David’s Haunted Library: The Beauty Of Death

David's Haunted Library

30732852There are a lot of horror anthologies out there and it’s not always easy to find one that you think you would like. That being said sometimes you find a horror anthology that when you see it you know you can’t go wrong. The Beauty Of Death: The Gargantuan Book of Horror Tales is that book. Edited by Alessandro Manzetti, this book includes stories by such great horror authors as Tim Waggoner, John Skipp, Poppy Z Brite, Peter Straub and many more. This is one mammoth collection that all horror fans should have.

One of my favorite stories in this collection is Carly Is Dead by Shane McKenzie. This story is told from the viewpoint of a rotting corpse in a field who is being eaten by the forest animals but is still aware of what’s going on. Who would have thought you could have sympathy for a corpse. Another good hard-core gore story is White Trash Gothic by Edward Lee. This one has to do with an author who gets amnesia due to a traumatic event and he travels to where he wrote his last book to find out what happened. I loved how Mr. Lee makes you feel compassion for the author and then throws him into a bizarre situation that will make you fear going to a small town.

Another one of my favorites was Calcutta, Lord Of Nerves by Poppy Z. Brite. This one is about a boy born in Calcutta, he is moved to America but returns after his father dies and the zombie apocalypse starts. In Calcutta things are so bad it’s hard to tell the poor people from the zombies and weird things happen as we find out that the zombies may be worshiping an old God. My favorite scene in the book is when the lead character excepts that zombies are just part of the world now and he doesn’t think they’re that bad.

It’s really hard to pick favorites in this book and if I wrote about each story here this review would be a book in itself. Other stories that stood out for me were The Office by Kevin Lucia which is a psychological horror story about a  man who relives his life through his favorite place, his office. Another one is No Place Like Home by JG Faherty which follows a man who bought a haunted house that changes his life for the better. Things get bloody though when someone tries to get him to give it up. In The Garden is one by Lisa Morton that really got to me. In this one a woman lives in a house and is taking care of her crippled brother when something in her garden causes him to get better, I loved how Lisa made you feel compassion for the lead character and then hits you with a shock ending.

The Beauty Of Death deserves a spot on every horror fans book shelf. When I first saw it I knew I had to have it and I wasn’t disappointed. This book reminded me of The Year’s Best Horror anthologies that come out each year, but The Beauty Of Death has more to offer. Every story here has the anatomy of a good horror story and focuses on characters dealing with their worst fears and considering its length it will keep you scared and reading for a long time.

 

 

Advertisements

Gothic Blue Book and The Cemetery Club

If you like horror stories that are short and sweet you should check out Gothic Blue Book The Haunted Edition from Burial Day books . This is a collection of 12 short horror stories and two poems edited by Cynthia and Gerardo Pelayo. This anthology honors the gothic story and includes old ghost stories and tales of misery, fear, despair, regret and dread. This collection would make Edgar Allan Poe proud. Don’t expect a lot of happy endings in this book.

Gothic Blue Book: The Haunted Edition is a tribute to the Gothic blue Books that came out in the late 18th and 19th century. These books included several short stories and were between 36 and 72 pages long. They were very cheap and not well liked by literary critics; despite that they were very popular.

When I started reading Gothic Blue Book, I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but there were quite a few good stories in the book. The first story is a poem which sets the mood for the whole book. Its by Helena Marie Carnes Jeffries and called The Beach House. It describes the emotional state of a woman who has just found out her husband is cheating on her. The depressed woman is walking on a beach and sees a very familiar looking woman in an abandoned beach house. Thinking the woman needs help she decides to go inside but doesn’t like what she finds, but maybe it was what she was looking for. I loved how the woman’s thoughts we’re described in this poem and how well written it was.

Another good story in this anthology was The Tapping by John Everson. This one was about three men who make a bet on who can be the first one to retrieve a skeleton’s hand from a graveyard so they can use it in a prank. This story was the kind of story I love to read as a horror fan. The way the graveyard is described and the main character’s fear as he starts to think he is not alone in the crypt are what horror is all about. Three men in an old graveyard digging up corpses on  a windy cold Halloween night in an attempt to scare a co worker. What can be more fun than that and of course nothing can go wrong when you disturb the dead. right?

Some other good stories in this collection include The Realtor, which tells the tale of a salesman trying to make a quota by creating a few urban legend. This one had me feeling sorry for the Realtor but also hoping his victim didn’t die. I also liked Where The Fault Lies by Greg Mollin and The Squatter by M.N. Hanson. Both are great ghost stories with very different moods and endings.

My favorite story in Gothic Blue Book was The Gravedigger by Cynthia Pelayo. It tells the story of a woman named Madeline who just doesn’t fit into society but tries to make everyone around her happy. When she finds out that someone has been using her, she decides to get her revenge by reenacting a death scene which is a  tribute to a very famous horror author. Madeline is a character that if you’ve ever felt like an outsider you will be able to relate to and I would like to see some longer stories with her in it. I highly recommend Gothic Blue Book The Haunted Edition and you will find it for 99 cents on amazon. So what are you waiting for, go get it.

The next book I want to talk about is from Journalstone publishing called The Cemetery Club by JG Faherty. The story is about four 16 year old kids who hang out in the Cemetery and call themselves The Cemetery Club. One day they accidentally unleash an ancient evil in the form of small monsters that look like aliens on the small town of Rocky Point. These creatures are vicious and spread their evil by climbing inside people’s mouths and turning them into zombies. The four kids defeat the evil but one member of the club spends 20 years in an insane asylum while another becomes an alcoholic. Now 20 years later, the evil has returned and only The Cemetery Club can stop it.

While I really did enjoy this story I do have to say that most of what is written in The Cemetery Club has been done and redone in several other novels. One book it reminded me of was Stephen King’s It. Even though the story will seem familiar to you this book is still well worth your time. All of the action scenes are well done. I also loved how the cemetery is described and how the creatures are described. The atmosphere in this book is spooky and stories about evil in a small town just never gets old.

My favorite part of the story is how JG Faherty presents the relationship between the four members of The Cemetery Club. You get to know them as teenagers and then you get to see them become very different people as 36 year olds. Despite there different paths in life and the fact that they haven’t talked to each other in years when there is trouble you see them come together and show that they never stopped being friends despite the passage of time.

The character with the most interesting story in this book was Todd. The idea of him coming home after 20 years in the mental hospital and trying to lead a normal life appealed to me and I felt a lot of sympathy for him.  I think JG Faherty was using Todd to make a point about how horribly people with mental health issues get treated.  The author describes quite a bit of illegal testing on the mental hospital’s patients and makes a point about how horribly humans treat other humans. This sets The Cemetery Club apart from other novels with similar stories and makes it a great book.