bog concludes the stories is also quite good, leaving a world of possibilities open to explore. Sandcastle and Other Stories is a really fast read, so it won't demand an overkill of your time, and offers a great alternative to the average lot of short stories, something I am not usually a fan of. I looked forward to every story, and even when my mind went wandering, it never strayed too far, and always whipped back to the moment. Each story contains a darkness that is executed very well, and some of these stories linger long after you have  moved on. I am so glad that I took a chance on this, as I am certainly looking forward to reading more of Bog's work, I would love to see how a full fledged novel from him would play out. If you are into short stories, or would like something that is quick but different, I would highly recommend Sandcastle and Other Stories.

  • Mindy
    2019-04-07 13:10

    These stories are not for the casual reader. The stories are convoluted, confusing, and often upsetting. Initially I had thought that a collection of short stories would make for an easy before bed read, when you want to read something but not anything too long. However these stories are not relaxing or entertaining. They seem to be written in a laissez-faire style, but that is misleading. The stories are purposefully pushing the envelope of acceptable and seem designed to cause conflict mentally and emotionally. The stories are well written technically, but I had a hard time enjoying them as they brought much conflict and emotional turmoil. When I read stories, I do so for the enjoyment that they bring not to test my internal or external code of ethics and personal boundaries. I did that in school. While I may occasionally choose a book that I know will challenge me mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, I found these stories to border on irritating. As I stated the stories are well written technically and if you are looking for a read that will test your mental fortitude, emotional balance, and spiritual boundaries then this is the book for you. However, it was not for me. I give this book 2.5 clouds due to the excellence in writing despite my lack of enjoyment of the subject matter.This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-29 11:53

    This is a collection of stories about ordinary people living ordinary lives. The author has developed persona you might meet anywhere on the street in your home town and has given them a new, enriched meaning. Many of their experiences and thoughts are unique, almost other worldly. His descriptions are raw and clear to the reader from start to finish. The one thing that bothered me a lot was the way the stories touch on violence, cruelty and general lack of empathy for the characters themselves or others they encounter. I particularly enjoyed the way the author began the stories and, after numerous twists and turns, moved through events and experiences that the reader might not have seen coming at first glance. I particularly enjoyed the story about the woman/voyeur on the beach, watching how a young mother moves chameleon like from a caring mom to seductress so effortlessly. In addition, the story about one young girl’s imaginings about wicked killers coming to get her and her family reminded me of some of the things I experienced in my younger days. There was a definite theme throughout; one never knows what will happen or how things will turn out in the end. I have not read anything else by the author, but, after reading this collection of short stories, I will look out for more he has written because I would probably enjoy reading them. I received this from the publisher, through Net Galley to read and review.

  • books are love
    2019-03-31 13:08

    Each story is more complex and written with more intensity that the last. Each a unexpected look at different concepts. The gardener who has dark secrets and shows us we all have something to hide and that everything around us influences us even if we don’t know how. The actor who is okay with who he is but has others wanting him to change because it helps them. Te girl on the beach who has Poseidon change her life, the single’s cruise that shows loneliness but also how some who are lonely get ornery and judgemental, the girl at the beach left by her mom all little tidbits of stories to show us different aspects of life. The twin club story was wow the woman started out doing something good but it morphed into being about exclusivity. Bog gives us vignettes that open our eyes as they entertain us. THe perspective is deep and colorful in the prose used. It’s like a Dali or Picasso painting the brush paints a complex chaos that turns into something deep and meaningful with a beauty that blows the mind.

  • Mohanalakshmi
    2019-04-13 11:53

    I started reading this collection late at night, while I had jetlag. Halfway into the first story, I found myself sitting up straighter in bed, and leaning closer to the light as I flicked through the pages (on my Kindle app for the iPad). I fell in love with the strong narrative voice, the characters put in awkward situations, and a writer who is not afraid to make the tough decisions for bad things to happen to good people -- as is the case in real life.The grimness of these stories may turn some readers away (not everyone likes a thought provoking pre-bed time read) and maybe earlier in my life I would have called these depressing. Now I see them for what they represent: a flawed world where things don't often turn out as they should or could.You feel empathy for some characters and hatred of others. That's the beauty of a short story collection - the shorter narrative allows the writer and reader to experience a wide variety of narratives, themes, and settings.A wonderful debut from a writer who shows a lot of promise.

