reviewed by Anthony Servante
King Death (2011) by Paul Finch
(A Limited Numbered Chapbook IV from Spectral Press
The Black Plague is sweeping the lands ruled by Edward the Third. Rodric, a mercenary who is unaffected by the disease, pilfers the stately riches left by the dead masters and mistresses of the manors and estates. Dressing as a black knight with a ghastly skull painted on his helmet and calling himself King Death, Rodric frightens the superstitious survivors into revealing where more booty can be found. When the greedy ex-soldier encounters an eight-year old boy wandering lost and in shock, he tricks the youngster to lead him to the treasures left behind by the child’s former master. Overwrought in its telling, it hides a modest story similar to a fable. Not really a horror story, although the descriptions of the plague victims are quite horrific, it is more a period piece about justice. Those unfamiliar with the language of late medieval England may want to read the glossary at the end of the chapbook before proceeding with the story.
Vist Paul Finch ar his official website/blog here
The chapbook is SOLD OUT. But you can bug Spectral Press for a copy here
Mama Said (2011) by Lee Allen Howard
Get his book in ebook edition
First thing that grabs you in Lee Allen Howard’s tidy work of horror is the language. There is poetry in there amongst the prose. “We smell a summer twilight.” “We feel dew descending.” The language matches the pastoral setting of the farm. But don’t be fooled by the friendly environment, for there is corruption at work beneath the surface. This is the story of Buddy, a thirteen year old boy sent to live on his grandmother’s farm, only to be followed by his pregnant sister Brinda and her sadistic boyfriend Jackie. While there is much sexual violence, especially against children, it is a set up for the retribution that makes up the ending of the story. It is with very little guilt that I add another book to your heavy reading schedule, and if I might suggest: sneak Mama Said to the top of the book pile. It is a quick read and well worth the time.
Visit Lee Allen Howard's official website here
Available in Kindle here
Decayed Etchings by Brandon Ford (2011)
published by Black Bed Sheet Books
The introduction to Decayed Etching paints a picture of Ford’s writing style and his reason for selecting the book title: “[It] made me think, first and foremost, of a gloomy, cobweb-covered gravestone. Long-abandoned cemeteries. A flood of gothic imagery continued to fill my mind. I saw gray skies, dead trees, crumbling castles, all things dark, spooky, and archaic.” Then he delivers 18 short stories in this anthology that deal with suspense, well developed characterizations and some unexpected gruesomeness. But the stories fall short of the horror genre and land closer to a cross between the stories of the TV shows Thriller and Night Gallery. This is not a complaint. The stories are strong and interesting, and I do recommend them, but the intro sets up a different book. I look forward to reading Ford’s other work in hopes of finding these Decayed Etchings. Available in paper and Kindle here
Visit Brandon Ford's official website here