Chilling Tales: Evil I Did Dwell -- Lewd Did I Live
Edited by Michael Kelly
Cover Artist: Les Edwards
Review by Mario Guslandi
Hades Publications Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781894063524
Date: 30 April 2011 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
First the good news: Michael Kelly, a fine writer and a competent editor, has started a new series of horror anthologies by Canadian writers, in the wake of the Don Hutchinson’s lamented Northern Frights. To that purpose Kelly has assembled an impressive line-up of Canadian new fiction stars such as Simon Strantzas, Richard Gavin, Gemma Files, Claude Lalumière, Barbara Roden, Brett Alexander Savory etc.
The bad news is that, unaccountably, many of the players in this virtually extraordinary team, seem to be slightly out of shape in the occasion of their debut game.
Fortunately, other team mates are performing well, so, in the end, despite some bitter disappointments by a few celebrated champions, Chilling Tales ends up being a fairly good anthology, the quality of which can only get better in the next issues.
Among the good stories I will mention Barbara Roden's "404", a Kafkaesque tale of office horror where employees mysteriously disappear one at the time, and Ian Rogers' "My Body", a modern ghost story with an undercurrent of sadness.
Leah Bobet's "Stay", revolving around the Wendigo myth, is often irritatingly obscure and occasionally rather confusing, but extremely dark and deliciously creepy in terms of atmosphere.
"Foxford" by Sandra Kasturi is a delightful story of family inconveniences finally turning into a supernatural tale, while "The Needle's Eye" by Suzanne Church is a moving, emotional piece taking place during a severe epidemic of an aggressive viral infection.
In the enjoyable "Tom Chestnutt's Midnight Blues" by Robert J. Wiersema, an unfaithful rock artist is haunted by the ghost of his former lover. In the perceptive "The Weight of Stones" by Tia V. Travis natural disasters and private tragedies perfectly entwine to form a melancholy tableau about the meaning of human existence.
The two best stories, in my opinion, are "Sympathy For the Devil" by veteran Nancy Kilpatrick, indeed a chilling tale where a man responsible for a deadly car accident becomes the object of a subtle but lethal revenge, and the excellent, gripping "Cowboy's Row" by Christopher K. Miller, featuring an animal husbandry technician who, in addition to being mobbed by his boss, has to face a severe ordeal on the road.
I understand that the second volume is already in the pipeline. I’m looking forward to it.