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That Which Grows Wild

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That Which Grows Wild collects sixteen dark and masterful short stories by award-winning author Eric J. Guignard. Equal parts whimsy and weird, horror and heartbreak, this debut collection traverses the darker side of the fantastic through vibrant and harrowing tales that depict monsters and regrets, hope and atonement, and the oddly changing reflection that turns back at you in the mirror.

Discover why, after only several years, Eric J. Guignard has developed an ardent following and earned praise by masters of the craft such as Ramsey Campbell (“Guignard gives voice to paranoid vision that’s all too believable.”) and Rick Hautala (“No other young horror author is better, I think, than Eric J. Guignard.”)

Table of Contents includes:

A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love
Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos
Footprints Fading in the Desert
The House of the Rising Sun, Forever
The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co.
Last Night...
Those Who Watch From On High
Vancouver Fog
A Curse and a Kiss
Whispers of the Earth
A Serving of Nomu Sashimi
Certain Sights of an Afflicted Woman
A Journey of Great Waves
A Quaint Ol’ Bigfoot Tale
Dreams of a Little Suicide



“I feel privileged to have read THAT WHICH GROWS WILD by Eric J. Guignard. The defining new voice of horror has arrived, and I stand in awe.” —Nancy Holder, NYT bestselling author, WICKED

“Eric J. Guignard crafts storytelling into a timeless masterpiece: THAT WHICH GROWS WILD: 16 TALES OF DARK FICTION is a brilliant collection of haunting stories that will captivate readers that relish dark fiction.” —Fanbase Press

“A good story evolves, develops, grows into an adventurous journey that the reader can become absorbed in and think about long after the last page is turned. And that’s just what the book THAT WHICH GROWS WILD: 16 TALES OF DARK FICTION by Bram Stoker Award-winner Eric J. Guignard does for the reader.” —Amazing Stories Magazine

217 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 1, 2018

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About the author

Eric J. Guignard

148 books503 followers
ERIC J. GUIGNARD is a writer and editor of dark and speculative fiction, operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles, where he also runs the small press, Dark Moon Books. He’s twice won the Bram Stoker Award (the highest literary award of horror fiction), won the Shirley Jackson Award, and been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and International Thriller Writers Award for his works of dark and speculative fiction.

He has over one hundred stories and non-fiction author credits appearing in publications around the world. As editor, Eric’s published multiple fiction anthologies, including his most recent, Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror , and A World of Horror , a showcase of international horror short fiction.

He currently publishes the acclaimed series of author primers created to champion modern masters of the dark and macabre, Exploring Dark Short Fiction ( Vol. I: Steve Rasnic Tem ; Vol. II: Kaaron Warren ; Vol. III: Nisi Shawl ; Vol. IV: Jeffrey Ford ; Vol. V: Han Song ; Vol. VI: Ramsey Campbell).

He is also publisher and acquisitions editor for the renowned +Horror Library+ anthology series. Additionally he curates the series, The Horror Writers Association Presents: Haunted Library of Horror Classics through SourceBooks with co-editor Leslie S. Klinger.

His latest books are Last Case at a Baggage Auction ; Doorways to the Deadeye ; and short story collection That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance).

Outside the glamorous and jet-setting world of indie fiction, Eric’s a technical writer and college professor, and he stumbles home each day to a wife, children, dogs, and a terrarium filled with mischievous beetles. Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.

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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 21 books4,875 followers
April 22, 2019
"It's not really sushi 'cause it's not from the sea."

