Grim Rhymes and Scary Tales
by Sebastian Crow
Grim Rhymes and Scary Tales contains just what the title advertises. The tales are in some instances written with a poetic cadence, and the rhymes often tell a tale more straightforward than your usual poetry.
In Coffin Sam we are introduced to an interesting character, Samuel Coffin. He is a bone man, one that collects and repurposes bones both animal and human. Despite his morbid trade, he considers himself a cut above his brethren, as he travels the countryside in his horse drawn wagon collecting the best bones from every village. He meets some interesting characters in his travels, especially on the night in question when he picks up a set of perfect skeletons from frequent trading acquaintance, Maggie. These bones have a lot to say about their death and their probable future. Yes, Sam can hear their gripes. They convince ol’ Sam to bring them up the road to the druid ruins so they can avenge for their deaths. It’s a fabulous horror tale with genuine interesting characterization and an engaging plot. One of my fave lines from the tale is “Lies pass his lips as easily as dung from a horse’s ass.”
Company Men sets up an apocalyptic future with poetic descriptions. It’s a world where an incurable outbreak leads to these massive body burning factories and we follow the short but poignant tale through the eyes of one of the plant workers.
The Legend of the Crying Woman leads into the story, Cry Baby, which is genuinely scary if you read them back to back. It drives home the local legend angle with great tension and atmosphere. Loving the Dead begins so disgusting and horrible; I had to catch the vomit at the back of my throat after the first few paragraphs. Of all the vile, repugnant, disparaging words I’ve ever read, this is by far the most disgusting… Of course, I had to keep reading.
In The Worm of Mysteries, we get a full blown Lovecraftian tale set in modern times. The Watcher in the Dark was even more Lovecraftian as Crow’s writing style adapts to Lovecraft’s, permeating the Elderitch Tale with a verbose texture as yet unforeseen, describing a hideous coming of ill-gotten fate. (See what I did there?). It gets even better for the Lovecraft fan as Procession of the Dhole tells about the aftermath of the Lovecraftian apocalypse as the Great Old Ones reclaim their dominance in this little corner of the Universe and the remnants of mankind struggle to eke out an existence.
Sebastian sure knows how to weave a creepy yarn. One aspect I like about the book is the amount of diversity in the stories. Some are tightly wound tales with deep character voice, some are set in days gone by, others are modern tales of a grand scale in nature. Added to the melee are short and entertaining rhymes that add disquiet to the collection. It’s a fun read with quality horror stories that will charm as well as thrill you.
Available on Amazon.com kindle or paperback