Friday 16 January 2015

Vault of Evil reviews Charles Black's Black Ceremonies

There's a detailed review of Charles Black's short story collection, Black Ceremonies, on the Vault of Evil website:

 Charles Black - Black Ceremonies (Parallel Universe Publications, Jan. 2015)

Paul Mudie

The Obsession of Percival Cairstairs
Call of the Damned
The Revelations of Dr Maitland
Tourist Trap
Face to Face
The Coughing Coffin
The Madness Out of the Sea
Death on the Line
The Necronomicon
A Bit Tasty
A Fistful of Vengeance

Those that participate in the thirteen strange dark rites that comprise Black Ceremonies find themselves at the mercy of sinister forces.

Make an invocation to evil.
Witness the horrors of war.
Hear the sound of death.
Feel the hand of vengeance as it reaches out from the grave.

Are you ready to join the doomed and the damned?

“When it comes to dark and twisted tales, they don’t come much darker and more twisted than this. If you have a taste for the macabre, you really will be biting off as much as you can chew with this exciting debut collection from renowned editor and creator of the Black Books of Horror, Charles Black.” - Anna Taborska, author of For Those Who Dream Monsters

‘Charlie’s yarns are very entertaining.” Johnny Mains, editor of Best British Horror

Was going to wait a few weeks until I've a hard copy to read from, but could no longer resist a rematch with some old friends. Charles' stories are peopled by book-collectors, sadists, loners, frequenters of gentlemen's clubs and the most breathtakingly ill-equipped dabblers in the Black Arts. As gadfly-about-town turned cadaverous tramp Percival Carstairs confesses on his way to the madhouse. “I have meddled with things I do not understand and done things that no sane man would contemplate doing.”

The Revelations of Dr. Maitland: Begins like it means Lovecraftian business (it even references M. Pickman), but we are a very long way from the Cthulhu Mythos. It is 1972, and Dr. Andrew Maitland is experimenting with the powerful drug, Liao. Maitland is quick to reassure an outraged business associate that he's not dropped out, nor has he any intention of leaving Barbara for a hippy chick. Liao is no hallucinogenic, but a portal offering access to one's past and future lives. Maitland has recently witnessed the horrors of the trenches via the eyes of a young conscript, Private George Prendergast, and must share his knowledge or lose his sanity!

The Coughing Coffin: A curious episode in the life of Major Guthrie who interrupts his hunting and shooting vacation to pay a visit a detested old regimental colleague, Hadingly-Scott, at Morstan House. Sadly, the old rotter passed away the previous year following an ill-starred African jaunt, during the course of which he upset a powerful witchdoctor. When Guthrie hears a coughing in the vault, he suspects either foul play on the part of Hadingly-Scott's heir, or worse, premature burial ....

Tourist Trap: Amiable American tourist Joe Buchowski is getting on just fine with the friendly country folk of Hexhill village - until he innocently lets slip to the Reverend Dobson that his ancestors are reputedly buried in the local churchyard ....

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