"Midnight in the Graveyard" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing
Edited by Kenneth W. Cain
2019, 445 pages, Fiction
Released on October 15th, 2019
In his introduction to Midnight in the Graveyard, author Jonathan Janz (Children of the Dark) writes, “…Silver Shamrock is doing this thing right. They assembled a ferocious roster of talent for Midnight in the Graveyard and created an anthology certain to give you hours of pleasure and more than a few nightmares.” By God did Janz nail it. Look, I wear my love for anthologies right there on my sleeve and anyone who talks with me about them for more than three minutes will hear my love for Ellen Datlow. Every anthology I read gets compared to a Datlow-edited one. Right or wrong, I can’t help it. So how did Midnight in the Graveyard editor Kenneth W. Cain do? Exceptional.
This is going to be a tough one to review because I really want to talk about every single story, even knowing that you don’t want to read all that. So instead of praising the works of writers I’m already a a fan of – Chad Lutzke, Kelli Owen, Kealan Patrick Burke, Hunter Shea, and more – I’m going to start with those new to me. Like Shannon Felton, who kicks off the anthology with “Devil’s Dip”, a retelling of the classic “woman in white” urban legend, but far, far darker. A great writer can take something old and make it new again, and Felton did exactly that.
Another new-to-me author I discovered in Midnight in the Graveyard that I will definitely be reading more of is Brian Moreland. His delightful tale of a husband’s jealousy includes violence, just deserts, and alligators; things I both love and fear. It’s an age-old tale of a man discovering – and reacting to – his wife’s infidelity, but, like “Devil’s Dip”, Moreland makes that story his own.
Add Somer Cannon to my read-more-of list (although to be fair, I already have A Fresh Start side-eyeing me since I picked it up at a convention). “Join My Club” is her story of a neglected child who finds a friend with a lot in common is both tragic and terrifying.
Now for some of the old favorites I mentioned above. Kelli Owen’s “Ghost Blood” is an absolute blast not just because it’s a violent and bloody read, it’s part of her Wilted Lilies universe. I won’t say how, but fans of that series will knowingly smile and nod about the reference. The short description is a guy’s closing up shop at the drive-in he works at and ends up defending himself from a lunatic. But naturally there’s more to our hero than meets the eye.
Hunter Shea, arguably one of the best writers of monsters this side of Guy N. Smith, switches gears and delivers a hell of a ghost story with “Drown”. It centers on Eddie and Jessica, two ghost hunters with some real deal powers, as they investigate a Bed & Breakfast whose owners desperately don’t want it to be haunted. Shea hits you with a fantastic ending to a great story.
Look, I have to stop. I could go on for an easy thousand more words telling you how I’m confounded by how well Chad Lutzke describes the pain of death; how Kealan Patrick Burke’s prose is unnatural in how poetic it is; that I want to kick my own ass for not reading more Ronald Kelly; that I need to read more of and reintroduce myself to every author found in these pages. It would be easy for me to give much more praise to this anthology and the authors found within.
But I won’t.
Because I don’t want you reading any more of my dumb words. You need to get to reading Midnight in the Graveyard. Go. Now. WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?
This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.