Eulogies III

Eulogies III - Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta, Tony Tremblay, Robert Dunbar, David Morrell, Elizabeth Massie, John Everson, Chet Williamson, Paula D. Ashe, Brian Hodge, Ray Garton, Tim Curran, Violet LeVoit, Thomas Sullivan, Gemma Files, Bracken MacLeod, Matt Moore A near perfect collection. Buy it now.

5 great big stars from me.

EULOGIES III is a home run derby of horror, with only a solitary miffed shot for me and a couple others that went deep but didn't quite make it into the stands.

I highly recommend this book to any lover of short-form (10—15 page on average) horror fiction. I can't imagine anyone not getting their money's worth (and then some) with this collection, as it's a veritable master-class in the art of short horror fiction.

Beautiful book, love the Keith Minnion art themed with each story it precedes. Not a fan of ragged-right margins, but I'll deal.

Got a little panicked when I started reading the first story, THE STORM by David Morrell, and realized I'd already read it in his collection BLACK EVENING. Good story for sure, but a reprint.

Thankfully, the rest of the collection is recently copyrighted.

I Loved Tim Curran's playfully lyrical MR. MUMBLETY-PEG. Fans of Gregor Xane's THE RIGGLE TWINS should like this one quite a bit.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS, by Violet LeVoit: I fully expected to hate this one, because it looked gimmicky as hell. Instead, I was blown away by the sheer force of its utter awesomeness. Think Douglas Adam gone very dark, and you're in the right neighborhood. Everyone should read this story frequently, and that's probably not a joke. LeVoit is a new-to-me writer, and I will be exploring more of her work.

HATE ME AFIRE, by Thomas Sullivan. Almost-but-not-quite overwritten, Sullivan's story reads like a fairy tale once told in a dream. Unique, dense and satisfying.

THE MOUTH, by Ray Garton. Cute little story. Not much to it, but fun while it lasted.

IN HELL, AN EYE, by Gemma Files. I failed to connect with this story on any level whatsoever, something I haven't experienced in years. Seemed out of sync with the rest of the collection so far. Still scratching my head on this one.

MORGENSTERN'S LAST ACT, by Bracken MacLeod. My first time reading MacLeod, an author I've been intending to try out for a while. This tale was nicely told and rather enjoyable, and I look forward to exploring more of his work in the future.

ONE LAST DROP OF BLOOD TO REMEMBER ME BY, by Matt Moore. Holy crap! This story was a revelation on several different levels, and is written by an author with some serious chops on display. Employing a fairly unique dual-POV, first-person present narrative structure, the tale keeps the reader off-kilter as the plot slowly reveals itself, strategically dropping just enough clues along the way to subtly pull the reader into its web. Take note of the skilled usage of staccato prose to invoke tension during a critical scene. The only thing that prevents this story from being a mini-masterclass in the art of the short story was a needlessly exposition-heavy conclusion, but you can be sure Matt Moore is solidly on my radar going forward.

FLY AWAY HOME, by Elizabeth Massie. I've not read a lot by Elizabeth Massie, but what I've read, I've liked. I didn't dislike this story as it was well-written and set a mood nicely, but I didn't find it to be particularly satisfying, either.

THE HOLE TO CHINA, by John Everson. Not the twisted shock-fest I expected, rather a sweet fantasy about a sad little boy with a shovel. Very nice.

SHE SITS AND SMILES, by Chet Williamson. Beautifully written tale. I really enjoyed the initial concept, not bad as-is but personally think it could've been taken to a different conclusion with superior results. Enjoyable and thought-provoking fiction.

CARRY ON, CARRION, by Paula D. Ashe. I'd argue that six pages is too short a length for a story to fit in well with the rest of the pieces in this collection. This selection works reasonably well as a mood piece, but the narrative is too slight to become much else. Struck me as a repurposed writing assignment for some reason, a bit overwritten but shows promise as seed for a revised and expanded tale.

ONE POSSIBLE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, by Brian Hodge. I love short stories that distill a tale that could have taken an entire novel to tell down to its essence, and pack an entire world and storyline into a crisp 30 to 40 pages. That's exactly what Brian Hodge has done here, and it's the perfect way to end this stellar collection.