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Various States of Decay

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  20 reviews
From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of What Do Monsters Fear? and A Penny For Your Thoughts come twenty new tales of terror!

Including the Irish Short Story of the Year-nominated 'Intercepting Aisle Nine.'

From a white doomsday crawling with abominable beasts to the bizarre case of a marketing company advertising within people's dreams, these stories explore the
ebook, 290 pages
Published December 15th 2019 by Poltergeist Press
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
From the foreword by Kelli Owen to the last words of the last story, Father's Day, Matt Hayward's short story collection is a testament to his unique imagination and chameleon-like versatility. A wide range of voices, subjects and emotional wreckage in these pages- each story reads like the best of the bunch. Full review coming to Cemetery Dance soon!
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Various Stages of Decay we are presented with 20 short stories by Matt Hayward. This collection contains many different stories that show that the author is not content to write about limited subjects or write in a specific style. I found each of these stories different from each other and all were very interesting and enjoyable. Most of the stories had elements of horror in them but some also had fantasy settings. Overall these stories show a writer who is confident in his abilities. These ...more
Michael Hicks
My review of VARIOUS STATES OF DECAY can be found at High Fever Books.

Shamefully, I’ve only read a very small portion of Matt Hayward’s output, but what little I have read has been more than enough to convince me that I need to buckle down and get to his back-list posthaste. The nice thing about a short story collection is that it can give you a number of lovely samples of an author’s style and works in pretty quick order, and if Various States of Decay proves anything, it’s that Hayward’s Bram
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you’ve been following my book-related posts and reviews, you might’ve noticed that short story collections and anthologies have been taking up more space on my shelves lately. I love a good novel, but I feel there’s something special about a collection of short fiction. It showcases not only what an author can do with fewer words, but also gives the reader a taste of the author’s range.

Matt Hayward is gifted with a vast imagination and a natural talent for storytelling. VARIOUS STATES OF
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book! I’m usually not a big fan of short stories and prefer full length novels. However, Matt’s way of writing each story has a way of pulling you in every time and making you love short stories as much as novels. There are several in this book that made me sad to not be able to continue reading their specific story like Rodent in the Red Room, More Will Follow, Comes With The Rain and Knock, Knock. I love when an author writes in a way that you literally have no idea where the story ...more
Tracy Robinson
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-wishlist
In her foreword, Kelli Owen states that “writing is more than the idea, it’s the execution, and Matt has successfully bridged the chasm between”, and I cannot agree more. I came to this collection fresh on the heels of three consecutive short story books, and I needed a break. While I love a great short story, I crave the long envelopment of novels and novellas. But this is from Matt Hayward, an author whose work I have truly come to enjoy. I’m glad I didn’t take that break because I found some ...more
Aiden Merchant
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review coming soon to ...

"Hayward had me glued to the page...his expert writing and variety in style kept things fresh and enticing throughout...the hype surrounding this author is well-earned."
Steve Stred
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

I’ll admit, I’ve only read ‘The Faithful’ previously by Matt Hayward, but have ‘The Practitioners’ (written with Patrick Lacey) and ‘What Do Monsters Fear?’ on my Kindle.

Saying that – ‘The Faithful’ was one of my favourite reads last year, so when he offered up a review eARC of his latest ‘Various States of Decay’ I couldn’t pass.

Inside you’ll find 19 sublime stories that run the gamut of what we’ve come to love about horror. We have thrills,
Kim Napolitano
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart stopping collection!

I can’t say enough how much enjoyed this book, terrifying, heartbreaking, sweet and with some creatures thrown in (a baby dinosaur anyone?) Something for everyone, there isn’t one story less then a 5 stars in here. The last story in the book just about killed me. This collection deserves every award that it can gather and you’d be remiss not putting this on the top of your TBR list. Other reviewers will do a story by story break down so search them out. What I can say
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Various States of Decay was something else. I’ve already got nothing but amazing things to say about Hayward’s work and this is no different. It’s the kind of material that sits in the back of your mind to make you rethink everyday things, like cleaning between your couch cushions or catching your everyday transportation. I couldn’t recommend him anymore than I already do but I will say this, go out and get this book NOW, you won’t regret it. Even if you haven’t read him before, I don’t think ...more
Yvonne (go.for.a.walk.chuma)
Excellent Collection

Mit Anthologien ist das immer so eine Sache … von gut bis mäßig ist oftmals alles dabei, ein Querschnitt des Könnens eines Autors, vergleichbar mit einem Scribble – ein bunter Strauß voller Überraschungen eben. Bei »Various States of Decay« fallen diese Überraschungen allerdings durchweg positiv aus, was bei 20 Geschichten (und ich habe jede einzelne davon genossen!) eine echte Glanzleistung darstellt.