So this collection of short stories from Eric J. Guignard just further establishes why I'm such a fan of short stories. And I should clarify, not just any old genre of short stories but horror/dark fiction specifically.
The sixteen tales here range from weird/speculative like, MOMMA
to paranormal like, FOOTSTEPS FADING IN THE DESERT to whatever crazy genre A SERVING OF NOMU SUSHI would be (one of my favorite stories from the collection because *that ending*!!)
One thing these stories share, however, is the talented voice of the author, writing in the genre or style he chooses. After reading this collection, it's abundantly clear that Eric Guginard has the chops to imagine anything and everything and tell his audience about it in such a way that his stories become our stories.
Most memorable were the first two stories,
A CASE STUDY IN NATURAL SELECTION AND HOW IT APPLIES TO LOVE which was a story set in a post apocalyptic time with juvenile characters you couldn't help but care about immediately.
It really made me think that no matter what crazy things happen to mankind, some things would never change--like puppy love, jealousy and teens.
LAST DAYS OF THE GUNSLINGER, JOHN AMOS was like this horror/western/scifi blend as we jump right into this world where some kind of giant locust things called Hoppers, have taken over the world and we get in on the action just as these Hoppers have started spawning.
A hero named John Amos has gathered to himself some orphans that he's determined to protect and see through to safety as far as he can manage.
It was such a sweet story--I really could have stayed in that world for a whole novel.
(hint: I hope Eric writes a full novel with John Amos' backstory!)
There were many more stories in here, each one with the potential to be someone's favorite but I hope my review sparks that curiosity for others to pick this one up. It's a must have for horror lovers who enjoy author collection, short stories and feeling their emotions.
32 reviews1 follower
July 25, 2018
I’m currently reading this: THAT WHICH GROWS WILD by author Eric J. Guignard and Wow, this author is amazing! This is a collection of short stories and so far they are all written well and they keep your interest entirely. They are dark stories but not really horror. More emotional, and thoughtful fantasy, or whats called speculative fiction.
The first story is near-future about teens finding love as the planet overheats. Then the next story is about a Western gunslinger who protects a group of children from alien monsters during a flash flood. Then the next story is the last surviving child of a witch-woman, who lives in the swamp and in losing her mind to senility. He loves her, but is confused about the so-called curse she’s placed on the town and trusts to keep everyone’s spirits—including his siblings—alive in a special way. It’s sweet. Next is a woman who is sole survivor of a plane crash in the desert and she meets someone who has come before and is just as lost as she. Very Twilight Zone! The next story is the darkest so far, about opium addiction and reliving life over and over just like the cycle of opium highs and lows. So sad. Those are the first 5 stories. More to come!
Profile Image for Jimmy Tam.
12 reviews26 followers
July 13, 2018
Stellar collection of short fiction stories. Some of my favorites were:
*Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos, where it’s a cowboy gunslinger vs. alien creatures, in a flood.
*Certain Sights of an Afflicted Woman, where a woman with an infected eye is able to see germs, and tries to avoid them during the plague that kills everyone else.
* A Serving of Nomu Sashimi, the most horrific meal of childhood darlings
* Last night, where a perpetual full moon causes perpetual werewolves
And all the other ones good as well. Some of the stories were dark and bleak, some ended up being kindof uplifting, in the way of “horror happy endings”. Good rich, literary voice!
Profile Image for Tracy Robinson.
491 reviews151 followers
January 23, 2019
Delicious darkness in these tales. Writing review for Sci Fi and Scary to post this week.

Here’s my full review!

These “16 Tales of Dark Fiction” make up such a good collection. Almost all of these stories were 4 or 5 stars for me and for this review I decided to highlight my favorites.

A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love

For me, this was the best possible introduction to the collection. Engaging writing, a beautifully developed post-apocalyptic world, and a unique premise, all worked together to make this one of the best short stories I’ve read in awhile. Spontaneous combustion combined with a struggle to survive in a world that just might happen in reality. It ended great, but I also would love to read this as a novel – I want more!

Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos

A post-apocalyptic setting – but this time it is melded with a “creature feature” as well. Guignard really shows his talent in creating different worlds and creatures. There are passages in which the descriptions of the creatures left me happily disgusted and thoroughly engaged. Great character development and believable relationships round out this story.


This story fed my love/need for bizarre horror fiction. As a reader, I was left in the dark a bit regarding the world of Momma and Daniel, which allowed me to suspend disbelief and become invested in this story. The previous two tales were heavier in focus on the world I found myself in, but for this one, the focus is on personal relationships, family….and cicadas. Loved it.

Last Night…

Werewolf tales can be hit or miss for me – this one is amazing. Sometimes we wish for time to stand still so we can enjoy a particular moment and bask in the happiness that is all too often fleeting, at best. But what if the world stops at the worst possible moment? This one is a must read for sure.

Vancouver Fog

This is the shortest tale in the collection. I think it is a wonderful inclusion to the story because it is so very different. Emotional and haunting, it tugged at my soul a bit.

Other standouts for me include “Certain Sights of an Afflicted Woman”, “A Journey of Great Waves”, and “A Quaint Ol’ Bigfoot Tale.” I took my time with this collection and read only one or two stories a day. I read the first three quickly and with great relish, then I forced myself to slow it down so I could really take in the stories in front of me. Be sure to check this one out – there are many of these that will stay with me for quite some time. I’d like to see what Guignard does with a longer piece of fiction as well.
Profile Image for Irene Well Worth A Read.
878 reviews81 followers
February 13, 2020
I love short horror stories, and what a perfect title for this collection of 16 dark tales. That Which Grows Wild encompasses myth, urban legend, and fairy tales for grown ups that could make the Brothers Grimm shiver.

