Brhel and Sullivan's At the Cemetery Gates: Year One was published by Cemetery Gates Media in October 2016.
Information about the publisher:
Cemetery Gates Media is a horror-fantasy fiction publisher from Binghamton, N.Y., founded by long-time friends John Brhel and J. Sullivan.
Information about the authors:
John Brhel is a horror writer from upstate New York. His work has appeared in "The Vault of Ghastly Tales." He is the co-author of "Tales From Valleyview Cemetery"." He blogs at http://cemeterygatesmedia.tumblr.com. His Twitter handle is @JohnBrhel.
Joseph Sullivan is a writer of horror tales (Tales from Valleyview Cemetery), occult fantasy (Marvelry's Curiosity Shop), explorer of urban legend (upcoming Route 12: The Legend Trip) hiker, songwriter, and co-founder of Cemetery Gates Media. His long-term writing goal is to combine his love of poetry, the American novel, and Upstate New York into one cohesive work of fiction.
Information about At the Cemetery Gates: Year One:
A young woman sees an approaching figure in her time-lapse photo project. A small town's strange illness seems to stem from the local cemetery. Two boys make a grim discovery about death and decay when they sneak into a funeral parlor. At the Cemetery Gates: Year One is an entertaining and eerie short story collection for fans of the strange, macabre, and supernatural.
A REVIEW OF BRHEL AND SULLIVAN'S AT THE CEMETERY GATES: YEAR ONE
Because I enjoyed reading Brhel and Sullivan's Marvelry's Curiosity Shop and found it entertaining, I was eager to read At the Cemetery Gates: Year One. I was very pleased with this short story collection and found it enjoyable, because it was exactly the kind of well written dark fantasy and horror entertainment that I expected it to be. It was a pleasure to read it.
John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan are still a bit unknown authors to many readers, but hopefully not for long, because their stories deserve to be discovered and read by readers who love dark fantasy, occult fiction and horror stories. Their entertaining stories will fascinate everyone who loves good and well written stories with a strong focus on entertainment values.
At the Cemetery Gates: Year One is a welcome addition to horror fiction, because the authors have done their best to write fascinating stories that differ nicely from other new horror stories. There's something charmingly old-fashioned yet modern about this collection that I find intriguing. Just like Marvelry's Curiosity Shop, this short story collection has a cool 1980s feel to it and it hooks readers immediately.
This collection contains the following fourteen stories:
- A Dark and Desolate Recurrence
- A Casket for My Mother
- Time's Harbinger
- A Tale of Palpable Violence
- The Burial Vault
- Passion's Paroxysm
- The Hermit of Russian Lake
- A Late Blight
- Delaying Decay
- The Girl with the Crooked Tooth
- New Year's Eve, What a Gas!
- The Call is Coming from Inside the House
- An Epistle from the Dead
- Pictures of a Perpetual Subject
I was positively surprised by these supernatural and macabre stories, because they were just as good and versatile as the stories in Marvelry's Curiosity Shop, but unlike those stories, these stories are not connected to each other by a background story.
There are many different and interesting elements in these stories. The authors use such elements as death, decay, hauntings, time travel and strange occurrences etc as basis for their stories.
What makes these stories especially fascinating is that when you begin to read them, you don't know how they will end, because the authors have come up with intriguing surprise endings. I find the authors' way of ending their stories wholly satisfying, because you seldom have an opportunity to read such well written endings.
Here's a bit more information the stories:
A Dark and Desolate Recurrence:
- In this story, Teddy and his wife, Margo, are driving a car and get stuck in the snow. While searching for shelter they find a cabin, but it turns out to be haunted...
- The authors write fascinatingly about the haunted cabin and create a thrilling atmosphere by writing about how Teddy and Margo get to witness terrifying acts inside the cabin.
- The ending is perfect, because it reveals what's going on.
A Casket for My Mother:
- A story about Craig who has returned home after being an English teacher in China. While browsing the internet he finds a GoFundMe message from his old friend, Tim. His friend needs money to pay for the casket for his recently deceased mother. Soon he notices that something weird is going on with his friend...
