Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book Review: Sinister Landscapes edited by Alan Draven

Fog-shrouded cemeteries, crumbling old castles, eerily-burning candlelight and an unmentionable evil lurking in the shadows – don’t you miss Gothic-styled horror novels? Well, editor Alan Draven certainly has and comes to the rescue of those that like the gloomy atmosphere of these type of stories. Draven has compiled some utterly amazing stories for this anthology. From ghosts to demons to serial killers and beyond, Draven has collected some of the finest modern-day, Gothic-tinged stories.

The book features 18 chilling tales from new and up-and-coming authors, plus prologue from editor Draven (who also contributed one of his own stories to the anthology) explaining the genesis of this collection and a welcoming introduction from author Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc. After that it’s time to let the shadows envelope you as you enter Sinister Landscapes

My favorites include Thad Linson’s “Polite Society,” a Jack the Ripper story with a werewolf twist, Gordon Anthony Bean’s “From a Whisper to a Dream,” where two young brothers wait to have their souls eaten in their dark and foreboding house, Jeani Rector’s “The Spirit of Death,” where two teens steal a skull to perform a dark magic ritual for eternal life, Bret Jordan’s “Ghost in the Hardware,” in which a ghosthunter using the latest equipment to communicate with the dead gets more than he bargained for, “The Widow’s Curse,” by Jessica Lynne Gardner that adds a nice gothic-Asian flavor to the collection, and last, but certainly not least editor Alan Draven’s “Beyond the Doomed Cave.” Despite the silly sounding title, this is easily the best work in the anthology, as Draven expertly weaves a macabre web for the reader to get wrapped up in.

There are but a few stories that didn’t quite have the same caliber as the rest, but those didn’t really hamper my enjoyment of this anthology all that much. compared with the overwhelming talent contained in the rest of the collection, the less well-written stories are a minor quibble.

If you are looking for a horror anthology to give you the chills, Sinister Landscapes couldn’t come any higher recommended!

Available from Amazon!

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