Ronald Kelly,
Midnight Grinding & Other Twilight Tales
(Cemetery Dance, 2008)

Midnight Grinding & Other Twilight Terrors collects 20 years of Ronald Kelly's short horror fiction. The stories are very much of a southern flavor, and aren't exactly cerebral or subtle. I was reminded of the old EC comics, which were fun, but a different medium entirely. Here's a sampling of what's to be found within:

An arrogant game hunter who ventures into the Louisiana swamps in search of a rare and deadly breed of spider.

A serial killer who chooses the wrong family to prey on.

A farmer who finds a very bad egg in his chicken coop.

A pair of hobos who stumble upon a vampire camp during the Great Depression.

Two young boys who unearth a skeleton, and with it an ancient curse.

Detectives who investigate a series of impossible apartment complex murders.

A man's whose headaches get worse and worse until....

You can probably complete that last one on your own. That's how I felt about most of this collection: that I'd seen it before. To make it worse, Kelly includes a brief introduction to each story where he essentially tells you what you're about to read, crushing whatever element of surprise might have been left. Writers: if you must discuss your inspirations or make other commentary, do it after the story!

This hefty but unsatisfying volume was published in a limited edition of 1,250 signed copies. Unless you've a yen for southern Christian b-movie horror, give it a pass.

book review by
Scott Promish

8 September 2012

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