Saturday, October 3, 2015

nEvermore: Tales Of Murder, Mystery & The Macabre - Neo-Gothic Fiction Inspired By The Imagination Of Edgar Allan Poe - ed. by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles - If you enjoy the work of Poe or good story-telling, pick up this anthology

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Nancy Kilpatrick is a writer and editor. She has published 18 novels, 1 non-fiction book, over 200 short stories, 5 collections of stories, and has edited more than a dozen anthologies.

Caro Soles is a writer who also does manuscript evaluations and editing and teaches Writing the Novel 1 and 2 at George Brown College in Toronto.

Nancy and Caro are the editors of Nevermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre an homage to the great American writer, the incomparable Edgar Allan Poe, and a must-have for every fan of his work. Even if you're not all that familiar with Poe's work, this book is filled with dark stories from a long list of today's horror writers. There were even a few names that were new to me and I read a lot of horror.

As a reader, I often find anthologies can be hit or miss, but I'm happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the 22 stories of the macabre in this collection.

The book starts off with "A Scholarly View of Edgar Allan Poe, Genre Crosser" by the enigmatic Uwe Sommerland. Uwe has zero online presence or none that I could find, but writes an interesting treatise on the work of the legendary writer to get things started.

THE GOLD BUG CONUNDRUM by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro who has been an award-winning professional writer for nearly fifty years across a number of genres. The story was inspired by The Gold Bug and features a massive, luxurious Caribbean home that has fallen into extreme disrepair and a search for a treasure chest in the middle of a hurricane. A strong way to start the anthology and one of my favorite stories within.

STREET OF THE DEAD HOUSE by Robert Lopresti who is a librarian from the Pacific Northwest. He's written two novels and numerous short stories. I really liked his retelling of Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue from the POV of the ape. You just have to read this one.

NAOMI by Christopher Rice. Christopher is a NYT bestselling author whose supernatural thrillers The Heavens Rise and The Vines were both finalists for a Bram Stoker Award. This is a totally engaging, modern take on The Tell Tale Heart, featuring a young transvestite driven to suicide by her ringtone.

FINDING ULALUME by Lisa Morton, the presiding President of the Horror Writer's Association and world renowned expert on all things Halloween. According to Lisa, she chose to base her story on Poe's poem Ulalume because it's the only piece that comes close to mentioning Halloween and gives us a tale that is spooky, creepy, and delightful.

OBSESSION WITH THE BLOODSTAINED DOOR by Rick Chiantaretto who is the author of the Crossing Death series and Facade of Shadows. I love discovering new authors, especially when they write like Rick, it was if he was actually channeling Poe.

THE LIGHTHOUSE by Barbara Fradkin. Barbara is a retired psychologist with a fascination for why we turn bad. Her tale is that of a young writer manning a Newfoundland lighthouse during WWII who is struggling to find his muse, when a young German soldier appears at his door seeking refuge. Is he real? Is this his muse?

THE MASQUES OF AMANDA LLADO by Thomas S. Roche, a longtime short story writer whose first novel, The Panama Laugh, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. This story is a modern take on The Cask of Amontillado. I found it to be chilling and it was nice to see a hipster get his comeuppance.

ATARGATIS by Robert Bose. Robert is working on a novel about an all to real Ragnarök (Google it). For this collection he gives a a charming story filled with romance, fantasy, and a Syrian sea goddess.

THE RAVENS OF CONSEQUENCE by Carol Weekes and Michael Kelly. Carol has been writing and publishing fiction, mainly in the horror field, for 20 years. Michael is the series editor for the Year's Best Weird Fiction and has been a finalist for both the Shirley Jackson Award and the British Fantasy Society Award. Their story for this anthology features both Ravens and a study in madness.

ANNABEL LEE by Nancy Holder who has written more than 80 novels and has five Bram Stoker Awards to her credit. For her contribution, Nancy decided to tell the story of Annabel Lee from Annabel's POV. The result is inspired.

DINNER WITH MAMALOU by J. Madison Davis. Madison is the former president of the International Association of Crime Writers. His first novel, The Murder of Frau Schutz, was nominated for the "Best First" Edgar. This is another of my favorites from this book. A very up to date story with a definite Poe-like slant, as a crooked energy company CEO has dinner with a Louisiana legend known simply as Mamalou.

THE DEAVE LANE by Michael Jecks who has been writing for twenty years, with 35 novels published. This tale was set in the moors of Dartmoor, England and confronts the fear of being buried alive.

133 by Richard Christian Matheson, an acclaimed bestselling author and screenwriter/executive producer for television and film. On a side note, he's also an accomplished drummer who studied with legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker. 133 is the shortest story in the anthology, but boy does it pack a punch.

AFTERLIFE by William F. Nolan, Jason V. Brock, and Sunni K. Brock. Among his many accolades, Nolan a was recently named a World Horror Society Grand Master. Jason V. Brock himself is a double Bram Stoker Award nominee and his wife Sunni is a published poet, writer, and talented vegetarian cook. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of Poe's ghost.

THE DROWNING CITY by Loren Rhoads who discovered the works of Edgar Allan Poe in a most unusual way, picking up a copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination thanks to the Alan Parsons Project album of the same name. Her story involves an ancient curse and a siren in modern day Venice, Italy.

THE ORANGE CAT by Kelley Armstrong. Kelley is the author of the Cainsville modern Gothic series and has created a number of other well-known and popular series. There are so many entertaining stories in this collection. Here, Armstrong combines a story set in her popular Cainsville universe with a tale inspired by Poe's The Black Cat. Loved it.

THE INHERITANCE by Jane Petersen Burfield who has had three careers over the years, in journalism, teaching, and business. Her story, inspired by Poe's The Raven is yet another well-told tale.

SYMPATHETIC INFLUENCES by David McDonald. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Davis is a mild mannered reporter and editor by day, and a wild-eyed writer by night. His story in nEvermore takes place during the time of the inquisition only it's an inquisition where sorcery is being used on both sides.

ASYLUM by Colleen Anderson who has more than 200 published pieces of fiction to her credit and has twice been nominated for Canada's Aurora Awards. I never knew the phrase "The inmates are running the asylum," could be attributed to Edgar Allan Poe. It's from his work, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, which serves as inspiration for this enjoyable tale.

THE RETURN OF BERENICE by Tanith Lee who began writing at the age of nine and contributed more than 100 novels to genre fiction and was named a Grand Master of Horror and given the Lifetime Achievement Award. She passed away on May 24, 2015. In Ms. Lee's retelling of Poe's Berenice, she adds a bit of a vampiric element to the story.

THE EYE OF HEAVEN by Margaret Atwood. Margaret is the author of more than forty books, including The Handmaid's Tale which won the 1985 Governor General's Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. It has been adapted for the cinema, radio, opera, and stage. Her story for this anthology was written when she was a sixteen year old high school student and captures the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe quite remarkably.

THE OPIUM-EATER by David Morrell. David gave us Rambo, that's right, it was his novel, First Blood that introduced us to a character Sylvester Stallone would bring to life on the big screen. Here he tells the story of Thomas De Quincey who became known as the Opium-Eater.

Whether you're a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, or not, there's a good deal of great writing to be found in this new anthology from Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles.

nEvrmeore is published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing and is available in both paperback and e-book formats. Also, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book at no additional cost and if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE as your monthly selection from the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

Really recommended.

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