The author conjures up worlds where spontaneous combustion is the norm, a never ending full moon allows werewolves to prowl as they please, and the voices of long lost loved ones call to you from sink holes. There is a re-imagining of beauty and the beast, where Belle is ugly on the inside, and "Dreams of A Little Suicide" which may be familiar to you if you know of the urban legend surrounding a hanging munchkin that people claimed could be seen in The Wizard Of Oz. My absolute favorite was "A Serving Of Nomu Sashimi" in which a low performing sales rep gets let in on the secret of the big earners. This book was like a trip down memory lane that suddenly leaves you abandoned in unknown territory just when you thought you knew where you were. From a horror lover, that is high praise.

I received a complimentary copy for review.
Profile Image for Vivian Metzger.
23 reviews1 follower
July 24, 2018
Eric J. Guignard’s collection was recommended to me, and I’m glad it was. Gives me new hope for horror fiction, being his writing can be smart and thoughtful, with only hints of horror sometimes, and still be engaging. Theres no explicit material, no stereotype monsters. Just good stories, good writing. Hoping for more of his work to be made available.
Profile Image for Lisa Lee.
404 reviews27 followers
December 20, 2018
Eric J Guignard’s writing is dark and beautiful and I am in awe of his writing voice. I hardly know where to begin in reviewing his collection That Which Grows Wild. By the end of the first story, I was entranced, bewitched, and a bit in love with the book I held in my hands. I immediately gave thanks for the physical edition. “Shelf-worthy,” I mumbled aloud.
“What?” said my husband.
“The book,” I replied.
“That good?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “It really is.”
He patted my arm and went back to his own book. He prefers sci-fi.
We had other similar exchanges as I made my way through the stories between the rose-strewn covers.

No, I do not digress. This book moved me to introspection, discussion, emotion, and a possessiveness of it as an object. Its stories vary in genre and subgenre, intensity and gruesomeness. Dark fiction. Psychological horror. Speculative horror. Cosmic horror. Reimagined classic themes. Taboo subject matter. Each story has its own path to your heart, mind, and soul. Each story wraps slow, gentle fingers around your insides and crushes the breath and blood from you, sometimes slowly, sometimes not.

I found each story engrossing, the characters engaging, the words captivating. I devoured the book like I would a decadent fudge brownie, dreading the moment there was no more to consume. I could write a book expressing my views on each story individually, but I don’t think anyone wants to read that.

I have spent a considerable amount of time choosing one story to expound upon. It was a difficult decision, but I have chosen “Last Night….” It is dark speculative horror told in first person. This story crosses subgenre lines as the narrator recounts a fantastical creeping apocalypse, his experience, his terror, his despair. I found this story compelling, poetic, horrifying, and ultimately, emotionally wrenching. It will stay with me longer than I should want.

That Which Grows Wild is for the discerning reader. It is not a quick fix of titillating horror. It is, instead, a collection of deep and gripping terrors that engage the mind and emotions. It consumes the reader as the reader consumes it. I highly recommend this shelf-worthy collection.
Profile Image for Eva.
Author 5 books22 followers
September 17, 2018
[Disclaimer: Review copy received from author in exchange for honest review]

I was excited to read this short story collection by Eric J. Guignard, who is as brilliant a writer as he is an editor. I also found the cover art to be amazingly good and to set the tone for the collection. Many stories were of the post-apocalyptic variety, which while not my cup of tea, were still written very well and I enjoyed reading through them.

Highlights for me included “Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos,” which, as the title implies, is about a gunslinger in Arizona who has a life in high mountain caves. Guignard excels at the Weird Western subgenre and I think he should write more of these. In this tale there were hoppers, which were odd monsters in the context of a father trying to protect his children. I felt there was great suspense and tension throughout with high stakes, and a memorable ending.

Guignard also excels at writing historical tales particularly well, such as “Momma,” which I enjoyed. One of the themes of the collection and that ran through this story was of families and desperate situations; how much they’re willing to risk to save each other, and sacrifice.