Bereits mit »Brain Dead Blues« konnte mich der für den Bram Stoker Award
John Lynch
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Various States of Decay is the latest release from Matt Hayward. A collection of 20 short stories, If you’re like myself and this is your first Hayward then it’s an excellent place to start, if it’s not your first, I imagine you have an idea what to expect.

I really enjoyed this collection a lot, technically I’ve rated it lower than other ones I’ve read recently, but that’s because I’m trying to be more selective about how I rate things. I really enjoyed most of the stories in here. The
Suz Jay
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
This collection contains twenty horror short stories by Matt Hayward, co-author of the phenomenal novel A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS, and a great introduction from Kelli Owen, which coins the phrase “conveyer belt story. “

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My favorites in the collection are as follows:
In “Intercepting Aisle Nine,” Ronald is compelled to make a late night convenience store run and discovers something more concerning
Wayne Fenlon
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each Short Story Better Than The Last

A great collection that seems to get better as it goes on.
I loved it.
First class writing. Tight and concise.
I feel like there's been a lot of hard work put into this to make it as good as it is.
I also think there's a story here for every horror fan and everyone will no doubt have their favourite.
Mine was MUTT.
Highly recommended.
A fantastic book to finish off my year.
Mary J. Anderson
Excellent collection

There's so much great indie horror out there right now, but this author is heads above the crowd. Beautiful prose and really creepy stories, with a splash of gore here and there. I could compare him to other fantastic, more well known writers, but I won't. His work is as good, if not better than theirs. It shines on its own merit. Pick this one up, horror fans. You won't regret it.
Noelle Kelly
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’d first come across Matt’s writing in the wonderful Crystal Lake Publishing anthologies. His stories never disappoint for me. The collection opens with a foreward from Kelli Owen and an introduction by the author, foreshadowing what is in store for the reader. There are 20 stories, all vivid and well-written. They will suck you into their world. There’s even a festive tale in the mix.
The collection opens with ‘Intercepting Aisle Nine’ , a quirky supermarket tale that grows in dread as the
D.K. Hundt
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Various States of Decay is a collection of short fiction written by Bram Stoker Award-Nominated Author Matt Hayward and is the second book that I have read by him, the first being A Penny For Your Thoughts; co-written with Robert Ford. Both books I highly recommend!

I love the foreword provided by Kelli Owen at the beginning of Various States of Decay, wherein she describes Hayward as the ‘conveyor belt man’ in reference to his storytelling abilities, and I couldn’t agree more. Sorry, no
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Various States of Decayis a generously thick volume of stories that explore the nature of fear and what it’s like to have your reality turned absolutely upside down. With universal themes of loss, confusion, and the naïve belief that reality is fixed and immutable, Hayward’s writing brings the reader down inexorable paths to devastating ends. For such a long collection I can’t say that there was a miss in the lot, and I’d highly
Kallie (pageandparlor) Lou Weisgarber
In Various States of Decay, Matt Hayward shows off his imagination and his ability to turn massive concepts into solid short stories. Kelli Owen's introduction was beautiful and it was a great way to start off this collection. I find often that short stories have a hard time with character development and pacing due to the lack of space to do so. It's simple; the shorter the story, the less time to build these things up the right way. However, Hayward has a knack for setting up his characters ...more
If you’re looking for hope within the stories in Matt Hayward’s collection Various States of Decay, you will be disappointed. Few, if any, of these protagonists are heroes. Not many of them can even be called likable, yet Hayward’s fantastic writing grips the reader all the same, drawing them deep into these tales and the situations a variety of different characters find themselves in.

Full review at Dead Head Reviews
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Matt Hayward is a Bram Stoker Award-nominated author and musician from Wicklow, Ireland. His books include Brain Dead Blues, What Do Monsters Fear?, Practitioners (with Patrick Lacey), The Faithful, and A Penny For Your Thoughts (with Robert Ford). He compiled the award-winning anthology Welcome To The Show and wrote the comic book This Is How It Ends (now a music video) for the band Walking ...more