I’ll warn you now, this review may be a little swayed by the fact that I’ve been to many of the places mentioned in the stories. However, since one of the stories is my own, it could be swayed by that as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed every story in the book, which in reading anthologies, is not often the case. Beth Brown and Phil Ford did an amazing job putting this gem of a collection together. Each tale presents the reader with a new horrific tale based in Richmond. From vampires to ghosts to horrifying humans, the compilation presents levels of creepiness that one doesn’t expect to find close to home. The descriptions of the stories are sparse because I think you should read them yourself. Yes, they’re all that good.
Charles Albert’s tale “Vampire Fiction” tells the story of a vampire fan girl a little too caught up in the genre. His portrayal of the unusual suspect has me wondering about coworkers.
“The Rememberist” by Michael Gray Baughan is a chilling tale of how one man reminds others of those who have gone before. Using a Civil War Richmond as a backdrop, Mr. Baughan does a wonderful job making one’s skin crawl.
Beth Brown’s modern retelling of one of Poe’s tales in “Mr. Valdemar” wraps the reader in a web of intrigue as she winds us through the tale of mind over matter.
I made the mistake of reading Dale Brumfield’s “The Third Office” just before going to sleep. Those were some of the creepiest nightmares I’ve had in a while. His tale tells the story of a couple being lured into a timeshare.
Phil Budhan’s story “Sig’s Place” takes us to another time and fully immerses the reader in his tale of a rather disturbing club act. I’ll never look at ventriloquists the same way.
“Hunting Joey Banks” by Meriah Crawford tells of a vampire private investigator with a strong dislike for paperwork. The ending was a total surprise to me.
James Ebersole’s “The Velveteen Machine” is a creepy story about finding one’s muse. Having seen him read an excerpt before I read the story myself tripled the creepiness. His performance gave a chilling voice to one character in particular.
“231 Creeper” by Phil D. Ford, which is the first story in the book that utilizes the legend of the Church Hill tunnel collapse, had me up half the night turning the lights on and off, checking the corners for stray shadows. His story tells a tale of a girl in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Daniel Gibbs’ story “Gamble’s Hill” illustrates a good reason to pay attention to how our pets feel. The characters reminded me so much of people I knew, it was eerie just for that.
“The Conjuror” by Andrew Goethals is a terrific story about the magic of Richmond with a somewhat twist of an ending.
Eric Hill’s “The Bike Chain of Fate” tells of the link between bike messengers and their rides. It’s more than just a piece of metal and a bunch of gears.
“Everything Must Go” by Melissa Scott Sinclair mourns the loss of Circuit City from a very different angle.
Dawn Terrizzi’s “Dirt and Iron” is the second story in the collection to draw on the collapse of the Church Hill train bridge tunnel. Her tale tells of a survivor who turns his back on the tragedy.
“Maggie” by Amber Timmerman is a tale of a man trying to make a connection to world in which he can’t quite connect. The details are cringeworthy.
If you’ve ever lived in Richmond or spent any amount of time there at all, buy the book. It’s worth the read. And if you haven’t been to Richmond, buy it anyway. The stories are good even if you don’t know where they are. It’s an amazing collection.