Another highlight for me was the Beauty and the Beast re-telling, “A Curse and a Kiss” while I enjoyed the Southern main character in the first half of “The House of the Rising Sun, Forever.” The story “Vancouver Fog” presented the tale of someone who can’t let go of a loved one after death, which highlighted another of the collection’s strong themes: death and grieving. Overall, Guignard presents an excellent assortment of stories in this volume. Fans of his work should definitely check it out.
Profile Image for Tricia Guest.
7 reviews
August 9, 2018
Eric Guignard has written a subtle and superlative collection of speculative horror worthy of The Twilight Zone. All of the stories are great but my favorites are the poignant and action-packed "Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos," and the slow-burn creep factor of "Momma."
Guignard sets his stories all around the globe and the plots range from psychological to monster horror, vampire to Weird West. There is something for everybody.
If you want a night filled with chills, read this collection. You might want to leave the lights on, though, and make sure you lock all the doors and windows.
Profile Image for Sarah.
348 reviews56 followers
June 27, 2020
The first thing that caught my attention was the wonderful cover art for this collection. The roses are very much growing wild; they look similar to my mother’s attempts to growing roses, hers are always crazy explosions of color and thorns. The more I thought about it, the more I found this cover fitting for horror tinged stories. My mother always told me that you could do everything right from a gardening standpoint, but without a little blood, the roses would not grow. She had to pay a price if she wanted them to flourish, her hands and wrists would have long scratches and gouges, even after wearing gloves. Her roses would thrive, and she swore it was because they took their pound of flesh. So look at this cover and I’m sure you will agree with that sentiment, these blossoms are well fed.

That Which Grows Wild boasts 16 stories of the dark fiction flavor and this collection delivered on that promise. Short stories take planning to pull off; you are not given endless pages to build on an idea and present it to your readers as embellished as you may prefer. There is also a certain amount of trust that the reader can gather the information between the words to fill the spaces not spelled out, and that can be met with mixed results. But I found each story here written as a complete tale—there was a recognizable beginning, middle, and ending to every one, no matter if the story was 22 pages long or only 2. I was very impressed as well with the varied subjects found in this collection, the author wrote them masterfully.

A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love – This hit a little close to home, with the world steadily heating up and water becoming scarce, sounds like the next month for 2020 apocalypse bingo. There is the added stress of random human combustion, teenage hormones and survivors’ guilt. I don’t know if I could handle the end that well.

Last Days of the Gunslinger John Amos – Another dystopian feel, the world as far as the characters can see is overrun by fantastical and bloodthirsty creatures referred to as Hopper. They sound like a horrifying mix of insect and mammal. John Amos has kept his family safe as long as he can, but as the title suggests, time is running out. It was a tense read, I really liked it.

Momma – This got under my skin! Told from the point of view of the only surviving son, Daniel, as he takes care of his mother, who is not always of sound mind and fading fast. I can’t really say more without spoilers, but this is a very dark tale. Loved it.

Footprints Fading in the Desert – This one is sad but also really dark. A plane crash survivor follows footprints in hopes of rescue. Went in a direction I wasn’t expecting.

The House of the Rising Sun, Forever – The story about opium addiction would probably be the one I had trouble understanding fully. It seemed like 2 separate stories told in tandem, but I don’t think that was how I was supposed to read it. I think this is one that will take a few reads for me to get, and that’s okay. It was still interesting and colorful.

The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co. - This one was an alternate history event, with a supernatural twist. It was really well done.

Last Night – I loved how this was written, the idea scares the pants off of me but makes for a great story. Another one where the less said the better for spoiler reasons.

Those Who Watch From On High – This gave us a horror story that is possible; it was heartbreaking and perfect.

Vancouver Fog – No wasted words for this 2 page terror.

A Curse and a Kiss – One of my favorites in this collection, this is a fairy tale retold; darker, if possible than original fairy tales. I could see this being made into an animation similar to Junji Ito’s horror.

Whispers of the Earth – Grief goes hand in hand with horror, because it shapes how we react to unexplainable things. When you think there are messages coming from a lost loved one, how could you turn away?

A Serving of Nomu Sashimi – The idea that specialized underground eateries can be found is not that big a leap, people eat some weird stuff. This has the added stress of not killing you if prepared wrong, as with the puffer fish, but changing you horribly. But what do you expect when you want your meat a little magical?

Certain Sights of an Afflicted Woman – Another one that hits during this time, set during the 1918 plague. A woman can see out of her infected eye a little bit more than everyone else, but will that save her in the end? This was an interesting story but it also confused me a bit at the end.

A Quaint Ol’ Bigfoot Tale - This cryptid tale has a grandfather trying to impart wisdom in a telling of how he lost his hand. I would not want to run into that Sasquatch in the woods.

