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review 2017-09-25 18:45
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two- edited by James Jenkins & Ryan Cagle
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two - Nevil Shute,Mary Elizabeth Braddon,Michael P. Kube-McDowell

 

Once again, the gentlemen over at Valancourt Books knocked their anthology out of the park-maybe even out of the state! Last year's Volume 1, (click to read my review), was outstanding and Volume 2 is as well. My favorites of this volume are as follows:

 

Stephen Gregory's never before published: "The Boys Who Wouldn't Wake Up" was poignant and, in a way, beautiful. It was also very much unlike any other Gregory story I've read. I'm a huge fan of this author and this tale did NOT disappoint. 

 

"The Nice Boys" by Isabel Colegate was a spectacularly eerie story, set in a relentlessly foggy Venice, Italy. A young woman heads there to vacation away a recent bad break up and meets two young men. As the tension grows the reader is drawn in, but the vivid and disturbing scene towards the end ensures this story will not soon be forgotten. 

 

"Herself" by M.E. Braddon involved two of my favorite tropes-haunted houses and haunted mirrors. I'm not sure which it was, exactly,  but I'm going with  a combination of the two. I love these types of stories-where people are called in to help but are rendered helpless by circumstance and can only witness as bystanders the evil that occurs.

 

"Halley's Passing" by Michael McDowell. It's no secret that I adore Michael McDowell. (You do too, if you love Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas.) This tale, however, is shocking and extra bloody which is unusual for him, but at the same time: so much FUN.

 

"The Elemental" by R. Chetwynd-Hayes. Another FUN tale featuring a psychic that no one takes seriously. At first. 

 

"Samhain" by Bernard Taylor. Taylor is an author that I was unfamiliar with until Valancourt Books republished some of his work. I am now an unabashed fan and stories like this are exactly why. Everything is going along, you think you have a handle on things, and then BAM! He punches you right in the face. It's often a bloody punch too, and this is no exception. I laughed out loud at the ending because I was surprised, it was bloody and I loved it!

 

"The Bell" by Beverly Nichols. A beautifully told tale about a man who was completely dependent upon his valet/butler and what happens when that butler dies. Who will then come to the insistent ringing of the bell? 

 

Just like with Volume 1, I could list each and every story as a standout, because they were ALL just that good. Also like with Volume 1, is the fact that most of these stories have not been published over and over again. I'm not sure if it happens with all genres, but the same horror stories often appear ad nauseam in anthologies and it's irritating. With the cost of books these days, it's disappointing to buy an anthology only to discover you've read half the stories already in other anthologies. Rest easy, because that is not the case here. 

 

Each story in this volume is prefaced by a bit of background on the story and on the author, many of whom were not known for writing in the horror genre. I think that fact brings a certain freshness to this collection that is often lacking in others. The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two is simply EXCEPTIONAL and belongs in the collection of any serious fan of the genre. 

 

My highest recommendation!

 

You can pre-order your copy  here: The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two

 

*This book was provided by Valancourt Books in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

 

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text 2017-09-14 18:45
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two

Available this October from Valancourt Books! 

 

I was SO VERY EXCITED to find this in my mailbox the other day!

 

There's a Michael McDowell in here I haven't yet read, as well as a Stephen Gregory and a Bernard Taylor. I ask you: Who's a happy Char??

 

 

Valancourt Books has earned a reputation as one of the foremost publishers of lost and rediscovered classics, reissuing more than 400 unjustly neglected works from the late 18th century all the way to the early 21st. In this second volume of rare horror stories, the editors of Valancourt Books have selected fourteen tales – all by Valancourt authors – for this new collection spanning two centuries of horror. This volume features a previously unpublished ghost story by Nevil Shute, a brand-new tale by award-winning author Stephen Gregory, and twelve other tales that have never or seldom been reprinted. 

