I’ve been reading horror for a long time. When you read one genre long enough you see certain ideas done over and over again and you run across some bad stories. It seems like every time I start to get tired of reading horror, an author comes along that reminds me why I love this genre. Vaudeville by Greg Chapman is a horror novella that will have you screaming for more.
Anthony Moore is a lonely kid, his father hung himself in the woods a year ago and Anthony’s whole world fell apart. Kids at school don’t talk to him, his mother has become an alcoholic and all the townspeople look at him with pity. One day when he is visiting the place where his father killed himself, he is approached by four demons out for vengeance.
They call themselves The All-American Traveling Troubadours and they have a disturbing tale to tell. They also know what really happened to Anthony’s father. The Troubadours haven’t performed since The Civil War, but they’re looking to do one last show. The price for the show and in order to get his dad back, Anthony has to bring them four young souls.
Vaudeville is a great horror story that touches on themes of sorrow, alienation and loss. Greg Chapman does an excellent job of making every character in this story sympathetic, even the demons. Even though they demonstrate how evil they are, you feel sorry for them when you hear the tale of how they got became what they are. I also liked how Anthony’s mother was portrayed, she is a person at conflict with herself and I liked the changes she went through at the end.
Greg really brought the scenes and settings to life. The way everything is described was like a painting and I felt like I was in the middle of it. The action scenes were great, the characters are deep and there are some frightening moments. My only complaint was that I wish it was longer.I’m a big fan of stories that have traveling shows in them and Vaudeville did not disappoint.
Another novella by Greg Chapman is Torment. Jessica Newman has just found out that she has inherited her father’s Scottish Mansion. She leaves America with her son and husband to Scotland in hopes of selling the mansion and putting her past behind her once and for all. Her father was a Catholic Deacon and when Sarah was young he was found guilty of killing her mother while performing an exorcism on her. Going to Scotland brings back some haunting memories for Sarah and in the basement of the mansion lies something evil that will change everything that Sarah believes.
Torment is a tale of good versus evil, coming to terms with the past, conquering your fears and having faith. Sarah is a woman who lives in fear and relies on her husband for everything, she has had some horrible things happen to her and has lost her faith. I enjoyed how Sarah changes in the story and I also liked how her son goes from a kid with a bad attitude to trying to be a hero.
Torment is an excellent supernatural horror tale. The atmosphere is spooky and I thought all the characters were excellent. I love the idea of a ghost making contact through an ipod and all the scenes in the basement were chilling. The best part of the story was the battle scene in the cellar at the end, when all truths are revealed. As I was reading it, I kept thinking that this would make an excellent horror movie. No doubt about it Greg Chapman knows how to tell a great horror story.
Also recently I read The Noctuary by Greg Chapman which I think is my favorite of Greg’s works. Simon Ryan is a lost soul and a troubled writer. Things are about to change for Simon because he has unknowingly conjured Meknok, an 8 foot tall dark muse from hell that has plans on using Simon to inspire mankind to a new age of darkness. Now everything that Simon writes comes true and he’s not sure what is real or not.
As a test to see how good of a writer he really is, he goes to hell and meets the other dark muses and is given a chance to rewrite his disturbing and violent past. Everything has a price and things never turn out like you want them to. What Simon writes about may bring him more darkness and despair then he can handle.
The best part of The Noctuary was Simon, he is a character that is in constant conflict. He has become something that he doesn’t want to be, but he is powerless to change it. This doesn’t stop him from trying to change and that is what makes him a great character, you root for him even though you realize he doesn’t have a chance. Towards the end there was a scene I loved where he is contemplating murdering someone and asks himself if he does this will he be like the person who ruined his life? I also liked the relationship between Simon and his sister, one scene in particular that I enjoyed was when their eyes meet for a second right before something tragic happens.
The way Simon writes in the story is beautifully done and had me thinking about the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I also loved the description of hell and hearing about the mythology behind the muses. Greg did a great job with atmosphere in this book and there were some truly terrifying moments in the story. The Noctuary has all the elements to making a perfect horror story. Its stories like this that remind me why horror is my favorite genre and this is a story that all horror fans will enjoy.