Cracking review for The Route Book at Bedtime from The Short Review
‘The Route Book at Bedtime is the twenty-second instalment in Route Publishing’s series of contemporary short story collections: a slick presentation containing twelve stories which all take place at one of life’s threshold moments, in the liminal world between life and death, innocence and experience, love and loss. It is bedtime reading, and, in a way, the thread which pulls through all of the stories is that they are adult versions of the fairy tales which we’ve used to explain the world to children as we tuck them up under the duvet and kiss them on the forehead. These adult fairy tales feature bat caves and Snow White, skipping, dancing and coping with baldness. But there’s a darker side too; violence and death lurk in the background ready to strike, be it in the form of braining sheep with rocks taken from a dry stone wall or the death of a father.
Where the anthology really succeeds (and where many fall down) is in keeping an even tone throughout. Of course, this is due in no small part to the quality of the writing, but it also has a lot to do with editorial choice. There are no sleeping pills here; finish one of this dreamscape of stories, and the temptation is to move straight on to the next, perhaps pausing to set the alarm clock for just that little bit later in the morning.’