A Stitch of Madness


Madness: extremely foolish behavior. Imprisoned for the murder of his best friend, Johnny Cleary sets out to tell what happened on the day Bobby “Buster” Lennon died, but are the words he writes true or does the deception run deeper.

Madness: the state of being mentally ill, especially severely. There is something wrong with Irene. Momma’s dead and a ragdoll speaks to her in a voice that is hauntingly familiar. And what about the stitches, the very things that just might hold Irene together?

Madness: a state of frenzied or chaotic activity. After an odd stranger pays Robert Wallenger a visit, his world begins to unravel and the past comes rushing back, along with a sickly sweet scent.

There is madness in everyone. For most, the madness never surfaces. For others, all it takes is one thing, big or small, for them to spiral out of control.

IT TAKES A LOT …

I’m 63 years old and I’ve been a horror fan all my life. It takes a LOT to creep me out, anymore. I can’t wait to read another book by this author. In the meantime, I’m going to read this one again.

NICE COLLECTION

I first learned about this book while competing in a facebook contest…which I won. I have a knack for psychology; what can I say. when I bought this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than some psychological stuff that might interest me. I really had a good time reading the short stories, and an even better time diagnosing the characters. My favourite story involved the well, with the second involving stitches. That’s all that I will say for now!

I HAD A SMILE STITCHED IN PLACE FROM BEGINNING TO END

This set of stories are gripping, horrifying and unsettling. Definitely old school horror. Being a horror fan and enthusiast of the genre I was especially moved by the overall ambience of each story. Each story flowed well and there was a clear distinction between each beginning and ending. The editing was top notch and I was very impressed with the cover art. The fear was ever present and I could almost taste the dread I felt with each paragraph. The characters were well built and fleshed out as believable and relatable diverse group that helped build the stories into even more interesting horror fiction. I believe that this way of storytelling of horror is most welcome and a refreshing change from what I’ve been seeing in the genre in recent history. I was reminded of John Saul and Brian Lumley that are two horror writers that influenced me when I was a younger reader while reading “A Stitch of Madness”. I look forward too reading more work by A.J.Brown and published by Stitched Smile Publications. I was given this collection as a story ARC for a fair and honest review.

AMERICAN GOTHIC HORROR

This is an intriguing read from the very beginning and hard to put back down. All three stories are very different, however have a common underlying theme of madness. The story lines will keep you guessing from the get go and the insight to the characters made them feel like people you might already know. I actually related to one of the characters, because he reminded me of an old school mate.

The author is able to set a mood and a setting in a very short amount of time. Usually I don’t go for short stories because I feel like they have no beginning middle and end, but AJ Brown has done all this while still getting you to like, hate, empathise or understand the characters.

I loved the old school horror vibes and the Southern swampy horror that accompanies most of the stories. I suppose if I was to pigeon hole it I would call it American Gothic Horror.

These are classic tales that almost feel like they could be urban legends. Get yourself a copy, you won’t be disappointed.

PURE MADNESS

The saying goes “the mind is a terrible thing to waste” but in these three tales of madness that’s not the case. These short stories of the tortured, crazed minds of Johnny, Irene and Robert really grab you from the get go. A J Brown writes good old style horror and the well developed characters draw you into their minds. These stories are spooky, creepy and downright insane. The evil that can dwell in the mind is terrifying. Are these people crazy or is it just their imagination? For anyone who loves great horror and suspense this book is for you. I’ve read other books by this author and have enjoyed them all. Well done A J Brown.

THREE HORROR STORIES STITCHED TOGETHER BY MADNESS …

Three horror stories stitched together by madness…I guess that’s where they got the name from. I get that real southern feel when reading. I’ve never been there, so that says a lot about the authors ability to put you in the middle of the story. Of the three, I have a favourite. The simple basic falling apart horror of a tortured character in the second tale, Stitches, really gives you visuals and lets you inside the mind of a broken person. All three tales are unique and personal. I have read some of this authors work before, and I find myself getting to know the characters in his stories. Pick this book up, and you’ll get to know some interesting folks too…just don’t get too attached to them.

I WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE THAN HAPPY TO READ EVEN MORE

A book, of three short stories. Dark, and scary, border-lining on twisted as well. All three Shorts, are separate from one another, and they are all creepy, and dark. Written in the old school horror style, this is a must read for horror enthusiasts! Well written, well edited, and properly formatted. The only thing negative I can say, is, I wish the stories were longer, and that there was more stories in the book, as they are so well written, I would have been more than happy, to read even more!

MAD STORYTELLING

My first venture with this author and I’m impressed. While I enjoyed all three tales of madness, Stitches really creeped me out. I felt bad for most of these characters but something about Irene’s tale was more horrific than the others. I will definitely read more by this author and I recommend to fans of modern horror!

WOW! TWISTED! LOVE IT!

3 stories stitched together by madness are the folks insane did it happen as they remembered it did they kill or was it otherworldly beings you decide it grabs you with intensity you have to keep reading can’t put it down.

ANOTHER WINNER

Once again a.j. brown takes us to places that will drive us mad with these 3 tales of different types of insanity ! A great read and I highly recommend to all fans of modern horror.

HERE LIES MADNESS …

This is a fantastic set of short stories. It held my attention, it made my skin crawl and my soul dirty (that is a good thing.) These stories that plumb the psyche of guilt, torture, and madness. There are Lovecraftian overtones, as well as Twilight Zone-esque twists. Well written and deserving of your attention.

GREAT STORIES

I loved all the little stories in this book. Twisted and dark . It was well written and thought out. I really hope this is a book 2 of more madness stories . Must buy for any horror reader buy now you will love it.

A GREAT BOOK …

A great book! Each story gives a different view through the mosaic window of madness. Each character takes you through a cautionary tale worthy of a twilight zone episode. You’ll want to read each story at least twice to catch all the details!

IT CREEPED ME OUT IN A GOOD WAY!

A short book, it creeped me out in a good way. Very much a fresh read.

WICKEDLY CLEVER

I really enjoyed these stories and was hooked from the first line of each. I have to say “Stitched” was my favorite as I didn’t expect it at all! A must read for the twisted at heart!

TRULY ENJOYED THIS BOOK

Truly enjoyed this book. The writing is dynamic with a Hitchcockian flair. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading twisty, turny creepy writing.

MADNESS

A.J. does it again! I will never look at grapes the same way again. What am I talking about? Get this book and find out. You won’t be disappointed.

FROM A HORROR VIRGIN

I just started reading the book and what I have read so far…..Superb! This is my first time reading this type of genre in a book. My reads are usually romance. But I’m really enjoying this book! I recommend this to anyone who is starting out in horror/suspense.

MADNESS

AJ does it again! I will never look at grapes the same way again. What am I talking about? Get this book and find out. You won’t be disappointed.

GREAT CHARACTERS

What do you get when you have a man driven to madness by an old urban legend, a girl who owns a rag doll that might contain the spirit of her dead mother and a man who may have just gotten a visit from the devil? You get A Stitch Of Madness by A.J. Brown. This anthology contains three stories that all have to do with someone going insane and having to deal with the consequences.

The first story and my favorite in this book is Catherine’s Well, it deals with a man named Johnny who goes to prison after being accused of killing his best friend Buster. As Johnny tells his story we see that the truth behind the murder is much more complicated. What I liked most about this story is seeing how Johnny reacts to Buster’s decent into madness. At one point Johnny asks himself why he can’t leave his friend as he goes insane and he remembers how Buster was always a good friend through good times and bad. The tragedy in this story is Johnny is punished for his loyalty and witnesses something so horrible that he will never forget it.

The second story is Stitches which is about an abused girl dealing with the death of her mother who owns a rag doll that speaks in her mother’s voice. This is psychological horror at its best because there is a mystery to what is really going on in this story. The imagery in this one was great with the description of the doll’s eyes and her stitches. I also loved the dark mood of this story as it shows what a history of abuse can do to a person. One line in Stitches which describes the main point of the story is: “It’s hard to fix torn material.”

