No Lesser Angels, No Greater Devils by Laura J. Campbell
Dark Owl Publishing (May 2021)
300 pages; $11.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Laura J. Campbell’s newest collection, No Lesser Angels, No Greater Devils, is a weighty but impressive short story collection.
Campbell writes in a variety of styles, so it’s difficult to pin down one voice or theme for this collection. In some stories, like “Old Graveyard Magic,” she writes in a short, pithy style that’s immediately accessible and comedic. Then there are long, meditative space operas like “Kryptos,” which is a fascinating story in its own right. Then there are folk horror stories like “Lake Salida” that are dripping with a deep mythos and world building. Campbell clearly is a talented and multifaceted writer, and readers are sure to find a story in this collection that appeals to them.
Some readers may, however, be intimidated by this collection. It’s less focused and curated than many other short story collections. With over two dozen short stories from varying genres, there seems to be no cohesive whole or theme that connects all the stories. At times, it becomes difficult to shift gears from one story to another, from one genre to another, all in one collection. Readers looking for a more limited, focused collection will be put off by the sheer length and depth of this collection, but readers with broader palates will thoroughly enjoy the variety.
Overall, this is a really strong collection. It’s clear that Campbell can craft a solid story, and it’s clear that she’s able to work within many different voices, styles, and genres. While there’s no one overarching subject or theme that runs through these stories, the diversity will keep voracious readers entertained and engaged as they go through this collection. Furthermore, the price of the collection is a appealing, considering some similar collections would be two or three times as much with fewer stories.
Overall, this is a great bargain, and horror readers of all types are sure to find something they love in No Lesser Angels, No Greater Devils.