Vampires, vengeful family ghosts, collectors of souls, and Nazi necromancers stand side-by-side with the merely grieving to populate these tales of dark moments.
Every tale has a unique setting, yet evokes a familiar feeling: that back-of-the-neck sense that someone or something is watching you. After all, there are many definitions of the word “haunted” and everyone has their own ghosts.
Book Title: Dark Delicacies III: Haunted Type: Trade Paperback 336 Pages Editor: Del Howison & Jeff Gelb Publication Date: October 2009 Publisher: Running Press ISBN: 978-0-7624-3352-0 Genre: Horror / Anthology / Short Stories Purchase: The Book Depository
My Thoughts on The Stories
*I’ve decided to split my review of this collection into four different posts since there are so many stories in this volume. Also I am reading this as a catch-up for the 31 Shots of Shock challenge. Basic story descriptions are in black and my personal thoughts follow in blue.*
♦ Children Of The Vortex ♦ Simon Clark
The Vortex Project is an abandoned Military Research compound located in a hidden location on an island in Germany. Set in the present day, an initial excavation group are forcing a worker, Leo, from this compound to lead them to it. Forcing because Leo would seemingly rather die than stay on the island. Leo’s terror of the research that was done here is present throughout the story and it seems to be catching as the others become more tense with every step they take. But why should they be scared of an abandoned research facility? In the end they will wish they had never found out. This was a great story, lots of tension and intrigue, and a back-story that begs to be fleshed out. Loved the ending, which was much like a twisted revision of a classic horror tale.
♦ Mist On The Bayou ♦ Heather Graham
A man helps out a friend by coming along to assist with his haunted attraction business, which consists of a pontoon ride through the bayou and a tour of a supposedly haunted plantation house set up with scenes of horror. But halfway through the house things go wrong when one of the displays turns out to be a real. You may think I’ve given away the entire plot – but you’d be surprised with how this one turns out! There were enough characters and backstories that it would have been entirely doable as a novel, but I think it was perfect as a short. Loved this story, it was creepy, fun and clever.
♦ In The Mix ♦ Eric Red
Underdogg wants to be a rap star, and he is positive that if only he could have five minutes with superstar hip-hop producer Scratchmaster, his dream could come true. But getting Scratchmaster to even look his way will take more than Underdogg could ever imagine. I wasn’t too crazy about this story, it seemed a little predictable, then again I have a strong bias against this because of my dislike of rap music to begin with (lol) so it’s not to hard for me to believe that rap producers are devils in disguise.
♦ How To Edit ♦ Richard Christian Matheson
Told in first person, this story is styled as a how-to manual of editing. Written from the perspective of a writer, it tells about how editing is a very important part of the writing process. This particular writer is having a hard time adapting to the new style of authors out there, the people who used to sell his books tell him his writing is “too chubby.” So he’s trying to figure out exactly how to edit. Terrific story, really enjoyed the creative concept. Excellent portrayal of a writer spiraling into madness. Which reminds me if, Richard Christian Matheson has a novel from the early nineties called Created By – it’s a tight little thriller about a screenwriter who realizes that the story he’s writing is coming to life. Similar to Stephen Kings’ The Dark Half, I personally prefer Richard Christian Mathesons’ version.
♦ Resurrection Man ♦ Axelle Carolyn
Right now, I’m reading Frankenstein, and while not the same plot wise, it does share some themes with this story. The main theme being the existence of an afterlife and the ethics regarding the use of bodies after death. I can only imagine the conflict and resistance that early scientists and medical practitioners came up against in regards to this. It would be nice to respect the beliefs of everyone, but in order for medicine and knowledge to evolve bodies were a must. This debate is fascinating to me, but anyways on to the story. In Resurrection Man we are introduced to a scientist whose found bodies to be in short supply. Most all the people in his town want themselves and their kin buried whole – believing that any sort of tampering, no matter how much good it could provide, is wrong and prevent the possibility of resurrection or afterlife. So what’s a dedicated man to do? With a cemetery nearby he finds his own bodies. He only wants to help the living by studying the dead – and he thinks to himself they are being a little ridiculous when they preach the resurrection of Jesus – dead is dead – or so he believes until one night in the graveyard his beliefs are put to the test.
I loved this short story, and at only six pages it is quite short! The plot itself was clever, but what I really enjoyed was the different sides of a ages long debate that it brought up. It’s scary to imagine how modern medicine would be different right now without having had the ability to study a body. So many important discoveries were made from the dissection of cadavers – things that would be impossible (or inhumane) to perform on a living being. In the grand scheme of things the use of the deceased in furthering science may not be ethical or proper to some, but sometimes evil deeds do serve a greater good.
To Be Continued ….
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