Epitaphs is an anthology that sees the writing on the headstones rather than on the proverbial wall. The quartet of tales chosen for deeper scrutiny is a sterling example of what the New England Horror Writers have to offer. --Hellnotes
About the Author
TRACY L. CARBONE (editor) (www.tracylcarbone.com) is a New England native who lives with her daughter and a houseful of pets. She has published several horror and literary short stories in magazines and anthologies in the U.S. and Canada. Her YA horror novel, The Soul Collector, will be released by Shadowfall Publications in late fall 2011. She is Cochair of the New England Horror Writers (NEHW) and a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA).
More About the Authors
Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
I love short stories. I love to read them, I love to write them. But you know what's better than a short story? A whole freaking collection of them! And someone recently shipped me over a copy of Epitaphs, a Stoker-nominated collection of tales and poetry from the New England Horror Writers, a group that is very close to my heart. Of course I had to dive right in.
Okay, enough banter. Let's get down to the daunting task of looking at the stories themselves.
To Sleep, Perchance to Die by Jeffrey C. Pettengill: Well, let's just say the collection didn't start out so well for me. Here we have a tale of a CPAP machine gone horribly wrong. The tone just seemed to lag, and honestly the ending seemed a bit campy, though without the fun that camp implies.
The Christopher Chair by Paul McMahon: And here we go! One of the better stories in the collection, about an antique wheelchair blessed by St. Christopher that can supposedly heal the sick...for a price. Atmospheric and full of confliction, McMahon really packs a punch with this one.
A Case of the Quiets by Kurt Newton: The first poem in the collection, and a doozy. It brings to mind horror poetry of old, with a very Poe-esque flow, and comes very close to matching the former master's penchant for nailing the dark side of human nature coming from within the mundane.
Build-A-Zombie by Scott T. Goudsward: This one was quirky and fun, telling of a boy assembling an unusual gift from a new sort of gift shop. It made me want to know more about the world in which it takes place, which is a good thing.
Not An Ulcer by John Goodrich: Wow. This story, to me, was far and away the best of the bunch.Read more ›
Epitaphs is a GREAT read. I love the fact that they are short enough that you can finish two or three (or all, in my case) of the stories in one sitting, I love the fact that they're horror, I love the fact that the authors are all (fairly) local, and I love the stories themselves! There is something for everyone in this compilation, from SF to dark poetry and back again, with all sorts of ghosts and goblins and things that go BUMP in the night (or in your attic). The scariest ones are the things you don't see, though, aren't they? This talented group of authors brings all that and more to the table with Epitaphs! It's so hard for me to choose just one or two tales here as my favorites (although Stoney's Boneyard stands out for sure as one!). Seriously, they are THAT GOOD! Can't wait to read more!!
Epitaphs is a collection of short stories and poetry from the Journal of New England Horror Writers; it is a consistently satisfying compendium of the dark and dreadful. In it you will find stories that will make you shiver, and some that will make you smile, but all of them will keep you glued to the page till the end. Even the cover art is cool.
I am not going to bother giving a synopsis since the title says it all. I have been a horror fan since I was six years old and watched Salem's Lot through my fingers. I don't scare that easily anymore and I am often left disappointed in books or movies. That's not the case with these stories though. This collection is a perfect example of less being more. Some of these stories gave me goose pimples by being subtle. It didn't take 400 pages or overt terror, but instead they were horror stories that were human and thought provoking too. I laughed and even cried reading some (okay I was a blubbering idiot reading Stony's Boneyard by Glenn Chadbourne & Holly Newstein). I won't give a list of my favorites from the collection since I just finished reading it. Tomorrow my favorites may be different after I have had some time to digest them. I absolutely recommend this to fellow horror fans and even to those who don't normally read the genre because it's a great introduction to horror.