Friday, September 3, 2010

The Book of the Living Dead-John Richard Stephens(ed)

The Book of the Living Dead
John Richard Stephens (ed)
Berkley, Oct 5 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425237069

This is a fascinating collection of a who’s who of literature that writes a short horror thriller. Some of the contributors are expected to appear in an anthology dedicated to the living dead; defined by Editor John Richard Stephens to include zombies, vampires, mummies, other unclassified reanimated corpses, and a couple even beyond that miscellaneous categorization. Readers will expect Mart Shelley (abbreviated “Frankenstein”), Edgar Allan Poe (“The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case”), H.P. Lovecraft (“Herbert West: Reanaimator”) and Washington Irving (“The Adventures of the German Student”). Fans will also recognize some of the titles like “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs and “The Ghoul” by Sir Hugh Clifford. These are all super entries. However, the fun in the tale is discovering works by famous writers whose genre is as far from horror as the sun is from Pluto. These include Guy de Maupassant (“The Hand”) Mark Twain (“A Curious Dream”), Sir Walter Scott (“The hero of the Tomb”) and Jack London (“A Thousand Deaths”). All twenty-seven contributions are terrific as life after death proves chillingly dark and deadly to the delight of readers.

Harriet Klausner

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