Back From The Dead: The Legacy of The Pan Book of Horror Stories
Selected by Johnny Mains,
Published by Noose & Gibbet, 2010.
Our penultimate visit to the land of the dead as we revisit Back from The Dead: The Legacy Of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories by Johnny Mains. This time we start with :-
17 – The Children by Nicholas Royle
Nicholas Royle’s story reads like a holiday diary and not even a very exciting one. There is, however, a reasoning behind this slow pace as the author recreates the timeless feelings of a relaxing holiday. Couple this with an unsettling strangeness throughout, a dark aura if you like, and the story creates a strange dream like feeling in the reader.
18 – The Moment Of Death by Ken Alden
The moment of death is a fascinating historical tale as a professor explores the world of death and executions. Full of gory tales of premature burials it’s an excellent story which neatly blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction.
19 – A Caribbean Incident by Jane Louie
Arrogant young British naval officer, Barry Kingston finds himself adrift on the seas around Tobago Bay. Eventually he is washed up on an island inhabited by strange locals but soon finds there is more to the island than meets the eye. Jane Louie’s tale is richly descriptive and owes more than a passing nod to the H. Rider Haggard style of adventure tale.
20 – The Waiting Game by Craig Herbertson
Craig Herbertson tells us he was unaware he had been published in the Pan Books until eleven years after the event. Luckily, despite almost giving up writing at one point he kept going and stories like The Waiting Game are the result. This is an excellent story. Eduardo and Maria are in love but when a richer older woman, Catherine, enters their lives Eduardo spots an opportunity to make some money. An opportunity that doesn’t go quite as planned. With a very strong premise and sharp writing, this story is one of the highlights of the collection so far for me.
The four stories on display this month show one of the major strengths of this collection, its wide variety of styles and subject matter. From Caribbean islands to package holidays, from public executions to private torture they are all here and all realised in fine style. Next week is our final look at the book and I will summarise my thoughts then but for now you can read the reviews so far here, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 or get more information from Noose & Gibbet Publishing here.