Welcome to this week’s Freakish Friday my Fellow Book Dragons. On this cold November evening we open a bag of mixed Gems by Gem Maker M. Ennenbach. They vary in size and color, shape and atmosphere. Some are blood red, others a grayish-blue, others bluer still, some are green. All are poisonous. Some have the stink of Hades sulfur. We must be careful with them. They must all go back in this bag, you see, we cannot let even one get away. We cannot trust them on their own. That’s it..give them all back and I will lock them away, then we can discuss them.
Notches is one of those nasty ( and I say that in the nicest way possible) story collections that grabs One by the eyeballs and belly from the get go and doesn’t let go until One has read the entire book. I enjoyed all of these stories immensely except the last three. There was too much profanity and pornography, though the very last story had an extremely interesting twist and so I was more forgiving of it. But that was only three and there are eight other stories in the book that I will read again. There are five of those eight that I will definitely read each year at Halloween and of those five there are three that I will hold in my heart as three of the best horror stories I have every read. I am going to talk about one of those in more detail and then there is a paranormal romance poem that I will treasure and read to with my granddaughter because like myself and her mother, we love Greek Mythology.
Ennenbach recalls for me H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson and M.R. James. His story ‘Blue’ is one of those where Ennenbach seems to have channeled the great English horror writer, M. R. James. Ennenbach takes us back in time to the late 1800’s. It is late Autumn. We find H. writing to his beloved wife Matilda that the surveyors he works for are making slow going of a job for their mining company bosses and it seems the Appalachian Mountains may be their home for the winter. He cannot stop having bad dreams, neither can the other guests of the inn where he abides. It seems a little “blue” girl haunts them, floating outside their windows and tapping all night long in their dreams. They awake to find nothing. They laugh at the one person brave enough to tell of his dream, but it is nervous laughter, because they have all had the dream. Who is this blue girl, is she just a figment of cabin fevered men wanting to leave the mountains and go to where it is not dark at 3 p.m. each day? Is she something more? You will have to find that out for yourself.. this Dragon doesn’t do spoilers.
In ‘Persephone’ Ennenbach has shown genius in taking the story of Persephone, Hades and Demeter and turning it into one of the most entertaining stories I have ever read. Persephone is not the one from my Greek professor’s dry lecture all those years ago. She is vibrant,smart and a woman to be admired. I shall treasure my copy of “Notches” for a long time to come, all because of this poem and the story ‘Blue’. This poem gave me chills. I read it and have read it and Blue through again since I finished the book.
If you want stories to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, stories to make you laugh out loud (all the while being really glad you aren’t in them) and stories that make you say, “YES! You deserved that!” to some really nasty villain.. then you must really get a copy of “Notches”. The cover is one of those that really does give you a good idea of what is going on inside the pages. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Ennenbach has for us next. But I am going to do it from way over ….here. You can get it now on Amazon for only $2.99 on Kindle. Holidays are coming, if you know someone who loves horror…this is a great stocking stuffer as it’s also in Paperback.
Until tomorrow, I remain, your humble Book Dragon, Drakon T. Longwitten
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.