The last story is called A Sickly Sweet Scent which deals with a man who may be the devil looking for work on a farm and maybe a soul also. This story had a Twilight Zone feel to it. I liked the dialogue between characters and the way the story gets more complex as it moves along. In the beginning I thought this was going to be a story of good versus evil but the author took a different approach with it. This tale might make you hate grapes when you’re done reading it

I listened to the audible version of this book read by John Malone and I felt that John’s narration added a lot to each story. John’s deep voice added a sense of menace to the scarier parts of the stories and his delivery was perfect. Each story here reminded me of Stephen King because they are all character driven tales. You feel for all the characters here, when bad things happen to them it’s terrifying, even though the characters are flawed and might have deserved what was coming. A Stitch Of Madness is an example of great horror storytelling that you should put on your to be read list.

WELL TOLD

It’s good to know AJ is out there writing these stories, because not enough authors out there actually tell stories anymore. I read a ton of stories and so many of them leave me thinking, “That was OK, but it would be better if they skipped the nonsense and just TOLD the story.” AJ skips right over the nonsense, cuts through all the crap that wears me out on most new fiction and leaves only the best, most engaging parts of the story. Altogether great stuff for horror fans.

FIVE STARS

Awesome book! Awesome author!

A GREAT BOOK! EACH STORY …

A great book! Each story gives a different view through the mosaic window of madness. Each character takes you through a cautionary tale worthy of a twilight zone episode. You’ll want to read each story at least twice to catch all the details!

THESE STORIES ARE GREAT! MADNESS CAN BE GREAT!

Catherine’s Well

The way the story is written it got my interest peaked immediately. He eases into the tale only giving hints at first. You just want so bad to know what happens next. The rest of the story just pulled me in and I couldn’t stop reading it.

Stitches

The Voice in the Madness type fit in here. This poor abused woman has been made crazy and you find out just how crazy by the end of the story.

A Sickly Sweet Scent

A great story of revenge. This is also a great one!

INDEED …

Indeed … Madly stitched stories that are well-written and creative. Impressive old-school horror that will having you wishing this collection was much longer. Looking forward to more from Brown!

FROM CEDAR HOLLOW HORROR REVIEWS

A.J. Brown does a great job writing A Stitch of Madness. This book is a quick read! I read it in one sitting. This book consists of three short stories that are based on the theme of madness. In the first story is about a man who may have been driven to madness by an old urban legend.  The second story is about a girl who owns a rag doll that may contain the spirit of her dead mother. The last story is about a man who may have been visited by the devil. The first story deals with loyalty between two friends. The second story deals with abuse. The last story deals with grapes. Overall, I liked this anthology, but the stories could have been re-arranged to better impact the reader. My favorite story out of the three is the first one; therefore, I think it should have been placed third because it would have allowed the book to end on a high note. The second story should stay where it is, but the third story should go first. The anthology set up is good the way it is because the story about the urban legend hooks you from the beginning and doesn’t let you go. I will definitely read A.J. Brown’s other work.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

DSJM REVIEWS A STITCH OF MADNESS

Inside our minds there is darkness that sometimes forces a reality to those who think it might exist, bringing you into the world of being mad- full force with illusion; therefore, causing the state of mind to become unstable. Meaning numbness, deception, paranoia, just a cocktail of madness that is somewhere in between chaos and having a dream. The boundaries of going mad is a well thought process, quite genius if I may add. Scientists and doctors will say that madness or becoming psychotic happens in many different ways though I am only going to list a couple: abuse during child life, triggers (meaning something touched that right nerve mixed with emotional problems) cross-bred with other abusive like natures which creates the perfect recipe for chaos. It enriches the lucidity of dreams in an atmospheric way, manipulating them into your worst nightmares. Some may say it is only a nightmare but what if those dreams or nightmares become your reality in the depths of your brain, statically charging the mayhem within?

A.J Brown brings us not just one incredible short story but three amazing, bizarre, and mind altering stories- perfect in my thoughts. Every once in awhile you hear voices in your head, as you turn the pages with frigid, clammy hands and spine chilling nerves causing you to react irrationally. While you go on with word by word, they soak into you as it trickles through your processors in your mind. Slowly succumbing to the insanity within it officially makes your mind alternate between paranoia and its normal stance. In my opinion, Brown- who is the master mind behind this madness- is powerful in his words and builds the ultimate character strength with a vivid and lucid imagination of slowly making you feel like you are becoming psychotic and paranoid, that the insanity is slowly overtaking your reality.

