"Welcome to Count Gore De Vol's Tomb of Dark Delights. I'm J. L. Comeau, horror writer and resident Tomb Keeper. I have been charged with the daunting task of sorting and cataloging the Count's vast library of horror, science fiction and fantasy. Take a torch from the wall and follow me down the stone stairway into the darkness deep beneath the Dungeon. It's cold and damp down here--perfect for the kind of reading we're going to do. Never mind the shambling figures in the shadows, they're probably just some friends of ours looking for a good book. If you click on the cover, you'll be taken to a wonderful place where you can buy the book.
Now, let's reach into the musty stacks and see what we can find..."
(Clicking on the covers gives you more information and prices from Amazon.com and other outlets.)
We're tripping the dark fantastic this week, TombRats, with two mind-bending and delightful fantasy novels from a master of the genre, James Morrow! Enjoy!
LAST WITCHFINDER by James Morrow
This may well be this author's magnum opus. It is the magnificent tale of early American witch trials from a completely new point of view. Young Jennet Stearne's widower father is what is called a "witchfinder" a paid bounty hunter who is sent from England to Massachusetts to rid the countryside of witches during the famous period of hysteria that made Salem famous. Jennet's beloved Aunt Isobel's scientific studies do not uphold the witchfinders' standard methods, such as pricking the moles of terrified old women and immersing them, bound, into water to ascertain their demonic natures, and Isobel is herself condemned as a witch as burned alive as Jennet looks on, horrified. Jennet is unable to forget her aunt's defiant denouncements of the rationality of witch hunts as she burns on the pyre, and what follows is Jennet's quest for the truth, which places her in the path of some of the 17th century's most renowned scientists and statesmen--she even hooks up with a rowdy young horn-dog by the name of Benjamin Franklin. This is a cerebral romp through the Enlightenment, a savvy and wide-screen look at history that is a joy and a revelation. This is one of those wonderful novels that you begin to read more slowly as the conclusion approaches because you never want it to end.
TOWING JEHOVAH by James Morrow
This novel was my introduction to the sublime pleasures of Mr. Morrow's unmatchable fantasies. The premise of TOWING JEHOVAH is outrageously outlandish, yet so masterfully wrought. Here's the plot: God has died and His two-mile-long divine corpse has fallen from Heaven and into the Atlantic Ocean. His despondent angels have prepared a secret tomb in the Arctic, and the Vatican sends forth the angel Raphael to New York City to hire Anthony Van Horne, the disgraced supertanker captain who was at the helm of a mammoth vessel that spilled its oil in a catastrophic accident some years earlier. The Vatican, who wishes to keep the death of God quiet, sends Captain Van Horne forth in his repaired supertanker for a discreet mission to tow the fallen deity to His final resting place. It's a difficult mission, however, because the Divine Corpse must be protected from not only the natural predators of air and sea, but the captain must also fend off crazed saboteurs, an irate feminist girlfriend and a crew that seems bent upon a chaotic mutiny. Towing Jehovah is hell of a job, to say the least, and this wildly satirical comedy pokes fun at human foibles and skewers with a hilariously sharp stick all things we hold, well...sacred. Brilliantly witty, breathtakingly told.
Halloween may be over, but the treats continue down here in the Tomb! Tonight, TombRats, I prove once again that some of the very best dark fiction being published today is coming from the independent small presses. Enjoy!
ANGELS by Tony Richards
Although this is the third novel published by Bram Stoker award winning Dark Regions Press set in Tony Richards’ popular town of Raine’s Landing, MIDNIGHT’S ANGELS can be read as a stand-alone novel without any confusion. To outsiders, Raine’s Landing, Massachusetts, seems like a normal enough New England town—but it’s anything but normal. Back before the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, witches and hex-folk fled to Raine’s Landing to wait out the Burning Times, but with all the powerful forces contained in one town, Raine’s Landing became a focal point of magic, light and dark. The town has a burgeoning population that is full to bursting because the inhabitants of Raine’s Landing are cursed. No one born there can ever leave. And suddenly the town is overtaken by horrific winged beasts summoned by an evil entity that predates time itself, the Dweller in the Dark. And townsfolk are being transformed into mindless, rampaging homicidal creatures. Former policeman Ross Devries, Raine’s Landing’s main defender, is up against a foe that may be more than he and his on-again-off-again girlfriend/sidekick, Cassie, can handle. It’s going to be necessary for Ross and Cassie to form some very bizarre allegiances they never would have thought possible if they are going to save Raine’s Landing, and possibly the world. This is a high-octane, hold-onto-your-hat, crowd-pleasing dark thriller with plenty of laughs written with brio and style. For more information about the author, please visit his website at www.richardsreality.com.
LITTLE BOY LOST by T M Wright
I have been a fan of T M Wright’s dark fiction for decades (STRANGE SEED, A MANHATTAN GHOST STORY), and I am quite delighted that Uninvited Books has reissued his 1992 novel, LITTLE BOY LOST. Written in dreamlike prose, the reader is submerged into a surreal landscape of horrors that is every parent’s worst fear: a missing--possibly murdered--child. Miles Gale is plunged into a waking nightmare of desperation and anguish when his little boy, Aaron, suddenly vanishes from the backseat of the family car. Even though Aaron’s older brother, CJ (who was with Aaron in the car that day), possesses a photographic memory, CJ cannot remember what happened to his little brother. The authorities feel that CJ is repressing a terrible truth about his brother’s disappearance, an unspeakable crime that his father may have committed. Miles thinks he knows what has happened to his son, but he also realizes that no one will believe him. Miles suspects that Aaron was kidnapped—by a demon. While the police are busy trying to make a case against Miles, Miles must race to rescue his son from an unimaginable predicament. The overarching atmosphere of dread is palpable in this brilliantly wrought and exquisitely suspenseful dark thriller that will make your heart race and your palms sweat. LITTLE BOY LOST is a gem of dark literature created by one of the great masters of the form. Don’t miss it.
To get even more information about these titles, including some of the best prices on the Internet, just click on each of the book covers and you'll be connected to
To visit the individual writer's website, just click on any underlined name.
About the Tomb Keeper (Or, who is this person of mystery)
J. L. (Judy) Comeau is an award winning short story writer whose work has appeared internationally in major horror and dark fantasy anthologies such as the Borderlands series, Best New Horror, The Years' Best Horror, the Hot Blood series, and the Dark Voices series in the UK. She is an active member of the Horror Writer's Association, and she lives in the Washington, DC area where she also teaches short story writing. Click on FIREBIRD to read one of her most anthologized stories.
To learn more about the Horror Writer's Association, just click on their logo!