  • David
    2019-04-06 08:01

    Sandcastle and Other Stories is a book of beautifully crafted character studies. Justin Bog’s writing style flows as he delves deep in the minds of his creations and shares their innermost thoughts and deeds. Most of the characters in this ten-story collection involve the type of person you’d pass you on the street and not give a second glance to. Yet, like everyone, they have complex thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Bog makes these everyday nobodies into people you have feelings for (some good, some bad). Although the language is wonderful, I did feel that in some of the stories, plot took a back seat to description and observation ~ but that’s me. I’m more of a genre, plot-driven reader over literary, character-driven. Still, many of the stories grabbed me. The end of Sandcastle washed in like a tidal wave. Poseidon Eyes read like an LDS trip but written with elegance and style. Overall, a fun read that will really put you in tune with the inner workings of the human mind.

  • Michael
    2019-04-23 10:13

    In this fast paced world of modern writing it can be hard for an up-and-coming author to find other, more experienced, authors whom we can look up to and learn from. Awhile back It was suggested I read Sandcastle and Other Stories penned by Justin Bog. This book is an amazing work of short stories that are more emotionally dark, deep and thoughtful than many I have come across. This isn't just some quick publication of shorts which are thrown together and have no real tie like you often see coming out these days. But rather stories with connected themes and ideas that we all can relate too, feel awkward about and enjoy in some way. The writing is elegant and beautiful and is some of the best I have read. Justin has amazing talent and I’m sure we will be seeing big things from him.Michael Melville

  • Stephen Moran
    2019-04-08 11:01

    This book is a breath of fresh air: literary tales. You don't see many books of literary short stories and this one is a gem. I found the stories packed with both suspense and psychological turmoil.These characters will surprise and shock, at times offend and leave you filled with horror. Through it all, the stories are told by a master weaver of words and I look forward to his next book with great anticipation.To those that normally read other genres I say, take a chance. Spend an afternoon in a world that will challenge and enlighten you. This book contains no mere entertainment. Your mind will be pushed and ultimately gratified that you took the leap. Buy this book. A must read. And I do not say that lightly. Well done Justin Bog.

  • Edenmary Black
    2019-04-10 11:19

    Justin Bog’s Sandcastle and Other Stories is captivating and a recommended read for several reasons. Bog’s clear writing is the fluid, keeping each of the stories in this suspenseful collection together, as he creates a collage of human nature and something beyond. The settings are places you’ve probably been. The characters could be people you know, but when you think you’ve got an understanding of what will happen next, the author injects a twist. At the bend in the road, you’re suddenly pulled along to what you don’t expect. The path you’re on is of Bog’s design and one the reader follows just to find out what happens next. These dark, ethereal stories will leave you wondering about many things and wanting more.

  • Bradley Knox
    2019-04-21 12:11

    Sandcastle and Other Stories is a collection of dark short stories by Justin Bog. Once again, I am bowled over by Justin’s stunning writing ability. In this collection, Justin explores the darker side of human emotion and behavior with powerful imagery, well-rounded and complex scenery and situations, and from a vast array of different points of view. His articulate and highly cerebral story-telling left me still pondering, hours later, the deeper meanings behind what I had read. This was a highly imaginative selection of fables and I am very excited at the prospect for more! My highest recommendation and Five stars!

  • Dionne
    2019-04-18 13:15

    Sandcastle and Other Stories contains memorable short stories that are wonderful studies into human nature. The author's ability to write any character, from a man, to a woman, to a child, is impressive. I was swept along in the stories, not only because of the well drawn characters, but also the original themes. I loved the fantasy elements in some of these stories and my favourite, Sandcastle, had a twist at the end that made me gasp and almost cry. These bittersweet stories and their haunted characters stay with you even after you've put the book back on the shelf. A great collection I would definitely recommend.

  • Gayle Pace
    2019-04-19 13:09

    MY THOUGHTS: Anytime you read a book that has several short stories, there will be some you like and some you don't. The author gets to the point in his stories. He doesn't put the stories together as he goes. He has in his mind what he wants to put on paper and he does.People are complex and Mr. Bog writes about humans and the complex minds we all have. They're about how the mind reacts to different situations and how different people re-act to the same situation. The characters are really the plot. The stories are about the characters. The characters aren't weak, they are strong. I liked the suspense in the story Under The Third Story Window, a girl seeing someone out her window and believes there is a killer stepping lightly up each kitchen stair and is there to kill them all. You can actually feel what she feels. Haven't you ever thought someone might be in the house to kill everyone? You get chills just thinking of this poor girl waiting to die. Some of these stories will have you holding your breath, leery of what will come next. Human nature and the human brain sometimes has us doing things we may never ever thought of. Everyone has times that are dark, scary and strange. Sometimes we think of things we would never say to anyone, not even your closest friend. Mr. Bog's characters can be scary, scared, sometimes funny just like all of us. I've always thought the sign of a good book is that when you're finished reading, you want more and Mr. Bog has done just that. Left the reader wanting more. I received a copy of this book from the author and Word Slinger Publicity and voluntarily decided to review it.

