B.T. Joy ‘Long Dead Before Dying’ Review
Written by: Myra Gabor
Publisher: Horrified Press; which I mention because the name makes me smile. I can imagine the publisher receiving stories that are so scary that it makes his hair stand on end while he reads them.
This is an anthology of short stories, most of which have previously appeared in various publications. They are presented in three sections of six stories each. You don’t have to read them in order, but each section has a theme.
The first section is introduced by part of a poem by Christina Rossetti – “very sweet it is to know he still is warm though I am cold”. The narrator is dead but is still aware and seems glad that she is mourned while dead, though not loved when alive. It sets the tone for the first six stories. Among the offerings is the tale of the cuckolded husband who gets his revenge, the dominatrix who realizes too late that submissives can feel love and even a statue that wants things to go his way no matter what the cost.
The second section is introduced by part of a poem by T.S. Eliot – “And two worlds meet, and intersect, and change”. He is speaking of the physical and supernatural worlds meeting. Again this sets the tone for the next six stories. A few of the tales are the one where we find a little girl who can travel at night by using her “Firefly Eyes” to the man who sees his soldier son’s death in France in World War One even though he is in Wales, to the stage star’s understudy who meets the original Dracula.
The third section starts with a poem by Dylan Thomas – “and death shall have no dominion”. Self explanatory even though these stories are about people who would probably be more comfortable if they were truly dead instead of going through their daily living hells.
The author draws us beautifully into wherever the scene has been set, whether it is the damp fields of Wales or the basement of a suburban American house. There are stories of horror and gore. Of sadness and revenge. Of love and fear.
There are no surprise endings. Everything follows quite logically within the parameters laid out in the story.
Feel free to dip in and start where you want.
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