A young woman sees an approaching figure in her time-lapse photo project. A small town’s strange illness seems to stem from the local cemetery. Two boys make a grim discovery about death and decay when they sneak into a funeral parlor. AT THE CEMETERY GATES: YEAR ONE is an entertaining and eerie short story collection for fans of the strange, macabre, and supernatural.
– S & S –
At the Cemetery Gates Review
I like horror anthologies and collections. A lot. So when this one came our way I was all over it. It didn’t disappoint. It’s a good, solid collection. I can’t really say it’s stellar but it was a very enjoyable read and made me interested in reading more by them.
However, no collection is perfect and there were a few stories that I didn’t care for. That usually happens with a collection though. Not everything can please everyone. I don’t usually knock any stars off just because I didn’t care for a story. If it was written well then I figure someone else will probably like it. Collections are a bit hard to rate so I like to go through them one by one and then sum up the collection at the end. So let’s get started, shall we?
A Dark and Desolate Recurrence – 4 Stars
A good ghost story with a nice twist at the end
A Casket for My Mother – 3 Stars
It will certainly leave you wondering about some of those Crowdfunding posts.
Time’s Harbinger – 4 Stars
Reminded me a bit of The Mothman Prophecies with a dash of time travel.
A Tale of Palpable Violence – 4 Stars
A very nice twist on the ‘Killer in the Backseat’ urban legend.
The Burial Vault – 4 Stars
A good story with a suspenseful build and a nice twist at the end.
Passion’s Paroxysm – 4 Stars
I loved this story. It had a great ending. Very ‘Tales from the Crypt’ and I loved it.
The Hermit of Russian Lake – 3 Stars
I wanted to rate this story higher because it was well-written but I really didn’t get the ending. Maybe I’m just thick in not getting it but it really confused me.
A Late Blight – 2 Stars
It had a good momentum going for it but the ending twist fell a tad flat for me.
Delaying Decay – 3 Stars
A creepy little tale but it had me wondering how no one in the town ever noticed visibly changed people?
The Girl with the Crooked Tooth – 3 Stars
Written as an homage to Edgar Allan Poe but it was a little hard for me to see where that came in except for maybe the all-consuming obsession and madness. That’s hardly unique to Poe, though.
New Year’s Eve, What a Gas! – 1 Star
I don’t really like to say this but the whole premise was stupid. I will explain why I’m rating it so harshly but I don’t want to give away the story for anyone, so highlight the following area for Spoilers: A woman finds a diary that she assumes is a recipe book and makes a ‘sauce’ for a party they’re going to. The casserole is put into the host’s oven and pretty soon everyone is gasping for air and getting rashes so the EMS is called. The surprise ‘reveal’ is that it wasn’t a cookbook at all but a recipe for mustard gas. At which point I was thinking, “Ok, maybe she mistranslated it and how could kitchen ingredients create mustard gas?” But no. She translated it perfectly correctly and obviously considered ammonia, bleach and other chemicals as perfectly fit for a sauce. When her husband asks her how she could have thought that her response is that “She’s a tenured gender studies professor, not the head of Cordon Bleu Culinary School!” You would have to not just be a bad cook to think ammonia is consumable. You would have to be an idiot of the largest magnitude and probably would not have lived to adulthood. End Spoiler. I honestly have no idea what the author was trying for with this story. If they were going for humorous, it wasn’t. If it was supposed to be social commentary, I have no clue what they were trying to get at. It’s a story that, frankly, the collection could do without.
The Call is Coming from Inside the House – 2 Stars
Just kind of meh for me. Too many ‘twists’ thrown in for such a short story and the whole ‘Melinda the –” was just kind of weird.
An Epistle from the Dead – 3 Stars
Definitely another story that has a very ‘Tales from the Crypt’ feel to it. A terrible discovery leading to an even more terrible decision. With a horribly ironic twist at the end.
Pictures of a Perpetual Subject – 4 Stars
An excellent, creepy story and kind of sad.
I was teetering between a 3 and a half Stars and 4. When it’s that close I’d rather bump it up than down. But man, that ‘New Year’s Eve, What a Gas’ story really brought it down. Altogether it gets 4 stars because it made me push the other two books by them up to the top of my to-read list.
4 out of 5 Skulls