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The Scent of Decay (2021) by Madison Estes – Short Story Review

Featured YouTuber Image of Madison Estes.

For those of you who don’t know Madison Estes, you’ve been missing out. She’s super multi-talented: Author, Creative Writing Instructor and BookTuber. Find out more about her by reading her interview as YouTuber of the Month for April 2021 by clicking here or on the image on the left.

The Scent of Decay (Short Story Review)

Originally featured in the 13th Volume of the horror anthology series Night Terrors edited and published by Scare Street, The Scent of Decay follows a guy who is haunted by the smell of his ex-girlfriend’s corpse after he kills her.

The Scent of Decay (2021) is a short supernatural horror-story written by Madison Estes around the events that follow after an argument between a couple ends up going horribly wrong. The tale is short and sweet, which makes it perfect to read in one sitting. Although the plot itself isn’t anything special, the effective writing, perfect pacing and a clever ending make it a very satisfying read.

The plotline in the story is very simple and as a result there isn’t much unique about it which at times makes it seem slightly cliche (I’m looking at you creepy voice on the phone). You can pretty much surmise how things will progress throughout after a few pages. Additionally, a nitpick I have with the story was with the character Josh. I felt he was a little underutilized and that a bit more detail about his relationship with the main characters could have allowed there to be a better understanding of their emotions. The relationship between the couple also doesn’t entirely add up, because again, a lack of detail makes it a little hard to relate to them and fully understand their situation.

One of my favorite book reviews on Madison Estes’ YouTube Channel. She really dissects the plot expertly, compares the adaptation to the original, and that too in a short span of time. What’s more? She separates her reviews into two halves: Spoiler and Non-Spoiler. Her intros are one-of-a-kind as well where she often roleplays as one of the characters of the content she is reviewing.

The writing in the story is topnotch and to the point. There is no unnecessary amount of detail when it comes to description and the language is simple, which ensures that the story flows at a very good pace. It gets you hooked from the start, which is why I found myself unable to stop reading it until the very end. I was impressed by the author’s vocabulary use, especially in relation to the smells and how she was able to make me picture them in various ways, which also ends up doing a lot of justice to the title of the story. Her writing was even able to salvage a lot of predictability in the story, like for example, while the creepy voice on the phone was cliche, it still had me anxious and this was all due to how well she wrote the scene. The very clever ending just caps it off, tying up the story brilliantly and she does this just by subtly bringing up a little detail which I won’t spoil.

Overall, if you’re looking for a brilliantly written and quick read, then I would definitely recommend this story. However, you won’t find anything new or different from this tale.

Other Short Story Reviews

The Discontinued (2021) by Jessica Stevens

The Grownup (2015) by Gillian Flynn

Kindle Cover of the horror anthology series Night Terrors edited and published by Scare Street.

If you liked my review of The Scent of Decay don’t forget to grab a copy of Night Terrors Volume 3 by clicking here or on the awesome Kindle Edition cover on the left.

Nisar Sufi
Nisar Sufi
Content Writer, Indie Horror Author, Book Reviewer, Film Critic and Fortune Teller @knowthyfuture
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