An Anthology of dark tales by a new-to-me author who is very skilled at his craft. Some of my favorites include: 'The Key', 'The Lady in the Garden' and a very fun Sherlock Holmes story (This author is VERY good at Holmes Stories I have discovered) - 'Sherlock Holmes and the Ghost of Christmas Past'.
Then I have to discuss his story 'The Books' which, though NOT a vampire tale, reminded me very much of Jonathan Harker's journey and first night in Dracula's castle. Similar elements such as the storyteller being dropped off reluctantly at the end of the path to the Lodge and his arrival to a note, wine, fire and so on, brought back that foreboding feeling I felt when reading Dracula for the first time. Is it homage? Or too similar? I found I didn't care, it still took me where I needed to go in my mind.
And finally, my favorite story in the book: 'The Oldest Ghost Story-Writer in the Land'. A very hold horror writer is invited to appear as a guest on a television adaptation of one of his stories on Halloween. My two favorite descriptions follow:
"This was real and all the more terrifying because he didn't know why he was frightened. For a moment, his body turned to ice and his heart began to race. He blinked furiously, gasping or breath."
"I am a Relic. that's how I have been treated today. Some old curiosity from a bygone age who's been wheeled out for his novelty value. The oldest living ghost-writer in the land."
Well written words that manage to convey atmosphere and feelings without slapping you in the face with it. Horror at its best.
I will definitely be reading more by this author!