Under the Covers books section: short stories big on thrills

Under the Covers books section: short stories big on thrills

By Carolyn Thomas

Those who find the lead up to Christmas all rather too saccharine may be delighted to lose themselves in the latest collection of creepy tales of terror and paranoia by local author Oli Jacobs.

His newest nine short horror stories, wrapped up in a volume called Sertraline Dreams, reveal dark family secrets, strange events in space, layers in reality and an irresistible spice. 

All these grotesquely nightmarish imaginings are conjured up in Shirley, Southampton, where Oli has lived since returning to to the city in 2019 after 16 years away. He spent his childhood in Hamble where he lived until going to university in Buckinghamshire in 2003.  

Since embarking on a writing career in 2012, Oli has made a name for himself in the horror world, publishing 23 books including Station 17, Deep Down There, and Wrath of the Land.  Initially inspired by the works of Stephen King and HP Lovecraft, Oli first concentrated on short stories and comic sci-fi until, finding that his scarier tales were the most popular, he began specialising in horror. This change of direction led to his most successful title to date, Wilthaven, which was a finalist in the 2021 Book Bloggers Novel of the Year competition, and highly praised by a wide range of book reviewers. His work has been described as ‘scary’, ‘genius’, and ‘delightfully unsettling’

“Since first publishing a collection of short stories called Sunshine & Lollipops, I’ve been doing my best to unleash upon the poor reading public my own particular brand of literary monstrosities,” Oli told In Common

“I will confess that certain Hampshire locations make their way into my work. Being a fan of horrors set in small towns, places like Hamble and Netley have been used as inspiration, as well as locations such as Southampton Common and the Itchen Bridge. While I try not to use real life places by name, I do try to utilise them via more historical names, for example, Hamelea instead of Hamble.”

But while readers may have fun spotting the Hampshire locations in Oli’s books, they are far less likely to spot the author himself.

“It is a bit of a quirk of mine to hide my face from my writing work,” said Oli when questioned about his mysterious profile picture. His other trademark is his sign off, which we’ll use here  ‘… As always, he hopes you enjoy…’


Click here to find Sertraline Dreams on Amazon.

Photo by Rok Romi.


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