A.J. Brown is an excellent story teller, his ability to think like this is honestly just quite maddening. I rejoice to have the chance to read this fantastic and amazing soul tearing tales that almost make you want to shake your head at the realism and connection you feel for each character. A Stitch of Madness reminds me of Stephen King, the articulate detail bringing forth to your mind that makes you question is this reality or not, that alone brings you into A.J. Brown’s personal nightmares. Anyone who would spend a little time and read this will forever become a fan of A.J. Brown. I look forward to reading more from Brown, perhaps seeing more- and longer- novels in the future. Thank you for creating a few more nightmares in my mind for sleep at night.

UNTITLED

What do you get when you have a man driven to madness by an old urban legend, a girl who owns a rag doll that might contain the spirit of her dead mother and a man who may have just gotten a visit from the devil? You get A Stitch Of Madness by A.J. Brown. This anthology contains three stories that all have to do with someone going insane and having to deal with the consequences.

The first story and my favorite in this book is Catherine’s Well, it deals with a man named Johnny who goes to prison after being accused of killing his best friend Buster. As Johnny tells his story we see that the truth behind the murder is much more complicated. What I liked most about this story is seeing how Johnny reacts to Buster’s decent into madness. At one point Johnny asks himself why he can’t leave his friend as he goes insane and he remembers how Buster was always a good friend through good times and bad. The tragedy in this story is Johnny is punished for his loyalty and witnesses something so horrible that he will never forget it.

The second story is Stitches which is about an abused girl dealing with the death of her mother who owns a rag doll that speaks in her mother’s voice. This is psychological horror at its best because there is a mystery to what is really going on in this story. The imagery in this one was great with the description of the doll’s eyes and her stitches. I also loved the dark mood of this story as it shows what a history of abuse can do to a person. One line in Stitches which describes the main point of the story is: “It’s hard to fix torn material.”

The last story is called A Sickly Sweet Scent which deals with a man who may be the devil looking for work on a farm and maybe a soul also. This story had a Twilight Zone feel to it. I liked the dialogue between characters and the way the story gets more complex as it moves along. In the beginning I thought this was going to be a story of good versus evil but the author took a different approach with it. This tale might make you hate grapes when you’re done reading it

I listened to the audible version of this book read by John Malone and I felt that John’s narration added a lot to each story. John’s deep voice added a sense of menace to the scarier parts of the stories and his delivery was perfect. Each story here reminded me of Stephen King because they are all character driven tales. You feel for all the characters here, when bad things happen to them it’s terrifying, even though the characters are flawed and might have deserved what was coming. A Stitch Of Madness is an example of great horror storytelling that you should put on your to be read list.

DARK AND HAUNTING TALES OF MADNESS

So, fortune favored the foolish and I came across this volume of some of A.J. Brown’s older stories.  In a shot of double fortune, it came in the form of a physical book I get to keep, which is perfect because this is definitely shelf worthy!

Dark and haunting, A Stitch of Madness is a collection of 3 short stories of the broken mind.  Written with frightening clarity, each story drags you down a dark path into madness right alongside the characters.

Catherine’s Well

Johnny Cleary tells the tale of the day his best friend dies at the cursed Catherine’s Well in this skillfully written first person letter to the reader.  The seamlessly integrated gradual reveal of who Johnny really is deep down is a critical component of this story of legends, obsession, and madness, so don’t skip anything!

Stitches

Stitches is the heart wrenching, horrifying tale of Irene and her ragdoll.  Her ragdoll speaks to her, teaches her about the magic and joys of sewing.  AJ Brown’s story of one young woman’s tragic insanity will horrify you long after you finish reading it.

A Sickly Sweet Scent

This first person narrative recounts the chaos of karma and the sickly sweet scent of past events coming to call.  Once again, A.J. Brown delivers a uniquely written first-person story that wholly reflects the voice of the character telling it in both tone and verbiage. This story was all tension and terror.

There is a lot more I would like to say about the stories, but I abhor spoilers in my reviews and I have not figured out how to say more without spoilers. However, if you have read other works by A.J. Brown, you are familiar with his superior talent. If not, please don’t rob yourself of the experience of reading his work.  Check out my reviews of his other works.

