Since Biting Dog Press was nice enough to arrange for me to interview Nancy Collins for episode 81 of Horror Addicts, I thought I would write about who they are and what they have to offer. Biting Dog Press is a small independent book publisher that specializes in producing limited edition collectable books and e-books. All of their collectable books are handmade and limited to no more then 300 copies.
One of the collectable books they have includes The Resurrection And The Life by Brian Keene which was limited to 250 signed hardcover copies. The book was produced in the style of a medieval manuscript and tells the tale of a shocking twist from the Book of John. They also have limited edition books from Edgar Allen Poe, Neil Gaiman and Jack Ketchum.
Biting Dog also has quite a few e-books available. Among them is Through Darkest America by Neal Barrett Jr. Which I reviewed earlier in the season and its sequel Dawn’s Uncertain Light. The sequel follows a young man named Howie Ryder as he travels to Silver Island which was meant to be a symbol of how America was recovering after the great war. In reality the island is a concentration camp where genetic engineering is being done and his sister is being held captive.
Some other books from Biting Dog Press includes: The Transformed Mouse by Jack Ketchum which is a fable aimed at adults but not for people that fear mice. Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman which is about an angel who was murdered in heaven before the fall. Then there is Suffer The Flesh by Monica J. O Rourke which tells the tale of a woman named Zoey who was kidnapped in Manhattan and is about to learn what ecstasy and pain is really about.
Another good book that I just finished reading from Biting Dog Press is Knuckles And Tales by Nancy Collins. This is a collection of gothic short stories and novelettes all set in the South. Some of the things you’ll find in this anthology include a half catfish half woman that lives in the Mississippi River, a half alligator half man that attacks fishermen, a traveling sideshow with a snake charmer, a geek that bites the head off of chickens, a voodoo priest who is leading his undead family out for revenge and an old witch who can turn your luck around for a price.
One of my favorite stories in this collection and really there isn’t a bad story in this anthology is Billy Fearless. Billy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and hes not exactly stupid but he does have a tendency to take everything at face value and is immune to fear. Thinking that he is an idiot his father sends him away with some money and tells him to go out into the world, make your fortune and never return. Billy leaves and comes to a little hotel in front of a haunted mansion on a lake. Billy gets dared to spend three nights in the mansion. Several people have been brave enough to enter the mansion but none have lived to tell the tale . Billy is not a normal guy though and the evil spirits that haunt the house may have met their match. I loved how Billy is presented in this story, hes a nice person that wants to help people but because he is a little slow and never scared, people get the wrong idea. The end of the story is hilarious and I loved it when the evil spirit in charge of haunting the mansion confronts Billy. This story teaches that being righteous does have its rewards.
Another great story from Knuckles and Tales is The Two Headed Man. This is kind of a bizarre love story with an equally bizarre sex scene. It all starts when a man shows up at a diner just before it closes, he unzips his coat and the waitress and cook are surprised to see that he has two heads…or does he? I don’t want to tell any more about this story because it would ruin the surprise. What makes this story good is that it teaches that even people who are a little different can find love and never judge a book by its cover. Also the characters were beautifully written, I could relate to all of them and wanted to see them have a happy ending.
Nancy Collins makes the rural south come alive in Knuckles and Tales and I enjoyed the fact that three of the stories uses a traveling carnival and sideshow as its settings. If you like horror with a mix of comedy and old legends then you’ll want to check this one out.