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Canyons helmsman Daniel Arthur Smith has pulled out all the stops for the Halloween edition of Canyons Of The Damned with three stories and a poem no less! First things first: if you are of a delicate disposition or faint of heart, walk away now. Actually no, run away-as fast as you can. These terrifying tales are some of the most gruesome I've seen in the Canyons series so far, and also some of the best written and Sam Peralta's poetry contribution is unique and entertaining. If blood and gore is your thing, you're in for a treat.!
In this tenth collection of tales, this special Halloween edition embodies the horrific spirit of the season as it pulls out all the ghastly stops to make sure it truly shocks and frightens you, starting with:
S. Elliot Brandis’ “Inside of Me; Or How I Became a Fugitive in my Own Country” – A traveler has been all over the world for over twenty hours and just wants to get to where he's going. But at a routine security check at the airport, things start to go horribly awry. Why is he being stopped and searched? The answers will stun and surprise you, proving to be gut-wrenching in both the literal and figurative sense. It thoroughly tests your intestinal fortitude with its no holds barred style, making me squirm in my seat due to the physical discomfort this story induces.
Samuel Peralta’s “Sonata Vampirica” – A vampire is stalking his victim, describing what’s going to happen and how. She, as the victim, slowly succumbs to his power. However, she has no plans for sweet surrender and something else blossoms in her heart as she dies and is reborn. All of this is told poetically in sonnet form, seducing you with its beautiful and enchanting prose, pulling you into its deep embrace while charming you with its tale of darkness.
Michael Patrick Hicks’s “Consumption” – Six men and women are gathered together in a Swiss manor, invited by celebrity chef Schauer for an exquisite ten-course meal. As Schauer creates each course, we’re delighted with decadence and detail as he prepares each one. But like the food, this is no ordinary meal. As more courses are consumed, something unexpected and strange starts to occur, but what is it? This tale revels in its gustatory sensations that are a feast for readers and their five senses. It also has a central mystery that suspensefully builds the tension and culminates into a shocking and disturbing conclusion that dropped my jaw in awe at its majesty and power.
Daniel Arthur Smith’s “The Lost Tapes – Beckett Ridge” – Government agents interview Harold, a survivor of a strange incident in his isolated compound, believing themselves insulated from civilization. Devoted to their religion, he describes a hellish occurrence the evening of Halloween, where demons came to slay them with awfully gruesome results! A mesmerizing and sickening tale of humanity and their unusual beliefs going haywire with a deliciously twisted ending.
Each story succeeds tremendously in generating scares, appalling situations and revolting developments that envelop you in each story. They are so potent that you truly feel your blood being sucked dry, your entrails being disemboweled and your body turned inside out while you read them. This is a grotesque and extraordinary collection, perfect for Halloween or for those who just like to read horror stories presented in the best pulp fiction tradition.
Please note I was given a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.
A fantastic group of horror stories, as usual. The first story is alternately hilarious and horrifying, and I don't recommend reading it during a meal. Come to think of it, the second one shouldn't be read while eating, either, but it's grotesquely terrifying. The final story, by Canyons curator Daniel Arthur Smith, is short and sweet (well, actually, what's the opposite of sweet?). And to top it off, there's a wonderfully chilling poem by the always engrossing Samuel Peralta!