Book Review :
Richmond Macabre- Nightmares From the River City
edited by Beth Brown & Phil Ford – Cover art by Noah Scalin
When most think of cities with a dark, haunted history Richmond, Virginia does not leap immediately to mind. They conjure up thoughts of places like New Orleans, Savannah, Salem… but Richmond has its own dark tales to tell. One need only peer beneath the cosmopolitan skirt it adorns to see the macabre and chilling secrets hiding just beneath the surface of the River City. This anthology pays literary homage to those dark corners with originality and panache.
The fifteen stories contained in this anthology each make reference to or are inspired by an icon, legend or place that is part of Richmond’s past- an essential part of its texture. For the Richmond native, the familiarity of place adds an extra chill to the tales, but even those not familiar with the city will enjoy them from a pure storytelling vantage.
Rather than give you an overall view of the anthology in its entirety, I have included a listing of the stories included and a one line impression from each as I read them. Hopefully you will consider this a tantalizing glimpse beneath the tent of Richmond Macabre and encourage you to buy your own ticket for the show…
Inside Richmond Macabre :
Vampire Fiction by Charles Albert– The dangers of taking a literary obsession just a bit too far.
The Rememberist by Michael Gray Baughn – A chilling tale of the grisly side of war and a sensation-seeking journalist.
Mr. Valdemar by Beth Brown- In homage to Edgar Allan Poe, we are reminded that a last request may have unforeseen power.
The Third Office by Dale Brumfield – A twisted tale of time share that reminds us, if something is too good to be true, it usually is.
Sig’s Place by Phil Budahn- A peek into the dark and seedy underside- where the illusions are sometimes a bit more real than you think.
Hunting Joey Banks By Meriah L. Crawford – A tale that reminds us that karma will win out in the end… and that justice can taste sweet.
The Velveteen Machine by James Ebersole – A reminder to be careful where you look for inspiration.
231 Creeper by Phil Ford – Sometimes a dream isn’t really a dream – especially when it’s a nightmare.
Gamble’s Hill by Daniel Gibbs – Reminds us that cities, and especially old homes, have secrets and traditions that will be upheld- no matter what may come.
The Conjurer by Andrew Goethals – Sometimes knowledge of a certain kind can be a costly thing.
The Bike Chain of Fate by Eric Hill – An eternal lesson in the wisdom of treating your vehicle with respect.
Everything Must Go by Melissa Scott Sinclair – Call it Hell, Purgatory or just the abysmal limbo of being stuck in a place you hate… forever.
We’re History by Rebecca Snow – With a nod to George Romero, we are shown what a second burning of Richmond may look like.
Dirt & Iron by Dawn Terrizzi – Sometimes you can’t escape the dark places no matter how far and fast run.
Maggie by Amber Timmerman – We all have our fatal attractions… some more than others.
Richmond Macabre- Nightmares From the River City will be released by Iron Cauldron Books with a launch party at Poe’s Museum – 1914-16 East Main Street, Richmond Va. 23223
For more information about the museum, go to : http://www.poemuseum.org/index.php
For more information about Richmond Macabre, check out their website:
On an additional note, all publisher profits from the sale of the anthology are donated bi-annually to Richmond, Virginia non-profit organizations who promote literacy, visual arts, music and historic preservation. You can recommend such an organization for consideration by going to the Richmond Macabre website. So, this isn’t just a great read, it’s a worthy endeavor.
Simple Pleasures Books highly recommend you put this one on your reading list. A perfect companion to those dark nights…
Review by Brenda Seward