Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

I haven’t read an awful lot of Neil Gaiman before. I couldn’t get more than a few pages into The Graveyard Book and, unusually for me, gave up on Stardust half way through. I did enjoy Coraline, however, as well as The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and back in 2010 I recall very much enjoying his short story collection Fragile Things. (Okay, perhaps I’ve read more by Gaiman than I thought!). I came to Trigger Warning while suffering something dreadful with the flu. My attention span was shot and I couldn’t do an awful lot beyond lay in bed feeling sorry for myself, so listening to a collection of short stories seemed the best idea to stop me climbing the walls with boredom. Purchased a few weeks back as an Audible Daily Deal, this book seemed to fit the bill, and in the event, it certainly did the job.

The stories here are a bit of a mish-mash, as Gaiman admits in his introduction. The book lacks an over-arching theme to hold them all together, but I found the variety in and of itself enjoyable, never knowing what kind of tale was creeping around the next corner. As a narrator, Gaiman excels, managing to flit between conversational, conspiratorial and downright creepy with ease. Not all the stories fully hit the mark – in particular, the Doctor Who drama felt rather lacklustre – but those that do shine through. “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” was a perfect morsel of horror, and the Sherlock Holmes story was wonderful.

The most irritating aspect of the audio is the fact that the story introductions are all lumped together in one hour long preface, so listening to an intro, moving on the tale, then coming back for the next preface involved an awful lot of bookmarking and moving back and forth – something that of course would be perfectly simple in a paperback, but grew tiresome in this format. That said, I’d absolutely listen to more in future, especially if it was so ably narrated by the author again.

[Read from 20-28 March 2016]

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