Dark Tales is a collection of short stories. Ronnie Shaw’s The Dead and the Dying isn’t anything I’ve read before from the author. It trapezes from New Orleans scary voodoo set back to Atlanta where the story plays out. It smells of Stephen King and the paranormal, think Desperation. Only the bare essentials are left in Ronnie’s story, but he doesn’t waste time in telling it. The result is a dynamite short story that leaves the reader with a dark twist. It’s almost a perverse twist – point of reference here is Cramped Quarters series. Without spoiling the story, lets just say that Ronnie flies with previous characters from his other books.
The Petrified Girl, The Challenge of the Killer and The Embalmer’s Apprentice all by Steve Cartwright will remind you of H.P. Lovecraft, The Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt all wrapped in one. Cartwright can tell a story and he knows how to scare the bejesus out of you. I liked The Petrified Girl very much, it was a masterpiece of story telling. Only the truth is revealed in the last dying breath.
The Reincarnation of Lou Gehrig by Joe Eliseon reads like an autobiography. He ruminates on the meaning of faith and the dogmas of religion. His friend, a very good sportsman, reveal’s he’s been reincarnated as a famous base ball player. Joe is the brains, and his friend is the brawns, and they have an understanding, never show each other up. But Joe’s younger brother Matt isn’t in on this agreement. And what follows… no one is murdered, there’s no supernatural shenanigans… lets just say when the power went off someone’s faith was tested.
The next tale isn’t Broke Back Mountain. The Horses of Paiute Canyon by D. A. Grady is a real cowboy story. He knows his stuff and the details down to his horse (Horse) and dog (Sassy) really convince the reader that he’s an old ranch hand. You can smell the Nevada countryside and feel palpable anticipation rising as Grady sets up for camp just before sunset. As to what can go down in the wilderness, first scenario is encountering ghoulish ghost riders in Paiute Canyon, or secondly, John Wayne riding in the sunset with a buxom blonde on his saddle, or both.
Seriously, when Sassy his dog runs down a trail and into Paiute Canyon, the cowboy finds it strange that his dog is scared with its tail between its legs. Native ghost stories might just haunt this Canyon. Stick close to the camp fire and don’t be scared by shadows of tumble weed, because nearby the shrilling sound of horses is approaching.
The Two Hundred by K. Edwin Fritz, is a bizarre story. Dark woods, a camp fire, a lake in the back ground, and the camp leader as ghost story teller are the ingredients of sad and spooky story. The Two Hundred is the mascot for Dark Tales.
Adding weight to the horror anthology is Shelter by William D. Prystauk. Anyone who has seen the TV series Walking Dead will relate to this story. Stuck in a shelter, short on food, and suffering from the stifling heat, the few survivors wonder when the National Guards will come to save them. Tension is building up, as the ghouls above ground sniff out the underground shelter…
Ronnie Shaw has collected the best stories from six authors he’s interviewed on his radio show and pulled them together for this collection. There’s a dark mysterious force lurking in the woods: dark dark tales.