Dreams of a Little Suicide – I think this is based on a legend, I don’t know if it is true or not, that an actor hung themselves while filming for The Wizard of Oz. This story got to me too, the anger and all around rottenness of the protagonist turned antagonist is the stuff of nightmares. I can’t imagine the hate it would take to do that to someone.

So this is a 5 star for me. I enjoyed every story, even when I felt it went over my head. I think anyone that likes dark fiction should give this a read, so I am definitely recommending it to people. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.
Profile Image for Laura Thomas.
1,356 reviews80 followers
February 9, 2019
I usually find that when reading a collection of short stories, some of them are great, some are okay and some miss the mark. I was thrilled to find that I was happy with all sixteen tales in That Which Grows Wild.

The book begins with A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love. I’m a huge fan of dystopian and apocalyptic tales and this one adds human combustion to the mix. The fact that the author made it seem like something that could actually occur was like sprinkles on an ice cream cone. Tasty.

From there I went on to devour the book. I was expecting to need a break somewhere. For my interest to taper off. But, no. I kept right on to the end, encountering tormented beings, creatures big and small, aliens and ordinary people facing difficult and fantastical situations. But that wasn’t all I found. There were some deeply moving scenes and some characters I wanted to tuck under my wing and keep safe from harm.

I was going to list my favorites but I found myself adding another and then another. The writing is powerful and the stories intoxicating. Eric is a storyteller in the true sense of the word.

I received a complimentary copy. My review is voluntarily given.
March 16, 2019
I love short stories. I find that great authors shine when presented with the limitations of a short story. You only have so many pages to explore a topic and I love that the really good ones always leave me yearning for more. Whether it's an anthology or a collection all by the same author, it gives you the ability to sample various themes and narrative styles.

Typically, a collection of this magnitude finds me relishing some stories and yet bored with others. In the case of That Which Grows Wild, I savored every one. Eric J. Guignard excels at the short story, molding each new location with care, and crafting vibrant characters in spite of the short season dedicated to each. With topics varying from spontaneous human combustion to Bigfoot and tones ranging from horrifying to whimsical, under each is a surprising fount of emotion.

Read more at Cats Luv Coffee
Profile Image for Tori.
Author 11 books153 followers
August 15, 2018
That Which Grows Wild is an exceptional collection of deeply moving, often chilling stories, each with their own unique voice that transports the reader into a world only Eric J. Guignard could imagine. My favorites were set in a rustic past ("Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos" and "Momma") and told in such a wonderfully authentic voice I would have been content to stay in that world for the entire collection. But then I wouldn't have been shocked by "Last Night...," "Those Who Watch on High," and "A Serving of Nomu Sashimi." So versatile is Guignard that he even turned a classic fairy tale into a grisly horror with "A Curse and a Kiss" and pulled inspiration from a tragic news story with "A Journey of Great Waves." And just when I thought he had done enough, he entranced me with "Dreams of a Little Suicide." A perfect end to a wildly enjoyable journey.
Profile Image for Ian Welke.
Author 20 books76 followers
August 26, 2018
Eric Guignard knows his way around the short story. Both in editing and writing, he’s consistently involved in the best short story collections and anthologies.

That Which Grows Wild is consistently great. There is so much depth of storytelling here. This is the second collection I’ve read recently where I realized that I’ve read many of the stories before, but found myself rereading them anyway, they’re that good, and reading them in this order, it’s almost like hearing a song you like on the radio, and getting to see how it fits placed onto an album.
Profile Image for Bianca Rose (Belladonnabooks).
732 reviews67 followers
February 18, 2021
This is the second time I have read Eric J. Guignard’s work and to say I am impressed would be an understatement. I am in awe of his writing abilities. Guignard appears to be able to write about anything and somehow has a knack for making it twisted and horrific along the way. This deliciously dark collection ranged from just about everything, from gunslingers, creepy families, grief and loss, Sasquatch legends and the strangest sushi you’ve ever heard of. This was my personal favourite. (A Serving of Nomu Sashami). Trust me, you won’t be able to guess what’s in the sushi. Closely followed in the line up of favourites was ‘Last Days of the Gunslinger.’

I know many short stories collections are hit or miss but I really loved this one and urge other horror readers to pick it up. It’s a great taster into Guignard’s work.

