An impressive gathering of stories that entice and unnerve.


The small mountain town of Georgetown is a hub for ghostly figures and ferocious creatures throughout history in editors Stein (Anna and the Vampire Prince, 2017, etc.) and Viola’s (Blackstar, 2015, etc.) horror anthology.

In Travis Heermann’s opening story, “Deep Veins,” brothers Frank and Emmet Grubbs are prospecting for gold circa 1861. With little to show after weeks of work, they opt for blasting open a 2-foot hole in a vein of quartz. Inside are signs of the precious metal—and also a humanoid creature with gleaming eyes. Subsequent tales, appearing chronologically, share the same setting—an ostensibly innocuous town with underlying horrors. Betsy Dornbusch’s “The Silver Belle,” for example, is a murder mystery set in the year 1875; Detective David Cook rides into town to look into the strangling death of Annabelle Shine. But events quickly escalate after another murder and sightings of Annabelle’s apparent apparition. Nearly a century-and-a-half later, in 2017, Detective Sandra Gonzales (in Mario Acevedo’s “Her First Husband”) investigates a missing person case in which the main suspect’s bogus ghost story isn’t the scariest part. Carrie Vaughn’s “Harry and Marlowe Versus the Haunted Locomotive of the Rockies,” meanwhile, features the titular British duo, “part tourists, part spies, and part archeologists,” on the hunt in 1899 for anything new and innovative, riding a train whose previous passengers have disappeared. The stories are breezy, quick reads overall, often boasting sharp prose. One particular highlight is Stephen Graham Jones’ striking “Argentine Pass,” in which the narrator sees a man with “his ratty hat brim pulled low, his face dirty behind that. Dirty and smiling. It gave me the chills. I’m not proud.” Another standout among the stories in this solid collection is Sean Eads’ 1882-set “A Bouquet of Wonder and Marvel,” featuring a charming Oscar Wilde coming to the aid of a gardener, Benson, who’s worried about Georgetown’s “unearthly silence.” Brian Keene closes the book with a warmhearted tribute to his friend, the late multigenre author Tom Piccirilli.

An impressive gathering of stories that entice and unnerve.

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9986667-5-4

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Hex Publishers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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