(read October 30/31)
"it wouldn't be a Valancourt Book of Horror Stories if it didn't include a selection of rare tales from the 19th and 20th centuries..."
"Brace yourself; you will have a strong reaction to this story."
Trust me, that's putting it mildly. On one hand, the way the story is set up I knew that there was going to be something beyond weird that was going to happen; on the other, let's just say that I was in no way prepared for how monstrously hideous things turned out. Let's also just say that I wish I had a photo of my face after finishing it.
|paperback edition, Volume 3 (2018). Even with the hardcover, I had to have this one because of the awesome tiki cover.|
I am so sorry to say this, but of this group, Garrett Boatman's "Rain" just didn't do it for me -- while it was definitely engaging in parts, it came across as a sort of mix of Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" transplanted to the Texas Gulf coast during a hurricane. The others, however, are quite good, with honorable mention going to "Happy Birthday, Dear Alex," and "The Other Room," both especially fine tales and beyond poignant. The Belgian entries are fun as well, with "Rain and Gaslight" leaving me with that sense of things being off-kilter that I enjoy so much.
The stories included here range from the suspenseful to the strange, from the horrific to the harrowing, from yesteryear to today, and as is the case with every other Valancourt anthology, there is something for everyone to enjoy. They also make for fun reading, and I can only imagine what a great time James and Ryan must have had while putting this volume together. It's largely because of this series and the Christmas anthologies that my home library of older ghostly, gothic, horror, weird, and strange stories has grown immensely over the years -- all it took was a good story or two to start me on the road to my favorite type of reading, those long-forgotten, obscure, and in many cases, sadly-neglected stories from the past. Here's to many more in the future.
Definitely recommended with no hesitation.