Huge thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Joseph Maddrey.
Author 22 books11 followers
November 27, 2018
This collection begs the question “What is horror?” I’m not going to hazard an answer, except to say this is my kind of horror. It reminds me a lot of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. One story in particular (“Footprints Fading in the Desert”) seems intentionally reminiscent of the 1st season episode “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim.” I’m not suggesting that Guignard’s stories are derivative, only that they are apparently sprouted from the simple-but-effective formula of posing outlandish “what if?” questions within otherwise ordinary worlds.

The opening story—one of the best in the collection—asks “what if global warming accelerated spontaneous combustion?” It’s an intriguing idea, conveyed with a perfect balance of humor and horror.

Another favorite is “Whispers of the Earth,” which could have originated with an everyday news story about a sink hole appearing overnight. There’s a palpable sense of dread, as well as a philosophical quality that elevates the story as a whole.

“The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano and Company” urges readers to look at dust in a new way, and “A Serving of Nomu Sushi” (by far, the wildest story in the collection) has made me look at sushi in a new way.

The strength of several other stories is their rootedness in historical / cultural contexts. “Dreams of a Little Suicide” draws on old Hollywood lore, and one urban legend in particular. “A Journey of Great Waves” rides on the heritage of a culturally-displaced family, and explores the pregnant space between memory and ghosts. “Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos” is another favorite—not just because I’m a sucker for weird westerns, but because the storytelling is so cinematic.

There are a few weaker stories in the collection—ones where the endings feel like foregone conclusions—but Guignard’s work as a whole is beautifully strange. He is a diligent wordsmith with a compelling curiosity about this world, and others.
Profile Image for David Agranoff.
Author 23 books149 followers
October 7, 2018
Full review coming soon, excellent collection of traditional horror short stories. My favorites included "footprints Fading in the Dessert," and the Western story "Last days of the Gunslinger." Guignard is a excellent writer, I was already a fan of his editing work and glad to check it out.
Profile Image for David Anderson.
14 reviews
November 2, 2020
THAT WHICH GROWS WILD renews my faith in well-written, entertaining collections of short stories! Great book all around, 16 tales of the weird, scary, beautiful, and a range of other emotions. All the stories are unique, different samples of the author's imagination. Good recommendation for this, especially "Certain Sights of an Afflicted Woman," which rings true for today; "Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos" (weird western, cowboys vs monsters); and "Dreams of a Little Suicide", heartbreaking tale of a good character turned monstrous.
Profile Image for Laura.
440 reviews26 followers
July 6, 2019
This has to be one of the best short story collections I have read. Each story felt complete, yet at the same time, leaving you wanting more.

The beauty and the beast retelling was just so funny, not that the story in itself was funny but the fact the Author turned it into the start of the zombie apocalypse.

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the Author. Does not affect my review)
Profile Image for Edward J.M.J..
Author 4 books3 followers
September 10, 2020
–>I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review.<–

This a well written dark fiction and horror collection. The stories are incredibly varied and I love it when these collections have little to no repetition like this one. They were all pretty original to me and had a lot of violence and gore, as well as great characters and meaningful moments.

"A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love", the Earth is heated up from global warming and sometimes people spontaneously combust, or as the people in this story call it, fireball, which sounds so much cooler. The author wordplays with this 'fireballing' quite a bit, my favorite being the remark about people heating up and popping like popcorn. Gave me quite the visual.

Also, mankind somewhat reverts back into smaller nomadic tribes, and often wars with one another in competition for dwindling supplies. In this terrible world, a young teenager comes to age and finds himself and it's quite moving despite how messed up everything is.

"A Serving of Nomu Sashimi" is about a salesman invited to a special restaurant with his high scoring coworkers, who let him in on the secret of their success. I won't spoil what that is, but oh man this story. I imagine this one would be the attention grabber and the one people remember the most. It's so dark and imaginative and that ending... This is one of those stories you want to talk about but can't cause you'll ruin the fun.

"Those Who Watch From On High", the last one I'll pick out was my favorite. We follow Bruce, a drone operator in the military. He is tasked with watching the same patches of the Afhaghni desert for twelve-hour shifts and his job is mind-numbing and boring. Until of course, he is ordered to pull the trigger on a target there. He hates his job, and his commanding officer and his inner dialogue and insights about everything were excellent.

He watches a little boy, who he continually remarks on having perfect teeth. You find out his backstory, and why he becomes so fixated on this boy, and everything is so perfectly paced and revealed to the reader I thought. Such a great story about a man losing his mind to past trauma.

