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Alexander S. Brown, author of Traumatized, was born on March 29, 1985, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, to parents, Sylvia and William Brown. The majority of his childhood years were spent in his parent’s care, he also spent a lot of time with grandparents, Barbara and Atwood Quirk. Brown had no siblings, so he had a great deal of time on his hands. Most weekends would find him spending Friday nights with his grandparents. His grandfather, Atwood, introduced him to the world of horror and suspense, his father, William, offered stories of the urban legends and ghostly myths of Vicksburg, and his mother, Sylvia, introduced him to the world of the paranormal. These Friday night stories and tales sparked an interest in him to learn as much as he could about the spiritual realm and many tales of folklore.
During recess as a child, Brown would sometimes sit to the side, while the other children played, and focus his time and attention on the works created by the biggest names in horror today. The horrific words of those literary geniuses fueled his imagination further and eventually inspired him to bring life to the nightmares and dreams that frequently came to him.
During his years at Vicksburg High School, Brown discovered two passions: creative writing and photography. He won awards for his art work during his two years in honors photography. In Brown’s senior year, he was granted the opportunity to take a creative writing course and that helped his stories begin to take shape.
Most of Brown’s work comes from his dreams, but some also comes from reality. The works inspired by events other than his dreams are usually exaggerated versions of true events and everyday issues. But, regardless of their origin, raw emotion is woven throughout all his stories.
Traumatized, his first completed short story collection, has received rave reviews. Brown says there are more works on the way. He plans to write a series of novels chronicling the lives of residents in a town that is damned and eventually he will pen a fantasy/horror trilogy.
Critics have said:
Review by The Bone Breaker
Generally, I reserve short stories for when I am between novels - particularly if I am waiting for a book to arrive in the mail - that way, I know I will not be in the middle of a book, when a new one arrives. :-)
This wasn’t the case with this collection of short stories. I had nothing on my plate when I started to read this collection, and it’s a good thing as I was so captivated by the tales within, that a new novel would have had to have been set aside anyhow.
The first story, Bloodlines, is the longest at 47 pages. This is the story of four complete strangers who are invited to a mysterious gathering at a Southern Louisiana Manor, that was built in the 1800’s, and has a sordid history behind it. It is a tale of greed. . .
Next is April - the story of a 17 year-old girl who has been experiencing mysterious blackouts. Upon awakening, her bedroom would appear to have been ransacked, and at one point she even found a butcher knife under her mattress. What is the story behind her strange blackouts?
[this one is a great story, however I felt that it ended too abruptly - I wanted more!]
* Note: Keeping in contact with the author of this collection, I found out, just the other day, that April may be made into a film - Cool! :-)
In The God Complex, Brown tells the tale of a cult that uses methadone wafers [during their weekly communion] to control its congregation through addiction and sedation. . .
From Midnight to One tells the story of an unhappily married woman, waiting for her husband to come home - while home alone, in the woods, during a storm, with possible intruders in the house. . .
[a very cool & creepy story]
In The Acquired Taste, a new parasite is discovered in some sushi - a parasite that affects the brain, turning people homicidal!
It’s All True is an excellent story about an author who is investigating a haunted mansion that was once used as an amputation hospital during the Civil War. He enters with only a camera, a recorder, and a flashlight. . .
Live Through This is a scary story because it could really happen - it is a tale of a bedridden man and his obsessed lover!
In Two Miles, the main character of the story wakes up - seemingly in the middle of a desert - not knowing when or how he got there. After a mysterious wall and a billboard “screen” appear, showing scenes from his life, he begins to wonder if he has been drugged. . .
The End of Summer is probably the most memorable story in this collection. In this story, the title character - Summer - inherits her aunt’s home, which is filled with all sorts of occult paraphernalia, including books, voodoo dolls, etc. After going through the home, bizarre deaths start to occur. . .
Feast of the Pigs tells the story of a drug pusher who is arrested in an alley, by a female officer. He is then stuck in a holding cell - his rights were not read to him, he did not get a phone call, and he was never fingerprinted. . .
[Screw it, I’m going to blow the whistle on this one - this one is a killer vampire story! Ahhhhh - sorry, I couldn’t help myself]
In A Dead Ringer, on New Year’s Eve, 1897, an unfaithful wife and her lover murder her husband. . .
[this tale was fantastic and has a very “Poe” feel to it]
House by the River tells the tale of a schizophrenic serial killer, as told by a lone survivor. . .
