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Richard Gavin
Reviewed by: Mario Guslandi © 2007

Mythos Books
US First Edition Hardcover
ISBN 978-0-978-99112-8
132 pages; $ 30.00
Publication Date: 03-01-2007
Date Reviewed: 05-20-2007

Index: Horror

After his excellent debut collection 'Charnel Wine' I had lost trace of Richard Gavin, an Ontario resident with an extraordinary talent for producing original and disquieting dark fiction.

This second collection seems like a letter from an old friend who went missing for a while and now is getting in touch again. And catching up is so easy that it's like he never left. He's back and telling his stories once again and you can't help savouring every tale because he's a hell of a storyteller.

He will take you in a captivating journey in the depths of pure evil ('The Pale Lover') and will upset you and unnerve you by portraying a creature who proves to be much more than a simple "campfire stuff" ( 'The bellman's Way').

He will scare you with the dark and atmospheric 'Down Among the Relics', where horrors from the cellar haunt a cottage by the woods during a snowy Christmas, and will move you with 'Daniel', an extraordinary piece in which a man's enormous love for his unfortunate son makes him endure the most terrible ordeals.

He will make you uneasy by probing the very core of human condition in the outstanding 'Strange Advances' featuring a grey, sullen Venice.

Even when the stories don't seem quite accomplished, Gavin's talent sparkles and haunts. This is the case with 'A Form of Hospice', where a cancer patient hopelessly pursues an effective treatment by unorthodox methods and with 'Beneath the House of Life', an obscure tale of subtle horror linked to an old children book.

Gavin has everything a good writer is supposed to have: he has original ideas, can properly develop his plots and manages to create plausible, three-dimensional characters.

I've enjoyed the stories in the extreme and I'm sure you will if you take the time to discover this comparatively newcomer who's already such a mature author to be included in the limited elite of modern masters of horror short fiction.

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