Things are finally settling down for just a moment around here, getting ready for the final Holiday storm, so I sat down to finish up some waaaaaay late reading! First up, I finished reading At the Cemetery Gates: Year One by John Brhel & Joseph Sullivan, the same duo that brought you Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop.
Here’s the official blurb:
A horror/paranormal short story collection inspired by urban legends, folk tales, and anthology TV shows like THE TWILIGHT ZONE and ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?
Twin brothers enter a funeral parlor as a gag and end up uncovering a sinister operation.
A mysterious illness plagues a small town and a college student seems to be the only one trying to stop it.
A girl’s time-lapse photo project reveals an intruder from the cemetery that shares a fence with her backyard.
AT THE CEMETERY GATES: YEAR ONE is for fans of urban legends, manifestations of the macabre, and strange twists of fate.
Once again we have the short story format, but where Marvelry’s tales all wove back to the same strand, Year One weaves individual tales all their own. There are fourteen dark tales in all:
☠ A Dark and Desolate Recurrence
☠ A Casket for My Mother
☠ Time’s Harbinger
☠ A Tale of Palpable Violence
☠ The Burial Vault
☠ Passion’s Paroxysm
☠ The Hermit of Russian Lake
☠ A Late Blight
☠ Delaying Decay
☠ The Girl with the Crooked Tooth
☠ New Year’s Eve, What a Gas!
☠ The Call is Coming from Inside the House
☠ An Epistle from the Dead
☠ Pictures of a Perpetual Subject
I personally think this story collection benefits from the tales not being connected; there’s less forced continuity to worry about that way, and more freedom. The writing in Year One is fantastic! Many of the stories have a genuinely surprising twist, and the writing gives you just enough detail to make the scenes real. There is no doubting these characters’ existences; in Marvelry’s, there was sometimes an issue of the characters seeming to “live alongside their lives,” as I once said, but that definitely isn’t the case here.
My personal favorites are A Tale of Palpable Violence, The Burial Vault, Delaying Decay, and The Girl with the Crooked Tooth, which was dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe for his birthday, by the way!
Overall, I’d give At the Cemetery Gates: Year One 4 out of 5 skulls!
☠ ☠ ☠ ☠
I heartily recommend this one for a quick horror romp. Just enough gore, violence, and supernatural mystery to be satisfying, all wrapped up in a neat package. You can grab your copies over on Amazon: here’s the e-book, which is on Kindle Unlimited! Once you grab your copy, tell us what you think, and go visit the guys at Cemetery Gates Media!