Book Review: Wounds: Six Stories From the Border of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud


Title: Wounds: Six Stories From the Border of Hell

Author: Nathan Ballingrud

Release date: April 9th, 2019


Well then.

After having just sprinted through Mr. Ballingrud’s debut collection ‘North American Lake Monsters,’ I knew I needed to jump into this one ASAP and now that I’ve finished it, it’s going to take some time to recover. Much like the first time I read Volume One of ‘Books of Blood’ by Clive Barker (I still need to read Volume Two!), I was left speechless and at awe at what just exploded forth from the pages.

What I liked: All of it! All of it! Alright, but seriously. This thing opened up with ‘The Atlas of Hell’ which threw us into the swaps in New Orleans and finished with ‘The Butcher’s Table’ which is one I’m going to have to return to and re-read. In between we get a stunning story in ‘The Diabolist’ which was far more emotional than I’d expected. ‘Maw’ piggy-backed off of that story, but then we fall into the apex of the book with ‘The Visible Filth.’ All of these stories were dark, grimy and make you feel like you need a shower.

What I didn’t like: Not much, really. If I had to nit pick, I’d maybe say ‘Maw’ didn’t connect with me all that much, but the story itself was fun. I think just being sandwiched into between ‘The Diabolist’ and ‘The Visible Filth’ worked against it.

Why you should buy it: ‘Wounds’ really is a stunning collection, filled with cinematic story telling and lush descriptions of some of the vilest acts out there. I couldn’t help but smile at just how brutal Ballingrud was going in some places and while I still haven’t watched the movie based off of ‘The Visible Filth’ I’ll be trying to find some time to fit it in here. Ballingrud really does deserve to be highlighted as an author to move up your TBR immediately and now I’ll wait excitedly for whatever his next project will be!


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