After his excellent debut collection 'Charnel Wine' I had lost trace
of Richard Gavin, an Ontario resident with an extraordinary talent
for producing original and disquieting dark fiction.
This second collection seems like a letter from an old friend who went
missing for a while and now is getting in touch again. And catching up
is so easy that it's like he never left. He's back and telling his stories
once again and you can't help savouring every tale because he's a hell
of a storyteller.
He will take you in a captivating journey in the depths of pure evil
('The Pale Lover') and will upset you and unnerve you by portraying a
creature who proves to be much more than a simple "campfire stuff" (
'The bellman's Way').
He will scare you with the dark and atmospheric 'Down Among the Relics',
where horrors from the cellar haunt a cottage by the woods during a snowy
Christmas, and will move you with 'Daniel', an extraordinary piece in
which a man's enormous love for his unfortunate son makes him endure
the most terrible ordeals.
He will make you uneasy by probing the very core of human condition in
the outstanding 'Strange Advances' featuring a grey, sullen Venice.
Even when the stories don't seem quite accomplished, Gavin's talent sparkles
and haunts. This is the case with 'A Form of Hospice', where a cancer
patient hopelessly pursues an effective treatment by unorthodox methods
and with 'Beneath the House of Life', an obscure tale of subtle horror
linked to an old children book.
Gavin has everything a good writer is supposed to have: he has original
ideas, can properly develop his plots and manages to create plausible,
I've enjoyed the stories in the extreme and I'm sure you will if you
take the time to discover this comparatively newcomer who's already such
a mature author to be included in the limited elite of modern masters
of horror short fiction.