 

Features stories by: Mary Elizabeth Braddon • John Buchan • R. Chetwynd-Hayes • Isabel Colegate • Basil Copper • Thomas De Quincey • Stephen Gregory • Michael McDowell • John Metcalfe • Beverley Nichols • Nevil Shute • Bernard Taylor • Russell Thorndike • Robert Westall

 

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review 2017-08-22 02:24
World Between My Teeth - Tim Meyer
Worlds Between My Teeth - Tim Meyer

Another short story collection from a new-to-me author, Tim Meyer. Let's jump right in and break each story down one by one.

 

 

The Dream Eaters - It's all a dream. Nothing can hurt you in a dream, right? Some familiar elements with a twist or two.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Lemures - A brother and sister running from a crime boss who made a deal with the devil and can summon dead spirits. The story has a nice voice, if not the most satisfying ending.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Cherry Collectors - Being a player can come back and haunt you.

 

4.5 out of 5 stars

 

 

Worlds Between My Teeth - The night just keeps getting stranger and stranger for a mall security guard. Shades of King's The Drawing of Three and The Twilight Zone. Good stuff.

 

5 out of 5 stars

 


Gingerbread Death Machine - Revenge doesn't always taste sweet. A macabre Christmas tale that seems familiar but doesn't work as well as it could.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 


Under New Skies - A high school boy writes about love and the world becoming Jurassic Park overnight. I liked the uneasiness in this one.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


The Ice King - Emmett is sure that his wife, Gertie, is slipping him an extra pill in his daily stash, trying to kill him. When he sees something humongous under the ice while fishing, he becomes convinced. Lovecraft meets Grumpy Old Men. This was a fun one.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


Box Game - Yikes! That's some game!

 

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


Armala's Hunt - Armala's sister has been abducted by an unknown assailant. She recruits her world's best tracker for hire. They follow their trail to a cave where the grisly realization of why he kidnapped Armala's sister unveils itself. A nice tale of fantasy that feels like it's the start of a story rather than the whole tale.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 


The Old Church - Umm?!? Am I missing something here? What seems like a fragment of a setup to a story.

 

1 out of 5 stars

 


The Pumpkin Tree Giveth, The Pumpkin Tree Taketh Away - The pumpkin tree has been rumored to grant wishes. For 10-year-old Jeffie, he better watch what he wishes for. Again, it feels like a scene instead of a story.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 


The Man Who Never Frowned - A used car salesman, who is down on his luck, is about to have a really bad day.


4 out of 5 stars

 


The Organ Harvest (An October John novella) - In 2052, a plague has hit the world and decimated 95% of the population. Detective Callahan is breaking in a rookie partner while investigating a strange case of murders. The victims bodies are barely recognizable save for one distinguishing feature, a tattoo of a white rabbit on their ass cheek. Every clue runs into a dead end and with nowhere else to turn, Detective Callahan is forced to turn Johnny Webster (aka October John), a down-on-his-luck bum that has a knack for this kind of work. You see, 12 years ago, Johnny used to be Callahan's partner.

A fun novella that introduces us to some interesting characters with October John being right up at the top. Think of Riggs from Lethal Weapon.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


All in all, a very solid collection of shorts and a novella. Meyer has an easy writing style with some good characters and plots. There were a couple that were too short for me to really get into, but that's my preference and not necessarily a dig on Meyer's writing. Definitely worthy of space on any horror fan's bookcase. Meyer looks like he has the chops to make a real name for himself in the horror community.

 


Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2017-06-10 16:11
Review: You Will Grow into Them by Malcolm Devlin
You Will Grow into Them - Malcolm Devlin

 

I would like to thank Unsung Stories for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

The world is a far stranger place than we give it credit for. There, in the things we think familiar, safe, are certain aspects. Our fears and desires given form. Moments that defy explanation. Shadows in our home.

In Malcolm Devlin’s debut collection, change is the only constant. Across ten stories he tackles the unease of transformation, growth and change in a world where horror seeps from the everyday. Childhood anxieties manifest as debased and degraded doppelgängers, fungal blooms are harvested from the backs of dancers and London lycanthropes become the new social pariahs. The demons we carry inside us are very real indeed, but You Will Grow Into Them.