  • Josh
    2019-03-30 09:59

    While it’s far less horror-oriented than most of the fare I review, this updated version of Justin Bog’s 2013 collection “Sandcastle and Other Stories” nevertheless has the potential to haunt you regardless. Think somewhere along the lines of Shirley Jackson or Joyce Carol Oates and you’ll be on the right track. I’ll leave a few surprises and not go over every story in detail, but this should give you an idea of what’s in store.In “Sandcastle”, a casual day on the beach takes a sinister turn as a neglectful parent leaves her child alone and a would-be parent takes matters into her own hands. This is a summer-day-at-the-beach story that’s outright chilling.“Mothers of Twins” is a bittersweet tale in which a broken woman runs a support group for mothers of twins. She has two sets of girls herself, and over the course of the story her real (and decidedly not selfless) reason for starting the group is revealed.In the bizarre “When the Ship Sinks”, what should have been a fun and relaxing singles cruise descends into pandemonium, but nearly everyone seems to turn the other cheek and take it in stride in the worst sort of way.“Poseidon Eyes” is a delightfully surreal yet poignant glimpse into the life of a woman who sees people as various sea creatures. The strange incident that gave her these “Poseidon eyes” and its repercussions frame this character study of the woman as she slowly comes to embrace every aspect of herself.“Cats in Trees” is a brief vignette about a young woman who really just wants to be a tree. Despite its apparent simplicity it manages to be a moving little story, as much about the twisted yet strong roots of family as it is about the unusual premise.“The Apple”, another vignette, packs a considerable punch regardless of its brevity. A finely drawn sketch of a single moment, the shadows this story casts are those of someone’s apparently less-than-idyllic autumn years.“Under the Third Story Window” relates a few fateful moments (as well as some flashbacks) in the lives of the inhabitants of an apartment complex, through the eyes of one in particular. It exemplifies Bog’s tendency toward exploring particular aspects of everyday tragedies and giving them the attention they don’t often get.“Train Crash” looks at a group of people who are all adrift in their own way, whose paths cross often but who are too caught up in a cycle of preconceived notions to begin to communicate without any pretense.It may not sound like the most gripping subject matter, but all the stories here (including the ones not mentioned here, which are just as good) are deceptively simple. Bog has a keen eye for what makes people tick, especially when their clockwork is decidedly rusty and the urges it drives are less than ideal. These stories take a microscopic view at the ordinary that, in turn, molds it into something uncanny. The underlying darkness takes different forms with each one, but never is it absent, and never does it feel anything less than utterly natural, even in the stories that stray furthest from realism. As for a genre label, psychological suspense works as well as anything, but horror junkies with an open mind as to what constitutes horror should find Sandcastle a captivating collection of dark tales. Recommended.review originally posted at http://horrornovelreviews.com

  • Maria
    2019-04-20 05:02

    This is a wonderful collection of short stories. The stories don't have a common theme running through them, but one thing that is common throughout is the way the author is able to introduce many diverse characters and yet make the reader feel as though he or she is looking at the world through the eyes of the character; really getting inside that character's mind and getting a feeling for the emotions. The quality of the description and the obvious talent the author has to be able to observe and recount different aspects of human behaviour is exceptional. There are some common threads that find their way into a few of the stories, for example a couple of the stories feature twins, and a few of the stories deal with difficult relationships. The first story, The Virtue of Minding Your Own Business, reads like a classic and really caught my attention. I knew the book was going to be good. The second story, Sandcastle, has an ending which although not altogether unexpected given the subject matter and the way the main character was portrayed, still has an element of shock value. As I read on, I didn't know quite what to expect from each story as each is very different from the last. One thing I became sure of after reading the first few stories, though, was that I would be taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotions in each story. I think each story in this collection is a stand alone quality read, I was not disappointed by any of them. Most of the stories are realistic tales about everyday people and many people will relate to something in the stories; the only exception is Poseidon Eyes, which is an abstract tale. Even though this is a fantasy tale, it contains the author's hallmark observations of the complexities of human behaviour and relationships, so fits in well with the collection. The ending to that particular story is cleverly done and thought-provoking. The last three stories in the collection are my favourites, I think, even though I enjoyed the whole book. Under the Third Story Window is well observed and poignant. I found On the Back Staircase a thrilling read, and this story, in particular, is one that really takes the reader along for the ride. Train Crash is subtly brilliant in the way it points to the fact that most people are living life day to day only seeing things from one perspective, it really makes you stop and think. I congratulate the author on this first collection of insightful short stories. I enjoyed the excerpt at end of the book, which is the first chapter of his debut novel. It is a family drama. I am sure after reading this collection that it will be a fascinating book.

