Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Leslie Allin Lewis (1899-1961), a war pilot in both world wars, was the author of a bunch of supernatural and macabre stories, first assembled eighy years ago in a book entitled “Tales of the Grotesque; reprinted in 1994 and 2003 in limited hardcover editions by Ghost Story Press and now available again, cortesy of Shadow Publishing (and for the first time in paperback).
The volume collects the original ten stories plus “The Author’s Tale”, appeared in a couple of horror anthologies in the ‘30s, a dark piece describing how a man’s attempt to get revenge on an ungrateful and unfaithful wife brings about a nightmarish experience. Among the original set of stories, I’d like to mention “Hybrid”, a strong, very disturbing portrait of a man possessed by an alien, evil creature and “The Child”, a sinister ghost story where ancient tragedies and past horrors return to haunt the present.
Other excellent tales are the creepy “The Meerschaum Pipe”where the former house of a murderer keeps exerting its evil, tragic inflence on the new owner and “Animate in Death”a supernatural tale running all the time on the edge of implausibility, yet endowed with a spellbinding power.
Finally, “Haunted Air” and “The Iron Swine” two vivid ghost stories told to the fellow members of a Flying Club, report freak, uncanny accidents taking place respectively in a “cursed” flying area and on a wayward aircraft.
By all means a delightful collection.