 

 

'You Will Grow into Them' is a solid selection of short stories. The stories are varied and different and have a dark unsettling undercurrent. The author's writing style is engaging and draws the reader in, he manages to give the reader just enough information to get the story across while at the same time leaving room for the reader's imagination. This allows the reader to fill in the gaps and to embrace the strangeness and fantastical and let their imagination run with it.

 

While I didn't find them to be scary, I did enjoy the strangeness and unsettling feel of them. They made me think, had me reading between the lines and contemplating the effect and affect, and the reasoning behind what was taking place. I can't say I was a fan of every story in the collection, some stood out more than others. My two favourites in the collection were 'Her First Harvest' and 'We All Need Somewhere to Hide'.

 

As a whole, I would say that 'You Will Grow into Them' is a 4 star read. I did, however, rate each story individually as I read through the collection and you can find those ratings below:

 

1 - Passion Play - 3 stars.

 

2 - Two Brothers - 3 stars.

 

3 - Breadcrumbs - 4 stars.

 

4 - Her First Harvest - 4.5 stars.

 

5 - We All Need Somewhere to Hide - 5 stars.

 

6 - Dogsbody - 3.5 stars.

 

7 - Songs Like They Used to Play - 2 stars.

 

8 - The Last Meal He Ate Before She Killed Him - 2 stars.

 

9 - The Bridge - 3 stars.

 

10 The End of Hope Street - 4 stars.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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text 2017-05-24 22:56
180/344 pages read of You Will Grow into Them Malcolm Devlin
You Will Grow into Them - Malcolm Devlin

 

The world is a far stranger place than we give it credit for. There, in the things we think familiar, safe, are certain aspects. Our fears and desires given form. Moments that defy explanation. Shadows in our home.

 

In Malcolm Devlin’s debut collection, change is the only constant. Across ten stories he tackles the unease of transformation, growth and change in a world where horror seeps from the everyday. Childhood anxieties manifest as debased and degraded doppelgängers, fungal blooms are harvested from the backs of dancers and London lycanthropes become the new social pariahs. The demons we carry inside us are very real indeed, but You Will Grow Into Them.

 

Taking weird fiction and horror and bending them into strange and wondrous new shapes, You Will Grow Into Them follows, in the grand tradition of Aickman, Ligotti and Vandermeer, reminding us that the ordinary world is a much stranger place than it seems.

 

 

As is usual with short story collections I will post an update periodically with my thoughts and ratings as I am reading and then review the book in its entirety when I am finished.

 

1 - Passion Play - 3 stars.

 

This was an Ok story. Not exactly sure what happened to Cathy, not sure if I'm supposed to. I loved the idea behind the story though. Creepy concept.

 

2 - Two Brothers - 3 stars.

 

Well written stories so far. They give just enough to unsettle you while allowing your imagination to fill in the gaps.

 

3 - Breadcrumbs - 4 stars.

 

Some weird mix between Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Feels very fairytalesque and very imaginative. Has she grown up, shed her childhood and become a woman? or, is she just dreaming? Think I may read this one again.

 

4 - Her First Harvest - 4 stars.

 

Kinda gone off mushrooms now. Interesting but strange concept and visually enchanting.

 

5 - We All Need Somewhere to Hide - 5 stars.

 

Beauty is only skin deep, a person's character is where true beauty lies, but how deep does our love for someone truly go... This is my favourite so far.

 

6 - Dogsbody - 3 stars.

 

Not sure what to think about this one. I would have liked to know the why behind what had occurred. I enjoyed it though. You shouldn't always assume prejudice is at play, you're not always the victim you perceive yourself to be.

 

 7 - 10 Still to come

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
Facebook | Twitter | G+ | BookLikes | LibraryThing

You can also follow me on Bloglovin

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