  • Bex Montgomery
    2019-04-13 06:59

    Sandcastle and Other Stories (The Complete Edition) by Justin BogThis reissue of the debut story collection by Justin Bog is impressive. Originally published in 2013 by Green Darner Press the collection garnered high critical praise, was named one of the Best Books of 2013 Suspense Anthology by Suspense Magazine and a 2014 Ohioan Award Finalist.It’s not hard to see why. This collection of 12 short stories runs the gamut of colorful characters, and the author manages to inhabit each of them with the ease of a well-seasoned pro. He slips into the mind of a 75-year-old gardener, a new mother, and a young child with equal aplomb. The stories are imaginative and wonderfully mundane at the same time. Focusing on small details with such shocking honesty that they fascinate and resonate at the same time.Sandcastle, the title story in the collection is masterful. It’s features the collection’s signature gorgeous, sumptuous prose and gives us a glimpse of what seems at first innocent voyeurism but ultimately turns to something much darker, more sinister. And then we as the readers, the ultimate voyeurs find ourselves helpless to stop the scene unfolding before our eyes. Many of the stories in the collection play with human nature’s darker side to varying degrees touching on everything from apathy and want to murder and it’s delicious to read about in the hands of this author because it is done so well. There is not a false note to be found. He also plays around the edges of mental illness with characters that have suicidal tendencies, delusions, or (in separate stories) girls who want nothing more than to be trees. Though most of the stories are firmly rooted in the here and now, a few give nods to the fantastical. Poseidon Eyes, for example, is almost an Alice in Wonderland tale set under the sea. And The Virtue of Minding Your Own Business has one word in it, a reference to a “holographic” will which thrusts it into the realm of something that could be defined as science fiction. Overall these stories were enthralling to read. At times deliciously disturbing, utterly relatable and beautifully moving. I highly recommend this collection to fans of literary fiction, but I think there is something in this collection for every type of reader to enjoy.4.5 stars.Review copy courtesy of author/Sage's Blog Tours.Review originally appeared at Aurelia {Lit} {Geek} {Chic}

  • Rosi Hollinbeck
    2019-04-18 08:07

    My review for the San Francisco Book Review:There are dark times in every life, moments most hope will stay hidden and never come to light. There are moments most have thought things they would never say in the company of others or act on in the light of day. It is just such moments as these Justin Bog seems to have mined like ore as precious and as dangerous as plutonium for this tidy little book of stories that are as untidy as a life can be. Oh, I don’t mean the writing is untidy. The writing is spectacular. I mean the lives of the characters are untidy and real and dark and poignant or funny. The voices are amazingly authentic. Most of the stories are told in first person – some by men and some by women, yet all these voices seem absolutely genuine. Bog paints pictures with words as Titian did with oil paints – startlingly detailed with deep perspective and rich complexity. “The pecan-headed woman had her prescription sunglasses back on and her body floated limply in the chlorinated water. No one dove in to get the body. It was the ship’s responsibility, and the ship’s crew was busy trying to find out what to do about the overboard man.”The stories are those of everyday people who might live next door or in the walk-up across the street or perhaps behind a door impregnable to others. A man with a personal crisis takes a singles cruise – a woman leaves her toddler girl at the beach while having a romantic tryst – a B-list actor’s character is killed off – a girl is sucked below the sand into an underwater chamber and her life changes – an old gardener who has dark secrets interacts with the bosses daughter in a most unforeseen way. The only commonality in these tight, little stories is they are unexpected. Having this book is like having a string of black pearls – each one slightly different, but each a perfect, dark, little gem.

  • Derek McPhee
    2019-04-01 04:59

    There is something that is fundamentally distressing about the human psyche. Perhaps it is the way in which it tends to, like turbulent waters, lurk beneath a calm and sometimes placid surface. Bog has done a remarkable job in doing two things in particular in his debut novel, Sandcastle and Other Stories: First he has been able to drop us in to the middle of a person's life, his character's day-to-day affairs, and not immediately alienate us with a wall of "being unable to adjust". The second thing he has been able to do is to darken and to render surreal the standard affairs of life. To twist the mentality of the characters so that they reflect something much darker than our own minds are willing to admit lurks there.The stories are, on the whole, quite varied and come from very different segments of society - though they all have two major links that tends to weave them all together. The theme of water tends to flow throughout the stories, and also, there is a strong sense of alienation in "la vie cotidienne" of the characters. I noticed this most in the story Mothers of Twins. This distressing alienation is far more familiar to people than I think they want to acknowledge.Though generally rooted in reality, stories like Poseidon Eyes, shows that Bog does not mind taking a stroll outside of our normal world. Strongly recommended, though, be careful of the waters... They are dark and deep and we know not what lurks there.