By Bob Milne on December 29, 2016
The Valley of Sex by Joseph Rubas was an early favorite for me, a vintage pulp-style horror/adventure story in the vein of Howard and Lovecraft, with some nasty supernatural sex deep within subterranean ruins. DOSE by Marc Shapiro was an odd one, with some really stellar moments (the insatiable whore with no face upon her smooth, egg-like face stands out for me), but I expected something more from the climax.
The Chasm Bridged by Carson Winter was another favorite, a haunted house story that effectively shocks with what you can’t see, before taking an unexpected twist. Easily the most human, most contemporary story in the collection, An Identity For Sam Piles by Spinster Eskie is also the most surprising, in that it effectively humanizes a monster, and starts building our empathy before ever engaging our disgust.
The next three stories fell flat for me, but the collection ends on a high note with a pair of Jack the Ripper tales. The Woman in Red by B Thomas was my favorite of the two, giving us a very sad, yet somewhat sexy motivation for the murders, while The Adler Street Boarding House by Kel y Evans takes a more subtle approach, setting up a soft climax that teases a fictional parallel with Edgar Allan Poe.
While it doesn’t sustain the erotic shock value of the first two tales, Deadman’s Tome Book of Horrors II is a better collection for branching out and really delving deep into the depravity of the genre.