Having been totally knocked out by Demmer's THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER, (it was my favorite collection of 2019), I jumped at the chance to read his latest, DARK CELEBRATIONS. I don't regret it for an instant!
In this volume, which tells tales of celebrations and/or holidays from around the world, I found a wide variety on offer, and most of them worked well for me. My favorites were:
THREE DEAD MEN captivated me because it went nowhere near where I thought it was going. Think Kill Bill with mummies. That's right...mummies!
SPRING OUTBREAK was another tale that ran in the opposite from my preconceived notions. Picture spring break with zombies. That's right...zombies!
PROM SCREAMS had me thinking the main character was a real jerk and that he should just own up to what happened. I also found myself thinking about Charlene ,(Charlie), McGee and what could have happened to her later in life. (If you don't know who she is, look her up!) This story lead to so many different thoughts, I have to leave it there. I dug this one a lot!
UNIDENTIFIED FATHERLY OBJECT had cool ties to the earlier stories and that I enjoyed. It was a bit out there, (I WANT TO BELIEVE), just as the title suggests.
INDEPENDENCE DENIED: I was captivated because of its Lovecraftian feel. In the times we're in now, I wouldn't be surprised at all if natural disasters started to surge. It seems like that would be a perfect fit for the apocalyptic-feeling with which COVID19 has blanketed us. At the same time, this tale was entertaining enough to make me forget about that for a while and I'm thankful to Mr. Demmer for the brief escape.
The only reservation I had with this collection is that the first few stories didn't pique my interest as much as the later ones did. That could be because, admittedly, my expectations were high. It all worked out though, as for me, the stories got better and better until the phenomenal last act of INDEPENDENCE DENIED.
Once again Calvin Demmer wows us with a set of tales that are thoughtful, dark, sometimes funny, sometimes gory, and sometimes homages to H.P. himself. Once again, I found myself enthralled, most especially in the later stories, and I was happy to turn myself over to be thoroughly entertained.
Get your copy here: DARK CELEBRATIONS
*Thank you to Calvin Demmer for the paperback in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* (less)