Title: Death’s Realm
Author: Various Authors
Publisher: Grey Matter Press
Purchase from: Amazon
Review by: John Milton
Since their arrival on the scene in 2013, Grey Matter Press have delivered some truly memorable titles in the genre, my latest read from GMP, ‘Death’s Realm’ is another solid entry from the GMP stable.
As alluded to in this collection of sixteen tales, the central premise behind each story is death and indeed, what may await us all beyond that final physical chapter in our lives. ‘Death’s Realm’ comes with the following synopsis:
“There's something that awaits you on the road ahead. It lurks in the shadows at the intersection between the Here and the Hereafter. It's your own death.
It's at this crossroad between of this life and the next, where your life comes face-to-face with the specters, ghosts, haunts and lost souls of the dead. And it's here where they wage war for your very soul.
DEATH'S REALM contains sixteen stories of these battles between the living and the dead by an acclaimed selection of award-winning modern masters from the horror and speculative fiction genres.”
For me, the danger with such anthologies is that the principle subject matter can become somewhat repetitive. Thankfully, this is not the case with ‘Death’s Realm’, where the stories range from premeditated murder to Lovecraftian nightmares via ghosts, the walking dead and Somalian pirates!
In any such collection, there are going to be stories that capture the imagination of the reader more than others. The following were those that really stood out for me:
In ‘Haunter’, award winning author Hank Schwaeble delves into the psyche of a man haunted by his past, quite literally...
Lauded genre veteran and fast becoming known as the ‘King of Pain’, John F.D.Taff earns his crown in the touching and emotional ‘Some Other Day’.
‘Foxhole’ by J.G. Faherty sees soldiers in a future war fought on American soil fighting against the odds to survive but all is not as it seems for these brothers-in-arms.
Set during World War Two, ‘March Hays’ by Matthew Pegg is a deceptive story of horror, showing how far someone will go to protect the one they love.
Karen Runge and Simon Dewar team up in ‘High Art, to deliver a brutal tale of lust, murder and revenge.
Jay O’Shea’s ‘A Pirate’s Ransom’ takes the reader into the mind of a reluctant pirate as he joins a seasoned crew of marauders on an ill-fated seizure of a seemingly abandoned vessel. Despite being set off the Horn of Africa and me reading the story as I sat in near tropical conditions, O’Shea’s prose left me feeling the cold...
The variety and quality of stories contained in ‘Death’s Realm’ is quite exceptional but naturally, some tales will appeal to any given individual reader more than others. Additionally, it may be worthy of note that this collection ought to come with a caveat, as the subject matter may be a little sensitive for some.
At a little more than 300 pages and for only $3.08/ £1.99 on Kindle, ‘Death’s Realm’ represents real value for money, given the dearth of talent who have contributed to this outstanding collection of short stories.
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