by Stacey Longo
From Beyond the Grave is the debut anthology from Grinning Skull Press, a solid collection of ghost stories from a variety of authors. In the introduction, editor Michael J. Evans states “When I first set out to compile this anthology, I challenged the authors to scare the crap out of me, but they did more than that. Yes, they sent chills down my spine, but they also moved me in ways I wasn’t expecting.” Evans is correct—this collection of 19 ghostly tales is eclectic and intriguing. Personally, I couldn’t put it down.
Standout stories for me included “Cold Calling” by LisaMarie Lamb, the story of an artist who travels door-to-door selling paintings and fails to obey an all- important “no solicitors” sign. The description of the interior of the house and the odd little twist in the tale were vivid and satisfying.
“Spiritus Ex Machina” by Nelson Pyles is the story of a haunted car, and reminds the reader that you can exorcise a demon, but make sure you know where the demon’s headed once you evict it. It conjured up images of James Dean’s cursed silver Spyder and The Exorcist all in one package.
The anthology ends with “It All Comes Around in the End” by Jennifer Word, a modern-day ghost story set in Ireland with roots dating back 600 years. Most intriguing in this story is the farmer, Kell O’Donough, who tells his hapless tourists the history behind his plot of land. It’s a strong narrative with which to end the anthology, which I’m sure the editor was aware of when he was putting this together. Overall, I found this collection to be above par—no real clunkers found amid its pages—and a good, creepy read.
Michael Evans will be at the New England Author Expo – Book Sale in Danvers, MA. next Wednesday (July 31) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. He will be at the Books & Boos table and will have copies of From Beyond the Grave available for purchase.