At The Cemetery Gates: Year One Paperback – October 26, 2016
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- Paperback : 168 pages
- ISBN-10 : 153959775X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1539597759
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.42 x 9 inches
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First Edition (October 26, 2016)
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#1,728,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #56,028 in Horror Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This was one of their first Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark inspired anthologies, which is a recent trend I don't mind one bit. I mean, just look at that artwork! It really brings me back to a simpler (spookier) time. At The Cemetery Gates: Year One takes those scary stories from our youth and ages them up specially for adult readers. The stories are a bit longer than Alvin Schwartz's stories, but the spirit is still there. (Pun intended.)
As with all anthologies, some stories aren't as good as others, but there isn't a single tale here that isn't at least entertaining. Brhel and Sullivan offer so much to enthusiasts of the macabre, and it is my recommendation that all horror fans give this and their other books a shot.
Overall, 3.5 tombstones
However, no collection is perfect and there were a few stories that I didn't care for. That usually happens with a collection though. Not everything can please everyone. I don't usually knock any stars off just because I didn't care for a story. If it was written well then I figure someone else will probably like it. Collections are a bit hard to rate so I like to go through them one by one and then sum up the collection at the end. So let's get started, shall we?
A Dark and Desolate Recurrence - 4 Stars
A good ghost story with a nice twist at the end
A Casket for My Mother - 3 Stars
It will certainly leave you wondering about some of those Crowdfunding posts.
Time's Harbinger - 4 Stars
Reminded me a bit of The Mothman Prophecies with a dash of time travel.
A Tale of Palpable Violence - 4 Stars
A very nice twist on the 'Killer in the Backseat' urban legend.
The Burial Vault - 4 Stars
A good story with a suspenseful build and a nice twist at the end.
Passion's Paroxysm - 4 Stars
I loved this story. It had a great ending. Very 'Tales from the Crypt' and I loved it.
The Hermit of Russian Lake - 3 Stars
I wanted to rate this story higher because it was well-written but I really didn't get the ending. Maybe I'm just thick in not getting it but it really confused me.
A Late Blight - 2 Stars
It had a good momentum going for it but the ending twist fell a tad flat for me.
Delaying Decay - 3 Stars
A creepy little tale but it had me wondering how no one in the town ever noticed visibly changed people?
The Girl with the Crooked Tooth - 3 Stars
Written as an homage to Edgar Allan Poe but it was a little hard for me to see where that came in except for maybe the all-consuming obsession and madness. That's hardly unique to Poe, though.
New Year's Eve, What a Gas! - 1 Star
I don't really like to say this but the whole premise was stupid. I will explain why I'm rating it so harshly but I don't want to give it away so it's marked
A woman finds a diary that she assumes is a recipe book and makes a 'sauce' for a party they're going to. The casserole is put into the host's oven and pretty soon everyone is gasping for air and getting rashes so the EMS is called. The surprise 'reveal' is that it wasn't a cookbook at all but a recipe for mustard gas. At which point I was thinking, "Ok, maybe she mistranslated it and how could kitchen ingredients create mustard gas?" But no. She translated it perfectly correctly and obviously considered ammonia, bleach and other chemicals as perfectly fit for a sauce. When her husband asks her how she could have thought that her response is that "She's a tenured gender studies professor, not the head of Cordon Bleu Culinary School!" You would have to not just be a bad cook to think ammonia is consumable. You would have to be an idiot of the largest magnitude and probably would not have lived to adulthood.
I honestly have no idea what the author was trying for with this story. If they were going for humorous, it wasn't. If it was supposed to be social commentary, I have no clue what they were trying to get at. It's a story that, frankly, the collection could do without.
The Call is Coming from Inside the House - 2 Stars
Just kind of meh for me. Too many 'twists' thrown in for such a short story and the whole 'Melinda the --" was just kind of weird.
An Epistle from the Dead - 3 Stars
Definitely another story that has a very 'Tales from the Crypt' feel to it. A terrible discovery leading to an even more terrible decision. With a horribly ironic twist at the end.
Pictures of a Perpetual Subject - 4 Stars
An excellent, creepy story and kind of sad.
I was teetering between a 3 and a half Stars and 4. When it's that close I'd rather bump it up than down. But man, that 'New Year's Eve, What a Gas' story really brought it down. Altogether it gets 4 stars because it made me push the other two books by them up to the top of my to-read list.
