Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the birth of his brainchild, Â the famous Cemetery Dance magazine, Richard Chizmar has assembled an anthology of brand new stories penned by some of his favorite authorsÂ who contributed to the magazine in the past. Unfortunately gratitude is not always rewarded, at least if we have to judge by the content of the volume.
What I mean to say is that the book includes some great stories (that Iâ€™ll mention in a minute) but also some inferior material unequal toÂ this reviewerâ€™s Â expectations. A few contributors appear definitely uninspired and seem to have sent in a story just to meet an obligation. The tales by the likes of Norman Partridge, Ronald Kelly, Steve Rasnic Tem and Peter Straub , clever as they may be, just didnâ€™t work at all for me. Â As for Clive Barkerâ€™s â€œDollieâ€ , aÂ short, darkly humorous fable, Â thatâ€™s Â fair enough ,but certainly Â not up to the authorâ€™sÂ usual level.
Thanks God some authors did respond to Chizmarâ€™s invitation with very good material, which Â fully justifies the price of the book.
Stephen King contributes â€œSummer Thunderâ€ a sad, tragic tale of loneliness and death, set in the post-apocalyptic atmosphere of a nuclear disaster. Another winner is â€œFlying Soloâ€, proving once again what a terrific storyteller Ed Gorman is. The story describes how two old men fighting against cancer fix a bunch of bad guys mistreating some of the Oncology Section nurses.
Brian James Freeman pens the excellent Â â€œAn Instant Eternityâ€, a tense and intense piece where a photographer toys with death to save a little girl from a very dangerous situation, while Jack Ketchum provides â€œThe Western Deadâ€ , an entertaining zombie western served with a touch of Egyptian history, and Bentley Little offers â€œIn the Roomâ€, an offbeat, enigmatic tale depicting the mysterious side of life.
Long live Cemetery Dance!