Brhel and Sullivan's At the Cemetery Gates: Volume Two was by Cemetery Gates Media in October 2018.
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: Volume Two:
Illustrated by Chad Wehrle.
A man finds himself camping in the middle of a serial killer's burying grounds.
Two brothers uncover a secret more heinous than they ever imagined when snooping around in their neighbor's house.
A graduate student captures an urban legend on his school's famed 'Suicide Bridge.'
At the Cemetery Gates: Volume Two is a book for hellhounds, nostalgic crypt keepers, and creepypasta aficionados.
REVIEW: AT THE CEMETERY GATES: VOLUME TWO BY BRHEL AND SULLIVAN
Brhel and Sullivan's At the Cemetery Gates: Volume Two is a captivating collection of dark fantasy and horror stories. It's an excellent sequel to the previous collection, At the Cemetery Gates: Year One, because it's every bit as good, enjoyable and unsettling as it is.
At the Cemetery Gates: Volume Two will satisfy the needs of those who love the darker side of speculative fiction and are looking for something new and entertaining to read. Its contents are wonderfully diverse, surprising and thrilling. It's an ideal collection for everybody who enjoys reading dark and paranormal stories with a twist.
I was impressed by At the Cemetery Gates: Volume Two and found it enjoyable. I'm happy to say that the atmospheric contents of this collection thrilled me so much that I read all of the stories as quickly as I could.
This collection contains the following sixteen stories:
- With the Lights Out
- The Payphone
- Kara Finds Her Match
- Mixtape: Halloween '84
- Spice of Life
- Neighborhood Flesh Eaters
- Visiting Hours
- A Hammock Camping How-To
- Ghosts of Thurston Avenue
- The Staircase at Waverly Glen
- Pernicious Fictions
- Death in the Family
- Three-course Scorch
- Danny's Rock
- The Devil's Cabin
All of these stories were very much to my liking, because John Brehl and Joseph Sullivan have come up with fascinating stories and know how to entertain readers with dark and macabre elements. It's not often that one gets to read this kind of lovingly written horror entertainment, because not many authors write as entertainingly as the authors do.
What's especially great about these stories is that the authors are experts at delivering surprise endings (they do it with style). I'm sure that the endings of the stories will thrill many readers, because they're something special.
Here's more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
With the Lights Out:
- A story about Jillian who goes to housesit her aunt's cabin in rural Dannemora for the weekend. Soon, something disturbing happens...
- The authors write excellently about what it is like to spend time in the cabin when something terrifying happens.
- A wonderfully atmopsheric and intense story with a perfect ending.
- In this story, Joey and Jenny make prank calls from a payphone. Jenny is keen on making prank calls to the Operator.
- This story has a bit of twisted humour, which works well.
- I liked the ending, because what happened came as a surprise for me.
Kara Finds Her Match:
- In this story, Kara is planning on finding the right guy, because she would like to start a family, but is terrible at first dates. One day, she meets Kevin who is not like other guys.
- It was fascinating to read about what happened to Kara when she found a dream date, because things didn't go as planned.
- The authors write well about being too judgmental on first dates and not giving a chance to other people.
- An excellent story with a perfect ending.
Mixtape: Halloween '84:
- A story about James, a detective, who investigates an old and brutal case involving mutilated bodies. James listens to a tape recorded by a killer that contains something terrifying.
- I liked this story a lot, because it differs from the other stories. It's an interesting combination of crime fiction and horror fiction.
- A well written and memorable story that will stick to the readers' minds.
Spice of Life:
- A story about Nichole who visits a shop called Spice of Life. Nichole enquires from the shop if they'd happen to have anything that might help her lose some weight...
- I enjoyed reading this story, because it's an interesting take on witchcraft and its results. It's something different, which is good.
- An intriguing and entertaining story.
Neighborhood Flesh Eaters:
- A story about twin brothers, Zach and Sean, who become interested in the activities of Mr. Farrell who lives alone in the house next door.
- It was fun to read about Zach and Sean, because the authors describe them as curious boys who won't listen to their parents and get into serious trouble.
