Saturday, November 18, 2017

Book Review: 'Realms of Darkness' by E.H. James

Canadian author E.H. James is a prolific writer of short stories – stories that test the imagination and call forth ghost like thoughts of the dark world about which we know very little. James is part of that conundrum as there is no biographical information on this gifted author as though that is meant to be part of the mysteries presented. We learn that she has read and researched in the areas of parapsychology and metaphysics, for the past 40 years, and has woven the real and imaginary together into stories of the strange and bizarre. The fruits of her labor show!

James’ mastery of the short story is obvious to those readers fortunate to have been introduced to her craft. In a matter a few pages she is able to conjure an atmosphere that challenges the reader’s courage to enter past the initial page, and the manner in which she quickly sketches lifelike characters and draws us into their interactions with the challenges they encounter is masterful.

REALMS OF DARKNESS is a collection of three stories spun in 21 pages: THE LAMP in which Jennifer and Sandra spend time with a Ouija Board and its planchette – ‘The planchette jerked and spelled out a name—H-e-l-e-n-S-a-n-d-e-r-s. “Do you have a message?” The planchette sped up, pointing to letter after letter. “I-was-murdered.” Sandra gulped, staring at Jennifer over the board. The planchette jerked into motion. “Was-not-an-accident.” There was a pause, and then it started up again. “I-know-who-killed-me. It-was-m—”and more unexpected occurrences. THE LATE SHIFT – and Sheila close her shift to wander outside – ‘The street was empty. At night it became a whole other world, and at eleven on a Friday it was dead. She sat on the bench, tucking her hands into her coat pockets. “An hour to kill. In the dark. At eleven.” There wasn’t a car in sight, and every time she thought she heard one, she found herself turning to see if it was a white van. “This is insane. Sitting here, alone, in the middle of the night. Could you be any more stupid? Well, it’s not like you have a choice. It’s this or walk the three miles. And either way you’re alone in the dark.” She stood. “At least you’ll be getting closer to home, if you walk.”
THE FURNACE and Karen opens the door to a strange repairman to fix her furnace and other parts of her nightmare.

And for the shock to work, read it yourself. Only twenty-one pages but that is plenty of time for the goose bumps to rise. James knows this territory well. Grady Harp, November 17
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

No comments:

Post a Comment