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Into a Sky Below, Forever Paperback – September 15, 2013
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About the Author
Karl Pfeiffer is a novelist, paranormal investigator, and artist. He has worked with numerous ghost hunting teams across Colorado, and he's investigated across the world. He won the first season of the pilot reality series Ghost Hunters Academy and went on to work with the Ghost Hunters International team on the same network. Since then he's led the weekend ghost hunts at the Stanley Hotel and lectured across America. He writes for the TAPS Paramagazine and contributes to the Paranormal Pop Culture Blog, and he's the author of the novel Hallowtide. More information can be found on his website, http://www.KarlPfeiffer.com
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Top customer reviews
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I reviewed three short stories that appear in this collection previously; all phenomenal, of high literary value, and promising. The rest of the collection makes well on those promises. The characters are extremely well developed throughout. They are distinctly human, in their fears and in their needs. These people are you or me, often in a situation that no one understands but themselves. Not only that, Karl gets into their heads and pulls out pure fear, and in doing so pulls out all of our fears. They are familiar to us and they often come in the dark.
In "Dissolution" there is a house that doesn't exist and in it that familiar darkness that Karl works with. In each story, the darkness is intelligent, but also takes on its own properties, has their own personalities. Here, darkness is unfamiliar and all encompasing. The curtain is closed at the right time, leaving the reader unsettled and without many answers, but the answers can often be found within. Often, through all of these character's vulnerabilities, the answers are there and they come from within, adding to the unease. In "Water's Edge," a very short piece, a tone familiar to Hallowtide makes itself known. Our character finds himself reflected in the waters, a beautiful self-perspective piece. Many of the stories carry with them a poetic sense; the prose is very beautiful, something Karl has mastered and displayed fully in these pieces as well as Hallowtide.
Where the reader is really tested is in the non-fiction works. The two that appear here relate to human paranormal experience. The first, "The Nature of the Beast" relate Pfeiffer's experiences in the Stanley Hotel, with the myriad of spirits there. Often he reflects on the nature of these experiences, testing human sanity versus power beyond our understanding. Some of the spirits that inhabit the Stanley are frightening and of an elemental nature. In the second piece, "Dark Processes," a malevolence stalks a woman throughout her life. This story is dark, very dark, but there is hope in a marriage and a grotesque.
Into a Sky Below, Forever holds a special place for me among the greatest short works collections I've read. It has a lot in common with Neil Gaiman's collections; poetry and stories, but these have a very King and Barker dark elemental force behind them. These pieces stay with you, whether you like them to or not. That is the sign of a great writer; and in many ways writers are magicians. Some cast light spells, some dark, and Karl the darkest. This is a collection for the ages from one of the best new writers of this decade.
His stories brought out feelings of horror and heartbreak, similar to his other book Hallowtide. Karl's writing reaches somewhere deep within me, pulling that emotional chord that always seems to leave me teary-eyed, or holding my mouth open in complete horror, or getting me to really think about what his writing means to me personally. The way his characters reveal their raw emotions is mind-blowing. Karl knows how to make his readers relate to each character, which leaves us emotionally invested in the story. My absolute favorite stories were Desertion, Games Children Play, Expulsion: A Quiet Night's Sleep and Ouroboros (Into a Sky Below Forever). They brought out a range of emotions for me, and left me teary at the end. I don't know how he does that to me, but it's the one thing I really admire about his writing.
For me, the book refused to be read in the daytime. His themes of darkness, woven throughout all his stories, made me wary of the dark corners of my house or the unlit doorways in the hall at night. It left me wondering what could be lurking within them. I don't think I'll look at darkness quite the same way again. Each story brought a new life to the darkness, giving it a little twist or turn, keeping me on my toes. Reading during the day still brought on emotions of horror and heartbreak. But at night, his writing seemed to take on a new, vibrant life. It made the darkness seem more real, more sinister and suffocating. So if you enjoy stories that tug at your emotions, make you think, and scare you out of your mind, this is the book for you!
Many sophomoric attempts are fair at best. This is not a concern with Pfeiffer's second book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the different writing styles. There was not a single piece I did not enjoy. From the tensely written short stories echoing those of Stephen King to the dark, emotional poetry to the personal accounts of the author's ghost hunting experiences, I highly recommend Into a Sky Below, Forever for its entertainment and literary value. Don't miss this one.