- This marvellous story has an excellent ending.
- In this story, Mrs. Kelly wants to visit his son's grave, but is turned away at the gates by the caretaker due to the cemetery being closed. Soon the caretaker notices that something disturbing is going on.
- This is one of my favourite stories in this collection, because it's something different.
- An excellent and well written horror story.
A Hammock Camping How-To:
- A story about Anthony who is known for his YouTube channel, Lost in the Catskills, which provides information about remote locations. One day, he comes upon a place that turns out to be a burial site...
- This is an excellent and atmospheric tale that will thrill readers.
- This story is one of my favourite stories in this collection.
- I enjoyed the ending of this story very much, because it's satisfyingly dark.
Ghosts of Thurston Avenue:
- In this well written story, a folklore graduent student, Allen, is looking to catch a ghost.
- Allen's romantic adventures with two women are described in an interesting way in this story.
- What happens to Allen is unsettling in a captivating way.
The Staircase at Waverly Glen:
- A story about two boys, Rick and Jeff, who are staring at an old, decrepit and blocked off staircase set into a wooded hillside. When the boys go exploring the area, Rick disappears...
- This is an excellent tale about what may happen when you go exploring tracks that aren't familiar to you.
- I liked the ending, because it's an urban legend kind of an ending.
- A story about a budding author, Peter, who shows his manuscript to an accomplished member of the Speculative Writers’ Workshop of Binghampton, but is disappointed about how he is treated.
- It was intriguing to read about Peter's struggle with his novel, because nobody seemed to be interested in reading and critiquing it.
- This is an intriguing and enjoyable take on a murdery mystery story.
Death in the Family:
- In this story, Julia loses his father and tries to moves on. When she visits a movie theater after her father's death, she sees a strange man watching her...
- The authors write excellently about the close relationship with Julia and her father. They also tell about what kind of a relationship Julia has with her alcoholic mother.
- A gripping story with a good ending.
- A story about the Marino Brothers and their pub, The Buffalo Wing Emergency Room. The brothers market the pub by having an eating challenge called Three-course Scorch.
- It was fun to read about what happened when a college kid tried to win the challenge and the brothers increased the chili content in the Buffalo wings.
- This story has an interesting ending.
- A story about Danny who finds a pumice rock, which turns out to be quite extraordinary.
- In this story, the authors fluently explore what life is like for two brothers after their parents' divorce.
- I love the ending of this story, because it's something different.
- In this story, an old and vile man, Mr. Schilling, moves in with his daughter, Elizabeth, whom he subjected to years of physical and emotional abuse.
- This thought-provoking story tells of what happens when a couple has to take care of an old man who shows no signs of gratitude or remorse and treats everybody badly.
- An excellent and well written story that will make readers think about certain things.
The Devil's Cabin:
- In this creepy story, two friends rent a cabin in early July at Letchworth State Park in New York. When they spend time at the cabin, they notice a pentagram on the wall and soon weird things begin to happen.
- I enjoyed this story, because it was an intriguing take on cabin horror stories. What happens at the cabin is fascinating, because the events are weird.
- This story feels like a kind of a companion story to the first story in this collection.
The authors write effortless and fluent prose that resonates with me. I like their way of creating a strange and unsettling atmosphere, because they hooked me with their descriptions about the happenings. I also enjoy how they write about the characters, because they're capable of creating interesting characters with only a few words.
I think that everybody who is familiar with what kind of horror was written and filmed during the 80s will greatly enjoy reading these stories. Readers who are fascinated by TV series as Stranger Things, The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits will also love these stories, because some of the stories are a bit of reminiscent of these TV series.
The artwork by Chad Wehrle is atmospheric and beautiful. His artwork perfectly fits this collection and evokes a sense of darkness and strangeness in the reader.
Brhel and Sullivan's At the Cemetery Gates: Volume Two should not be missed by fans of entertaining dark fantasy and horror stories. It's a thrilling reading experience that is filled with captivating stories and plenty of creepy surprises. It's a perfect companion to autumn and winter evenings when the light is fading.
An excellent and highly enjoyable short story collection!