Copyright 2012 Freeman Presson, all rights reserved
Occult Detective Bob Freeman (no, really, go follow his blog now, and come back. I’ll wait) sent me a “lagniappe” along with the expected review copy of his new comic. It’s a short chapbook with three horror stories by relatively new writers in the genre, priced at $8 from Burning Effigy Press.
Here’s a competent review of the book by someone within the genre, so you can get the overview. I agree that all three stories were well-crafted and worthy. Usually horror fiction is not my thing; there needs to be an occult or erotic component to pull me in, and a lack of clichés to keep me from throwing the book against the wall. These stories were appropriately dark and disturbing, and well enough written to keep my throwing arm idle.
Freeman’s story is the closer, appropriately. “Mourn Not the Sleepless Children” is occult gaslight-atmospheric fiction. It features some characters who are tropes (Lord Grandstaff), one who is an interesting mix of them, and one who was historical, but around whom contradictory legends swirl (yes, him, whose various legends apparently will endure until the end). The author took some risks here, skating very close to some venerable clichés, but then he triple-axled into a neat finish.
So read what thou wilt, but consider this little collection if you are a horror fan.
[Complimentary review copy from the co-author gratefully acknowledged, opinions my own, your mileage may vary, etc.]