5 Star Reads, Book Reviews

Review: Milk Blood Head by Dantiel W. Moniz

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My first read of 2023 did not disappoint. This deeply emotional collection of stories feels so real and connected to the highs and lows of everyday life.

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz is a short story collection that dives into the minds and lives of Floridians of all ages. There’s a recurring thread of darkness through each of the stories as Moniz explores topics such as death, grief, and intergenerational trauma. Moniz characterizes Northern Florida as a world of blue dyed ponds, late night bars, kids playing outdoors, and families living and growing.

Moniz opens with the titular story Milk Blood Heat” where two teenage girls take a blood oath and discuss their own fascinations with death. From there, the stories shift to different unrelated perspectives and move to new settings in North Florida. Each story explores the complexity of human relationships and how darkness complicates them.

I was moved by these powerful short stories. They left me with this feeling that the other horrible shoe was about to drop, and on many occasions Moniz subverted my expectations. Moniz dives into characters with ease and in just ten pages I felt so immersed ini the worlds of every unique short story.

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