by William Meikle
This seems to be a collection of William Meikle’s stories pulled in from all other things he has written. There were many “I know that !” moments for me, having read a lot of his work now. Most of them are great, and the ones that aren’t are too short to really offend.
Cold as Death is an Augustus Seton story. He returns to an old friend’s side to fight an incarnation of Death that has come for him from a ten-year bargain made. This story has amazing fantasy elements that I couldn’t get enough of, and it seems I can’t find the collection of this character on kindle, and that made me sad. A reaper that brings cold death, a flaming sword, I just loved it…
The Kelp is one of his “blob” stories where a mad scientist finds a Shoggoth and combines it with kelp to make a weapon for the military. You know where this is going.
Frankie, Dracula, and the Wolfman Walk Into a Bar is okay. A terrible band dressed in costumes makes a deal with a man in a Satan costume that looks too real. I’m sure you also can figure out where this one is going.
The Siren’s Song, a man sick of London, gets away on holiday to the coast of Scotland, where he encounters a very ahem, forceful mermaid creature. This idea is also used in The Midnight Eye Files Series The Sirens, and I couldn’t tell you which came first, but I can tell you… Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.
The Hair Belt is about a journal written in 1755 about a soldier’s encounter with a strange man that owns a belt that turns one into a werewolf. I suppose it’s okay to just outright say it seeing as how the name and certainly the big picture of a werewolf before the story spoil it already. The story is a really well-done adventure, and this journal appears in The Midnight Eye Files Series book The Skin Game. (Which both name and picture of a werewolf on the cover give it away as well 🙂 )
Ghost Nor Bogle Shalt Thou Fear, after a power saw accident, a man is rushed to the hospital where a Grim Reaper-like being is found… It’s not too bad.
Professor Challenger: The Cornish Owlman, well, I’m not too familiar with the character, so I can’t comment on the accuracy, but it’s a fun adventure story. Carnacki and his electric pentacle make an appearance too. “Some see the owl, some only see the mouse.”
The Angel is a pretty meh story. I’m not sure why it’s in here. I guess it’s only to set up the themes in the final story in the collection. Thankfully it’s short. A man finds a winged skeleton believed to be an angel.
The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of is a weird story about a man, not sure if he’s a movie producer or just in special effects, tasked with making a scary giant gorilla monster for a movie. After he fails spectacularly, a man named Mr. Mkele, for some reason, appears and tells him the pelt he has stolen was once a shape-shifting sorcerer. It’s just a really goofy story that’s kind of fun.
The Dragon’s Bargain is about a man sent to a cave by a woman to obtain its spit. Why? Well, it’s really short, so it won’t take long to find out.
Wee Robbie is a wonderfully done story about a man and his pregnant wife taking a vacation to, yet again, the coast of Scotland. The scenery and atmosphere in this one are well written. I was wondering why I had read it before, and then I realized it’s the beginning of William Meikle’s other book, Eldren- The Book of the Dark. It turns out he took out the strange, deformed little people in this and swapped them for vampires in that. I greatly prefer this version; it’s so much more gross and effective.
The Silent Dead, back to August Seton! He brings his flaming sword to a cursed castle, and it’s awesome. Loads more fantasy stuff, a flaming sword, zombies, curses, yes, please!
Ah, finally, the last story, the Fallen. It’s a fantasy/horror western about a group of soldiers transported to some otherworldly battleground after they are hit by a strange vortex. They get caught up in a battle of angels against demons. Lots of action and I liked it.
So ends that long review. This is a great collection full of adventure and action, with horror sprinkled in. Most of the stories aren’t scary, but it’s so full of imagination and fun, so who cares?
**** Four out of Five Stars (Good)