Well, I could be here writing about this one all day. There are sixteen stories and so much going on in each one. There's also a gunslinger battling alien creatures, a Beauty and the Beast like story, only the prince becomes an undead creature that craves flesh, even one about a grandfather telling his grandson about the time he and his hunting buddies encountered and fought Bigfoot...

Just a great collection, and with the varied plots, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The author had a lot of ideas and pulled them all off in my opinion. If you like dark fiction, horror, and short stories, this one is a must-read.
Profile Image for Heather Miller.
Author 2 books75 followers
September 1, 2021
The problem with most short stories is that you don't get to live in the story long enough to get really invested in it.

Not so, if those stories are written by Eric Guignard.

His writing style is such that you will get sucked deep into the stories without even realizing it, and finishing each one is like waking up from a dream, or like that moment when you walk out of a darkened movie theater and the real world takes you by surprise. Yes, like that, that deep.

This collection showcases, as does all his other writing, Guignard's intelligence and imagination. From monstrous creatures to mobsters, sci-fi to folk horror to dark contemporary fantasy, from cryptids to fairy tales to classic Hollywood mythology, he writes everything with style and wit, with emotion and action and an underlying current of darkness.

An excellent, excellent collection.
Profile Image for The Horror Club.
17 reviews11 followers
November 20, 2018
*3 and 1/2 out of 5*

Short Story Collections can be tricky. The author must find a perfect balance with each story, and in a way, each of them must complement one another. That Which Grows Wild offers us sixteen tales, each unique in their own way, of dark and wild fiction.

Eric J. Guignard is no doubt a talented writer, backed up with compelling ideas that he transfers on the page quite well. However, he also lets himself down a bit. Guignard falls into the trap of holding the reader by the hand, often seen in debut works. This isn’t to say that he does it in every story, but only the ones that are the longer form. There is the need to give every bit of detail, which is evident in the first story, A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love. The story has an interesting approach, a clever idea, but the exposition throughout kills the flow, making it for a frustrating read because Guignard has done everything else right.

However, this isn’t the case with all the stories. Where the stories, and Guignard himself, shines through is those in shorter form. Taking Momma for example, he doesn’t leave room for exposition and, as a result, the story flows effortlessly; and this is further backed up with the other shorter stories. They keep your eyes glued to the page, and before you know it, the story is over.

Sometimes frustrating, sometimes brilliant, Guignard’s debut collection is no doubt full of great stories; but some others are let down by the need to guide the reader, which brings the old-age quote: make the reader do the work.
Profile Image for Julia Lewis.
Author 13 books42 followers
July 6, 2020
They say: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, maybe sometimes you should do just that. 

When Eric J. Guignard asked me if I wanted to review one of his books, I went to his prior publications, and immediately had my eyes on That Which Grows Wild. I couldn’t get over this beautiful and gloomy cover. 

Let me also say, this cover did not disappoint. Guignard gives us 16 tales of dark fiction, and I loved so many of them. As with all short story collections, you will find some you don’t care for, some you like, and some you just straight up love.

I won’t give summaries and opinions on all of them, that would take pages and pages. But there is really something for everyone here. 

We have Footprints Fading in the Desert, the tale of a woman whose plane crashed and left her stranded in the desert. Then there is A Curse and a Kiss, a dark and creepy fairy tale. A Serving of Nomu Sashimi, is one bizarre story about a salesman, who just wants to fit in with his colleagues.

I truly enjoyed this collection of stories, as they were all unique!

I received a copy of this book from the author  in exchange for an honest review. 
Profile Image for Jonathan Stewart.
65 reviews4 followers
April 9, 2021
THAT WHICH GROWS WILD (another great Cemetery Dance release) is author Eric J. Guignard’s first collection of short stories, which are cultivated reprints from the many (upward of a hundred, per bio) he has published over the past several years. A wonderfully gripping smorgasboard of settings, characters, stories, all written in a voice that is gorgeous and affective. There are 16 stories and every one is good in its own way, which by the end left me wishing for more. Favorites were THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, FOREVER (a bleak old view of opium addiction through reincarnation, all the while set to the famous same-named ballad), THE INVETERATE ESTABLISHMENT OF DADDANO & CO. (an undertaker seeking revenge against gangsters with the help of a certain monster created just for this tale—and what an idea!), and LAST DAYS OF THE GUNSLINGER, JOHN AMOS (an action-packed tale of a cowboy sharp-shooter and his adopted kids vs. aliens during a flood).
Profile Image for Stephen.
9 reviews2 followers
November 12, 2018
***1/2 out of ***** (Reviewed for my blog, The Horror Club)

Short Story Collections can be tricky. The author must find a perfect balance with each story, and in a way, each of them must complement each other. That Which Grows Wild offers us sixteen tales, each unique in their own way, of dark and wild fiction.

