Written by: Vitina Molgaard
“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” -Woody Allen
Mr. West has brought to life eight delightful stories. Are you in the mood to be frightened, terrorized or shocked? Fear and extreme twists and an examination of human capacity rest within these tales, just waiting to be devoured by consumers. I have a pleasant dilemma with this though, I enjoyed every story so much that it makes it hard to select what I really want to illuminate here.
Well let’s just jump in and begin. ‘Cecil and Bubba Meet a Succubus’… Who would have ever thought that infuriating a drunken woman to the point in which she placing a curse on you could lead to what may well be your salvation? Certainly not our two title characters here, who find themselves in a position that will put that very idea to the test as they come up against the Succubus. Sometimes bad things lead to strange conclusions.
‘Put on a Happy Face’, reminds us that living in a world with your older brother as your caretaker and provider can make for a somewhat difficult life. Young Susie shares a dismal home with her brother Billy. He has endured a life altering change that now commands the very core of his being. To communicate with Susie he uses masks to express his moods as well as entertain her. She loves all but one, and she’s learned to avoid it at all costs. A wise decision, and one you would also need to respect were you to encounter Billy under the veneer of the mask.
Let’s take a moment out for a ‘Midnight Snack’. What a delicious little adventure for Calvin Winslow. Not all that happy of a man, he finds himself lost and hungry, wandering down the road, annoyed and self-absorbed. So much so that his meanderings lead to a very disturbing place. I thought I had a reasonable grip on this tale but Calvin’s character provided me with a twist that puts a nasty taste in my mouth.
You knew we were getting to the titular, ‘What Price Gory?’ right? Wow, this one is an astounding piece of fiction. We as the readers meet Trevor Hughes, an egomaniacal self-centered man, who loves nothing better than himself. Trevor’s goal is to be known as the all-time world’s best horror novelist. Upon the death of Andy Cohn, the man currently holding that title, Mr. Hughes finds himself dealing with the ghost of Cohn, who proposes a form of duel. The prize is the title, but the question is, what price is he willing to pay for such stature?
I could easily continue on here because there is not one single story I did not fully enjoy in the collection, from Car Nex to the special preview Mr. West included at the end. Trust me on this one, you will not be disappointed. Pick it up as soon as it is available.