US Book Review of Manuscripts of the Macabre

US BOOK REVIEW of Manuscripts of the Macabre

Manuscripts of the Macabre
by Maurice M. McKiernan
Xlibris

reviewed by Michael Radon
“Instantly, Sweeney’s squinting eyes of bewilderment turned to round portals of horror, that of which his most drunken nightmares had never produced.”

With tales of ghostly lovers who are not what they seem to be and a standoff between two neighbors each with a shady past, this book collects a half-dozen short stories; all with a dark atmosphere. The first half of the book tells the tale of Karl Quinn, a corrections officer whose life is changed forever for the worse on the night of a cannibal’s execution. After being bitten by the murderer, Karl begins suffering post-traumatic stress and relies on a steady valium intake to function, to the chagrin of his wife. Eventually, things reach a boiling point both in Karl’s family and within Karl himself. Other stories range from supernatural occurrences of hellish proportions to minimalist tales of human suspense and doubt. Offering multiple selections that are thematically similar yet stylistically different, this book will give readers a little bit of everything regarding the dark and mysterious.

Readers who love a good suspense or horror tale should be satisfied with the short stories offered up here. Each of the selections shows inspiration from the classics of its genre combined with a fresh and new perspective. Stories like “Red Lights in the Fog” and “The Purging Storm of Hell” leave readers unsure of what exactly faces the characters or how (or if) they can survive their circumstances. The common threads weaving these chapters together are not narrative; each of them stands on its own but is complimented by the others to craft a weird world where one strangeness is outdone by the next. The end result is a brief but thrilling ride that sticks with the reader after the final page.