Eric J. Guignard is no doubt a talented writer, backed up with compelling ideas that he transfers on the page quite well. However, he also lets himself down a bit. Guignard falls into the trap of holding the reader by the hand, often seen in debut works. This isn’t to say that he does it in every story, but only the ones that are the longer form. There is the need to give every bit of detail, which is evident in the first story, A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love. The story has an interesting approach, a clever idea, but the exposition throughout kills the flow, making it for a frustrating read because Guignard has done everything else right.

However, this isn’t the case with all the stories. Where the stories, and Guignard himself, shines through is those in shorter for,. Taking Momma for example, he doesn’t leave room for exposition and, as a result, the story flows effortlessly; and this is further backed up with the other shorter stories. They keep your eyes glued to the page, and before you know it, the story is over.

Sometimes frustrating, sometimes brilliant, Guignard’s debut collection is no doubt full of great stories; but some others are let down by the need to guide the reader, which brings the old-age quote: make the reader do the work.
Profile Image for Audra (ouija.reads).
741 reviews258 followers
July 1, 2019
This story collection is all over the map! From a unique blend of “Beauty and the Beast” and zombies to a monster tale of the wild west to a post-apocalyptic love ode to a story that will have me second-guessing sushi for the rest of eternity, Guignard has more than just horror up his sleeve (as though that idea isn’t scary enough!).

What I love about reading short story collections is seeing the reaches that a writer will stretch to, places they’ll go that a novel would never take them, and Guignard is not afraid to take a look in all those weird and dark corners.

For me, most of the stories were 3 or 4 stars. I liked them and was drawn in by their originality but was sometimes underwhelmed by the style.

I’m glad I got the chance to read these stories and feel they would appeal to a wide audience of speculative fiction readers. I’m interested to see what the author does next.

My thanks to Dark Moon Books for my copy of this one to read and review.
Profile Image for Lee-ann Oleski.
135 reviews14 followers
February 5, 2021
𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝙂𝙧𝙤𝙬𝙨 𝙒𝙞𝙡𝙙

This was my first introduction to Eric’s work and I was definitely not disappointed! Nothing better defines a writer than a collection of short stories. It’s like taking a road trip thru the authors mind, each story a different pit stop on the way, each place on the map different and unique.

I will highlight a few of my favorite stories:

𝗟𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗗𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝘂𝗻𝘀𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿, 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻 𝗔𝗺𝗼𝘀- This little horror/Sci-Fi/western mash up was about a gunslinger named John who took on a bunch of insect like creatures called Hoppers. The hoppers have taken over and he will do anything to save the 5 kids he has adopted as his own before a new batch of Hopper eggs hatch. This one tugged at the heart strings a bit 😳.

𝗟𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗡𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁- “𝘐 𝘴𝘭𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘭 𝘩𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘸𝘴 𝘸𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘮𝘦, 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯”

Werewolves that only came out once a month are coming out every night, the moon now a constant fixture in the sky. A man, tormented with what his life has become, has to decide to keep fighting or give in to the madness he can’t escape.
What a cool take on a werewolf tale. Disturbing, animalistic, and downright gut wrenching! I could feel the main characters pain 😫.

𝗔 𝗖𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗔 𝗞𝗶𝘀𝘀- “𝘏𝘪𝘴 𝘫𝘢𝘸 𝘥𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘵 𝘢 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘰𝘢𝘯, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘴𝘢𝘸 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘩. 𝘐𝘵 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘤𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘯 ����𝘧 𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘳𝘴, 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘬𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘨𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘣𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘴𝘭𝘶𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘰𝘵𝘴”

What a dark and twisted retelling of Beauty and the Beast! I absolutely loved it! I don’t want to give away details because you just need to experience it for yourself 😁. It was deliciously gory and frightfully fantastic all at the same time!

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗘𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗗𝗮𝗱𝗱𝗮𝗻𝗼 & 𝗖𝗼.- A young boy working for the family business at a funeral home gets to go out on a call. The business caters to members of the mob and what the boy witnesses is something no one would ever believe.... This one was to die for 😂.

If your looking for stories with happy endings, then this is not the collection for you. If your looking for stories of revenge, grief and deadly gnomes seasoned with originality... well then this IS the collection for you 😁. Horror and dark fantasy fans alike should give this book a shot!

I give That Which Grows Wild ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ /5
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews

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