- This is an entertaining story with a good ending.
- In this story, Ross and his father, Gary, are driving to a funeral home so that Gary can pay his final respects to Ross' mother. When they get to the funeral home, things gradually become weird...
- I like the authors' way of writing about the relationship between Ross and Gary, because Gary left his wife and son to fend for themselves when Ross was eight years old. Ross finds it difficult to forgive what happened to him and his mother.
- This story contains interesting time travel elements.
A Tale of Palpable Violence:
- A story about Sherry and Bram who find themselves in serious trouble... (I won't reveal anything more about this story, because I might end up revealing too much information about the happenings. Trust me when I say that this is an interesting story.)
- I liked this story, because it was something a bit different.
The Burial Vault:
- A fascinating and well written story about Tom and his friends who visit an old mausoleum, the existence of which has been long-forgotten by the local residents...
- This is an excellent and atmospheric story with a good ending.
- A well written story about Ben and his marriage to Judy. Ben has doubts about his wife's fidelity...
- The author explores Ben and Judy's marriage and how Judy explains her disappearances and various phone calls in an interesting way.
The Hermit of Russian Lake:
- A story about Keith who brings his wife, Becky, on vacation to Big Moose Lake in order to mend their difficult relationship. He wanders to a nearby lake called Russian Lake and meets a hermit who lives there...
- A well-told strange tale.
A Late Blight:
- An excellent story about Jesse who believes that a spreading illness may come from the Valleyview cemetery. He is concerned for his grandmother's safety...
- I found this story interesting, because the authors wrote well about what was happening in the town.
- In this story, twin brothers Sean and Jack are on summer holiday. Their parents are working, so they're free to roam about the town. They decide to sneak into a funeral home and get to witness something strange...
- This is a fantastic story about new mortuary science and special treatments.
The Girl with the Crooked Tooth:
- This is a wonderful story that has been written in homage to Edgar Allan Poe.
- I think that this short, but atmospheric story will delight many readers.
New Year's Eve, What a Gas!:
- A story about James and Clare who are on their way to a New Year's party when Clare finds one of her grandmother's old cookbooks that has been written in German. Clare decides to make an authentic German dish to take a New Year's party...
- I enjoyed this story very much, because it had a cool surprise twist.
The Call is Coming from Inside the House:
- A well written story about a Colonel who is interested in the occult and has acquired an ancient spell book...
- The authors write excellently about the happenings.
An Epistle from the Dead:
- In this story, Regina goes through his dead husband's things and finds a loosely bound manuscript. She begins to read it and is surprised and shocked by what she finds in it...
- An excellent and effectively written story with a perfect ending.
Pictures of a Perpetual Subject:
- A story about Johanna who takes photographs of an elm in her backyard. When she tranfers the photographs to her computer and compiles a video clip of them, she notices something strange. She sees a person who is slowly approaching her...
- This is a fantastic final story with atmospheric storytelling.
I like John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan's writing style, because they write fluent prose. They clearly intend to entertain and mesmerise their readers with their prose and they fully succeed in it. As a big fan of dark fantasy and horror stories I can mention that these authors are something special, because not many can write this kind of fiction as fluently and entertainingly as they can.
The descriptive and vivid prose is one of the reasons why I enjoy this short story collection and want to recommend it to others. I like the way the authors describe the happenings and write about the characters, because everything seems to happen naturally.
The cover art by Chad Wehrle looks beautiful and atmospheric. The artist has perfectly captured the atmosphere of the stories in this image.
If you're familiar with the early works of Stephen King, you'll be thrilled to read this collection, because there's something about the stories that reminded me of early King stories. I also think that readers who have watched the TV series called Stranger Things will love this collection.
If you're looking for something new and macabre to read, you can't go wrong by reading At the Cemetery Gates: Year One. It's one of the most entertaining dark fantasy and horror short story collections of the year, so please make sure that you'll take a look at it (don't be afraid to try it, because it's wonderful entertainment).