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Land of Bones by Glenn Rolfe is a 14 story collection of horrific shorts and novellas. Let’s jump right in and break these down in order:

 

Ghosts of Spears Corner – Two boys, days from starting middle school in the 1950s, decide to break into the boarded up Spears House, the local haunted house. Doing their very best to keep their fears at bay, the boys discover a dark secret locked away. A fun read that, even though took place in the Fifties, reminded me of my childhood. Sometimes you just have to see what it’s like behind those boarded up windows on a big, gothic looking house.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Simon – Ally has a pet worm named Simon. He is a worm, right?

4 out of 5 stars

Not Kansas Anymore – Kick ass story about bats that take over a small town and young Colton wants to see for himself what happened over at Pedro Field. What sounds like a voice crying for help mesmerizes him to a cave on the side of a hill. How long he had been walking, he didn’t know. What he did know, is that what was in that cave didn’t need any help. A great story that stays with you long after you’ve put it down.

5 out of 5 stars

Fire – A snippet of what it would be like if a life and death situation forced you into making a choice of which lives you were going to save. A thought provoker.

4 out of 5 stars

Welcome to Paradise – The start of a Natural Born Killers type of relationship. Twisted story that feels like it’s chapter one of something bigger.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

Avenging Kitten – A story about what can happen when people, all hell-bent about a particular cause, happens to poke their nose into a situation that’s none of their business. A chuckle gets four stars.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Charley Sings the World Away – The end of the world is here and it’s sad to watch as your little girl is oblivious to the big picture.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

The Fixer – A new take on the age-old proverb of be careful what you wish for. Evil likes to prey on the desperate. Even though it felt like familiar territory, it was fun to see what twists Rolfe put into it.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

The Rooster – I’ve always loved the AIC song and thought the lyrics were powerful. They fit this story like a glove about losing a loved one that you thought was indestructible. It feels eerily more like a true story than fiction.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Too Much of a Dead Thing – A unique take on the whole zombie/undead phenomenon. At first, you think the monsters are zombies and as you move along through the story, you start to wonder if maybe they came from outer space. A few nice things here, but the real horror turns out to be from the people that are left alive.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Little Bunny – a whacked out fairy tale/hallucination type of story that has traces of possession and ghost story to add some flavor. I think the idea was okay, but I found the story telling wasn’t smooth and fluid.

3 out of 5 stars

 

Death Lights – A novella that stars Rolfe’s supernatural detective and banisher of evil spirits, Lee Buhl. For those of you that are familiar with Rolfe’s writing, you may remember Buhl from The Haunted Halls. He’s back in Maine to take on a house that can’t be sold due to it’s resident poltergeist. Buhl calls upon his Native American heritage once more as he battle the malevolent spirit of a murderer. Good stuff here. Rolfe has the makings of a franchise character.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

Rolfe has evolved nicely over the last couple of years. His writing chops are much tighter than when he began and he’s quickly become one of my go-to authors when I want a quality read of terror. Land of Bones has a little bit of everything. It has your gothic horror. Your Conjuring/James Wan style of horror. Even your Jack Ketchum style that hits a little too close to home, a little too personal, and makes you uncomfortable. I think Glenn’s influences are clearly on display here, yet none of the stories feel like watered down derivatives. They clearly have their own terrifying voice, and that voice screams Glenn Rolfe.

 

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

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