Absinthe & Arsenic: A Penny Dreadful Review
On a dark and stormy night, I picked up a fantastic anthology of short stories by horror writer Raven Dane. On that dark and stormy night, I did not sleep. Part of that was Ms. Dane’s mastery of the eerie and gothic, and part of that was the fact that I simply enjoyed the book too much to put it down. I highly recommend Absinthe & Arsenic from Telos publishing.
There is some glorious horror in this book. The stories will stick with you. I will never look at fog in the same way after reading “Annie By Gaslight.” The title image comes from the surreal “A Taste Of Almonds,” wherein absinthe fuels a descent into murder and madness.
Not every story is doom and gloom. “An Inspector Falls” is a bit of silliness involving a theory, a bloody death, and a cat. Many stories have happy resolutions. “The Chill” has a sweet ending that will make you weep, and is one of the most evocative in tone and texture.
Each story leaves a vivid impression on the psyche. The reader can see the eerie marsh ghosts; can taste the desperation in the stifling air of the zombie-besieged farmstead. I truly love Raven Dane’s vivid settings.
I give this sampler of gothic nibbles four gears out of five. Well-executed, spooky, and captivating, it is perfect for that time when you don’t want to pick up a new novel, but you do want to read some good horror. Best of all, the anti-hero of one of Raven Dane’s novel series, Cyrus Darian, appears in several of these stories! He is always a joy to read about. I definitely recommend that you scare up a copy of Absinthe & Arsenic for your collection.
Your Correspondent From The Bookstore,
Penny J. Merriweather