trigger warning book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Trigger Warning is a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman. In the foreword, he warns that many of the stories have the potential to trigger certain reactions from the reader–possibly unpleasant reactions. Personally, I wouldn’t call any of the stories unpleasant, though many did make me think and I did ‘react’ to quite a few. I’ve read books I found disturbing before and this wasn’t one of them, not even close.

Four of the stories in this collection really grabbed my attention. The first one was “The Case of Death and Honey”, a Sherlock Holmes homage. It takes place long after his famous escapades in London and ties in very well with his cannon ‘retirement’. It was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Nothing O’Clock” is a Dr. Who story. I haven’t watched a single episode since I was around eight years old – several decades ago (much to my shame) – but I still felt like he was the Doctor. It also reignited my curiosity and I’ll have to try watching some more. The Doctor once again needs to save the day and he has a rather interesting opponent with a unique ability to deal with time.

“The Sleeper and the Spindle” was a Snow White and Sleeping Beauty cross. Of course, these connections were never specifically mentioned and if you are not familiar with these fairy tales they could be easily missed. That was part of what made the story very good and Gaiman put a very interesting twist in it as well. You think you know what is going on but you are likely mistaken…

I haven’t gotten around to reading American Gods but I do believe the story “Black Dog” is related to that universe. Even if it’s not at all related, I thought it was very good. The main character, Shadow Moon, is walking across Great Britain and stops for an evening at a small road side pub for a drink. He ends up staying several days and solves a crime no one knew happened.

Many of the other stories were interesting but I think the four I mentioned would be reason enough to read this book. Gaiman has a long foreword where he actually comments on each one of the stories and a little of what went into writing them. It was pretty cool. I enjoyed the book and if you like Neil Gaiman I suspect you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.