The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories - Francis  King, John Blackburn, Richard Marsh, Michael McDowell, Stephen Gregory

Yet another wonderful compilation from Valancourt Books and what a delight this is. Putting together a number of unknown (to me anyway) authors with each story including an introduction about the writer and what is to follow. So what stood out?" California Burning" by Michael Blumlein...A rather dark comic view on the inability of a crematorium to safely dispose of some human remains came with a subliminal message...we all hold secrets and we are all not what we seem. Of course having read this tale I was intrigued to learn a little more about the author and the fact that he was also a physician by profession certainly added some intrigue to his writing. I shall be checking out "The Brains of Rats" by Michael Blumlein in the very near future (what a wonderful macabre title!)

 

"The Frozen Man" by John Trevena was very Lovecraftian (Mountains of Madness) in both its content and execution. An expedition sent out on a journey of investigation to the North as...."some Germans were passing through the country further north, trapping and shooting all the furs they could find, thereby infringing upon the rights of the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay." I love this type of story with the cold and desolation creating its own terror and the madness that must surely happen!

 

"The Ghost of Charlotte Cray" a sublime and classic ghost story. Sigismund Braggett, publisher, caught between the love of two women; Emily Primrose and the divine Miss Cray. Braggett had hoped that the two women might meet but this idea faded to nothing (or did it!) when the body of Charlotte Cray was discovered at her lodgings in Hammersmith.

 

"The Gentleman all in Black" by Gerald Kersh is a familiar Faustian theme of selling one's soul to the devil. It's a short snappy tale to end, and brings to a conclusion a very varied and exciting compilation. Valancourt Books are amazing; They are bringing back into print and helping us discover rare and special books and by so doing introducing us to some amazing authors and their works. A special thanks to them for supplying me with a gratis copy for a fair and honest review and that is what I have written.