Althea’s Last Dance is the story of a modern day Jack the Ripper. Althea is a stripper, who crosses his path. . .
[If you were wondering about the cover of the book - shown above - it is a butterfly charm, which is worn by Althea in this story]
Bliss Hill is the shortest story in this collection - only a mere five pages. In 1942, something is killing the chickens and cattle on a rural farm. . .
The last story, Zoe’s Swan Song is about an egotistical superstar who is determined to become even more beautiful than she already is. . .
[this one is quite nauseating, and I mean that as a compliment]
In the very beginning of the book, Brown quotes Poe, Lovecraft, Nietzsche, and Francis Bacon - I am not familiar with Bacon, though I am certain that the others would be be proud of their influence upon Brown’s bodies of work found in this collection. Brown is very descriptive and atmospheric. He utilizes very cool metaphorical sentence structures, and he has a knack for keeping you on the very edge, throughout his stories [which progressively get better, in my opinion]
Review of Traumatized
Nicholas Grabowsky (Horror Author)
Traumatized by Alexander S. Brown (2006 Publish America.) Read more about the author and the novel here.
After reading Traumatized I decided in this review to make an example out of Alexander S. Brown. Going down that road, I must begin with how this work came to my attention, and if memory serves me right I believe I was introduced to Brown’s Myspace page, and one thing led to another resulting with a copy in the mail and an author at the other end anxious to know my thoughts. I get a lot of that. And if I had a nickel for every last one…..............yet, at the end of the day, I’ve read through the works of many unsung authors and more often than not I’ve found most of them to be promising, despite shortcomings, despite lack of the proper infusion of poetry in their prose, oftentimes exhibiting great storytelling/character structure but lacking in the sort of finesse that turns pages and makes a mediocre book a great work to be proud of as an author….that sort of thing, especially with what goes regarding a majority of self-published material.
Alex Brown is self-published, his first novel Sweet Dreams ( 2003 from Authorhouse, or 1st Books Library as was what it’s been known as prior to being Authorhouse), has a couple of good reviews by laymen reviewers on Amazon and sports one of the worst covers I’ve ever seen on a book.
In 2008, Brown utilized the services of Xlibris to publish his 15-tale, 300-plus-page collection Traumatized, the work which falls under scrutiny here. I checked out an “about the book” website regarding Traumatized designed by Xlibris that looks hella cool but doesn’t say much of anything, and www.damnedsoulsclub.com, a more personal site ala Brown’s Myspace presence but doesn’t have much to it albeit a good bio about the author. Since his high school years in Mississippi, Alex Brown has more than tampered around with his passion for telling stories, the kind of dark stories I dig, and in print he’s been around since 2003, so to date he’s been dancing around with stories to tell and sell to the masses for a good handful of years but (for reasons that likely have to do with why his web presence lacks the meat and potatoes I was hoping to find) he remains a teeny little voice compared to where he should be by now.
Point is, Traumatized is a collection that deserves far more credit than what’s encompassed within the above paragraph, and it blows me away how this assemblage of exhilarating and refreshingly macabre series of stories could not have been more prominently pimped than it has. It’s an example…...a perfect example…...of a genuine piece of work that deserves the attention of writers and writer’s associations whose authors do this sort of thing for a living but falls short of the recognition it deserves. Take Feast of the Pigs, for example…..highly entertaining cops/turned-bloodsucking-creatures faire, how a Big Easy spirit came to be in Althea’s Last Dance is top-notch narrative, and we also have a delightful The End of Summer where a hand-me-down occult book library inspires grisly voo-doo doll-type mayhem done with balls-out satisfying style. There are a handful of instances where Brown seems a bit long-winded…..where, for example, the opening Bloodlines tale (essentially a good haunted house-type “Clue” where a group of people are summoned to a mansion to search for a mysterious treasure) can be detailed down a bit and given momentum. Traumatized is damn worth paying attention to, and I hands-down recommend it.
Now that I’ve said what I’ve said, I don’t think I need to make an example of Alexander Brown. I think he’s an example in his own right, of a literary talent that needs to broaden his horizons to the extent that it fits the exemplary nature of what he’s done with this work, and not hide it under a bushel and remain that teeny little voice. Some of this caliber of writing….man, it’s well above a lot of the books I get in the mail to review that makes me say yet again “....if I had a nickel for every last one…...” and it’s a shame it hasn’t seen anywhere near its potential yet, for lack of whatever the reason, online or off.
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