But either way…

Don’t miss out on this masterful collection of madness by A.J. Brown.

REMINDED ME OF CREEPSHOW OR TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE

These stories were wonderfully stitched together to tell new tales of old legends. I could so see these done for Creepshow or Tales from the Darkside series. The author does a wonderful job of pulling you into the story, making you feel a part of it so you are able visualize everything. Great cover art as well! Keep them coming!

THE DIVIDE BETWEEN MADNESS AND THE SUPERNATURAL

A J Brown’s A Stitch of Madness is a set of 3 stories where each of the main characters walks the divide between madness and the supernatural and you are left to decide which is which. Each story is unique in its own right and Brown has done a fantastic job with both plot and characterization. He creates characters that attach you to the story and his storytelling is smooth and conversational, drawing you in. I love his work and these three stories are fine examples of what Brown is capable of. I will admit that in his final story, I was disappointed at first with the outcome. I won’t get into spoilers here, but I will say that I had to think about the story’s ending for a while before I could give an honest review. As a reader, I have a tendency to make the main characters the “good” guys in the story. It’s just a natural habit that I have (as do most, I suspect). So when the main character turns out to be a not-so-great guy, you tend to expect him to get his just deserts or to feel some remorse, etc. I walked away from this story feeling a little robbed there at first. In a way, the character does get his just deserts just not on paper (you are left with the feeling that ‘ol Luke isn’t done with Robert just yet, lol). So in that I am satisfied. My point is that Brown does an excellent job of creating realistic characters. Everyday people are flawed and Robert is certainly no exception to this. By taking that view, Brown provides a unique ending that I did not see coming and in that regard, I respect him for taking a different approach than other writers would have. What’s left of Robert’s life doesn’t sound like it will be pleasant and in that, he gets exactly what he deserves in my opinion. Overall, A Stitch of Madness is a great read/listen and if you haven’t read any of Brown’s work, this collection is a good way to get started.

John Malone’s narration is another hit out of the park and his voice adds much to Brown’s characterization. He has a tendency to make the people feel real and the fictional world around him a tangible one. Great job!

GOOD SHORT STORIES

I enjoyed all the little stories in this book. Twisted and dark . It was well written and thought out and told great. I would recommend this book to all horror fans.

AMAZING

These stories are amazing! They will bring out emotions that you didn’t know we’re there. So easy to become involved in the story. You can see what the character sees like you are there with them. Never before have I seen or read anything by an author that could tell a story that not only could I see happening in my head but to feel like I was there. That is my kind of book! I can’t tell you about the stories because that would ruin the book for you but I promise you will love this book! You won’t be sorry that you bought this one!!

MASTER OF THE GENRE

The stories, oh, the stories. I can’t write anything about each one that hasn’t been so eloquently written in these other reviews. So I’ll tell you about the writer, A.J. Brown, in my own words and from my own perspective; I am a horror fan who is also a writer. Brown is a writer’s writer (emphasis added: boldface type that’s also italicized and underlined). Stepping back from the stories themselves, here’s a thing: Brown can write in a feminine point of view. Is that rare for a male writer? Well, Stephen King mastered it in “Carrie” but I don’t think he’s done anything since that had what I am talking about (sorry Uncle Stevie). It’s that subtle sense of mixing the testosterone-laden hard-driving spinning of a tale with the softly-whispered voice of an innocent. This art is at its most beautiful and horrible in the story “Stitch”. It is an art that Brown has mastered. (1) I want Brown to keep writing for the rest of his life, and (2) I hope he outlives me.

HAD MY INTEREST PEAKED

Catherine’s Well

The way the story is written it got my interest peaked immediately. He eases into the tale only giving hints at first. You just want so bad to know what happens next. The rest of the story just pulled me in and I couldn’t stop reading it.

Stitches

The Voice in the Madness type fit in here. This poor abused woman has been made crazy and you find out just how crazy by the end of the story.

A Sickly Sweet Scent

A great story of revenge. This is also a great one!

YET ANOTHER WINNER BY A VERY FINE STORY TELLER

AJ Brown proves once again he is at the top of his game… story telling of the finest caliber, indeed! Another ‘must read’ from Mr. Brown!

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