Dead Ends: Stories from the Gothic South

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Title:Dead Ends: Stories from the Gothic South

Writer: Edite by J.T. Ellison

Publishing House:  Two Tales Press

Date of Publication: September 28th 2017

Rating: 4 stars

“It had been during the Autumn Awakening, a yearly festival when the town sets out candles and candy corn, filling the air with the scents of burning leaves and pumpkin-spiced everything. A festival meant to awaken the slumbering gods of autumn and bring good tidings for the season.”

We all have read books and watched films about haunted houses. They provide an endless source of exciting, eerie, frightening stories and when done correctly, they may make us turn on every single light in our house. When done badly,though, they are a chore. Uninspiring and dull. Thankfully, this collection is anything but dull. These aren’t our average, playing-it-safe stories. Think about that: Many of us may remember a house of our neighborhood that looked mysterious and full of secrets. A house above which the sky was always grey. A house that made us take a longer route to avoid it. Perhaps, it was just old, its owners unwilling or unable to take care of it. Or……

The stories in this collection are developed over different themes, set in different periods. The characters are wonderful varied, the cities in which the stories take place change. There are only two common denominators: each story has features of the Southern Gothic genre and the setting is an old, dark house with an even darker past. So, the readers begin a journey to the hypnotic, sensual, haunting land of the Southern states, from the Mississippi Delta to the Appalachians.

A house provides the setting for an old family feud that carries on undiminished. Women avenging the ones who had assaulted them in a post a apocalyptic world. Horrors of the past that cannot be forgotten. A wronged young woman seeks revenge….All stories included in the collection are strong, but some are more memorable and unique. “The Death Doula” was my favourite. So haunting and frightening and moving… And then, “Stone Angels”, a terrifying story echoing “The Turn of the Screw”, “The Woman in Black” and “Burnt Offerings”.

Even those of us who are experienced readers of the genre will find something to love in the collection. A gathering of tales for the autumn nights of Halloween, the sultry summer nights, the freezing, blackened evenings of winter….

“But be sure to lock the doors and windows first…you never know what the road ahead might bring.”