Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2019
Posted on Kendall Reviews - February 6, 2019
Shadows At The Door: An Anthology, Edited by Mark Nixon, Caitlin Marceau, and Kris Holt, first published by Shadows At The Door Publishing in 2016, is one of my favorite books that I read last year. The short stories within this dark novel include the works of Pete Alex Harris, K.B. Goddard, Christopher Long, Mark Nixon, Kris Holt, Andrea Janes, Helen Grant, Caitlin Marceau, M. Regan, Mark Cassell, Daniel Foytik, J.C. Michael, and Cameron Trost. As you dive into this anthology, you will ‘immerse yourself in the eerie locales of Durham, Norfolk, Derbyshire, Rugby, the Scottish Highlands, Montreal, Pennsylvania, New York, Lake Superior, Rural Yorkshire, East Sussex and the darker corners of southern England.’
There are thirteen short stories in this anthology. Though I enjoyed them all and the reason this book is one of my favorite reads from last year, there are a few short stories that stood out to me the most: ‘Under Shiel Croft’ by Pete Alex Harris, ‘A Macabre Melody’ by K.B. Goddard, ‘The Gallow Glass’ by Christopher Long, Helen Grant’s ‘The Watchmaker’, and ‘The Commission’ by Mark Cassell.
‘Under Shiel Croft’, by Pete Alex Harris, is about a stubborn Auld man, as his thirteen-year-old daughter, Mhairi, calls him, an ancient book, and a mysterious creature who hides beneath their cabin.
K.B. Goddard’s ‘A Macabre Melody’ is set in Derbyshire, England, during one of the village's annual festivities known as the wakes and dressing of the wells; a tribute to God for the life-giving waters. Ned, the main character in the story, is pining after the beautiful Ellen, and when he learns that she has eyes for someone else, Ned does something that will haunt him forever.
‘The Gallow Glass,’ written by Christopher Long, is narrated by a mysterious man, a people watcher really, who travels a lot in his line of work, on buses, sharing a taxi with a stranger, searching for what he needs. But on this day, however, he’s riding on a commuter train that makes an unexpected stop in Rugby, and he has his eyes set on a Mr. Goodweather, as he calls him.
Helen Grant’s ‘The Watchmaker’ is about a married couple, Justin and Marietta, who are having their cottage renovated. When the construction workers come across a box beneath the floorboards, Justin becomes obsessed with what’s inside it.
‘The Commission’ by Mark Cassell is about a photographer who’s hired by an author to take photographs of Camber Castle, and when given specific instructions he must follow, the photographer agrees. I know this description is a bit vague, but I don’t want to spoil the story for you.
What I like about this anthology is that each short story takes place in a different part of the world. I enjoyed researching some of the locations mentioned in the book, specifically Durham Cathedral and Camber Castle. After reading the ‘The Gallow Glass’ by Christopher Long, I was interested in learning the meaning behind the title, other than being the name of a location as mentioned in the story, does the meaning itself ties into one of the characters in some way? Though I don’t have a definitive answer to that question, I am curious to find out.
In closing, if my review or the synopsis of Shadows At The Door: An Anthology sparks your interest, then, by all means, take a bite, and delve into the creative mind of the authors – you may be surprised what you find lurking within.