Received from the author for an honest review
This collection includes the stories:
“A Dark and Desolate Recurrence”
-- Teddy and his wife Margo find themselves stranded in the middle of a blizzard when their car breaks down on the highway. They have no other choice but to leave and try to find a warmer place to wait out the storm. What they discover, though, will chill you to the bone.
This is a nice take on a familiar legend. I liked it very much.
“A Casket For My Mother”
-- When Craig returns from a year in rural China, he checks his long-neglected Facebook feed to discover one of his old friends has lost his mother and is asking for donations to buy her a casket. Grief-stricken, Craig hits up his friend to contribute a donation, but he should have spoken to his other friends, first.
This might be my favorite story in the collection. It’s delightfully twisted yet somehow compassionate.
-- Ross and his estranged father make a road trip to handle Ross’ dead mother’s affairs, but they soon find themselves at the mercy of a local monster.
This is another interesting and creative take on a familiar legend. This is a meaty little story. It’s a cool melding of the supernatural and science fiction.
“A Tale of Palpable Violence”
-- Sherry and Bram are making out in the back of his car when they hear of rampaging killers on the radio in their area.
What a fun and unexpected twist this story is!
“The Burial Vault”
-- Tom and his friends like to hang out and party inside of a decrepit mausoleum, but their hangout of choice comes with some frightening consequences.
I liked where this story went. It wasn’t what I expected at all, and it’s often quite hard to surprise me.
-- Ben Chapman has decided he’s not going to live his life with regrets any longer. As he makes his way home to his wife with a special bouquet of flowers, he reflects on the choices he’s made thus far. And when he gets home, it’s a new start altogether.
I don’t believe I’d ever heard of the legend this story was based on, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It’s a dark tale with a twisted end. What more could you possibly want?
“The Hermit of Russian Lake”
-- Keith meets the hermit of Russian Lake on an excursion that results in him needing guidance and a place to stay.
This was one of the stories I didn’t quite “get”. I’m not sure if it was because I had been reading for so very long at this point (I read this book during the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon), so I simply didn’t grasp the nuance of this story, but either way, it wasn’t my favorite of the collection. Perhaps on a re-read, I’ll find it more to my liking.
“A Late Blight”
-- A small town comes down with a deadly illness that one scientist believes is linked to the local cemetery. The truth, though, is downright scary.
I was expecting this story to be more along the supernatural, but it was a cool surprise to see it’s actually a tale of human horrors.
-- Twin brothers sneak into a funeral home in hopes of seeing a real dead body. But what they discover is a lot more twisted.
In my opinion, this was another gem in the collection. It’s just messed enough to be the perfect mixture of spooky and decidedly fun.
“The Girl With The Crooked Tooth”
-- In this homage to Edgar Allan Poe, the main character contemplates his fascination with a girl, and her crooked tooth, in his anatomy and physiology class.
This tale definitely has a Poe feel to it, and it’s just as demented as one of his stories. I’d say Brhel and Sullivan knocked it out of the park with this one.
“New Year’s Eve, What A Gas!”
-- Before attending a New Year’s Eve party, a couple finds a box of old, German recipes. She decides to throw one of them together to bring to the get-together with disastrous consequences.
This one was too unbelievable to me, honestly. I’ve never heard of the legend it’s based on, so perhaps this story isn’t too far off from the mark (some urban legends are extremely far-fetched, after all), but it wasn’t for me.
“The Call Is Coming From Inside The House”
-- This is a unique take on the all-too-familiar legend. I don’t want to describe it anymore for fear of spoiling the premise.
I’ve definitely never heard/read a “caller is inside the house” tale like this one, so take that as you will.
“An Epistle From The Dead”
-- Regina, upon burying her husbands, finds a terrible letter of confession among his belongings. Devastated, she makes an irreversible choice, but the truth behind it all is the real scary story.
Ooh, this is one messed up story. In the very best way. I actually gasped when I came to the end. Brilliant.
“Pictures of a Perpetual Subject”
-- Joanna doesn’t fit in at school. She doesn’t understand “selfie culture”, but to make an effort to better get on with her peers, she starts a project in which she takes a photo every day of the tree in her backyard. She’s surprised and creeped-out when she discovers a figure in the images she can only see when the photos are put to video. Just like so many other stories in this collection, things aren’t what they seem.
This is a heartbreaking story. It’s extremely well done. This might be the story to pick up the entire collection for.
While some of the tales in this collection weren’t exactly for me, I still think it’s well-put-together and worth a read. So, if you’re into urban legends or just creepy stories in general, pick it up.
Read this review and more on my blog at roxiewritesbooks(dot)wordpress(dot)com.