They That Dwell In Dark Places by Daniel McGachey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This nifty collection of stories by Daniel McGachey is just what a fan of old school horror stories deeply in the vein of Montague Rhodes James (who has rightfully been called the master of the ghost story) would clamor for once they have exhausted all the MR James out there on offer, or just as an adjunct to their classic horror reading. My tastes in horror are definitely in the old school vein, and I love when I am able to find newly written stories and novels that showcase the old school styles. My friend was kind enough to lend me her copy of this book, and I have spent the better part of this week and last reading and enjoying the stories on offer.
It goes without saying that this wouldn't appeal to readers who don't like the old school way of telling a story, and a reader who gets bogged down with antiquated description and language. However, if you are a big reader of classic horror, as I am, I think that you will find it enjoyable.
Admittedly, there were a couple of stories that were a bit on the dry side, and I found my attention wandering. But the truly scary, atmospheric, and just downright disturbing stories made up for it. I didn't try to read this one at night, except for when I read it one night on the elliptical at the gym. Yeah, that gave me a few creepy moments on the way home. Honestly, I would avoid reading this one at bedtime, because McGachey manages to get you where you live. For instance, he gave me that squirmy feeling of guilt at my penchant for loving tales of the macabre. Some might think it unsuitable reading for a 'good Christian'. I don't really think that intellectually, but there is a story that makes you wonder if you really should spend so much time looking into the dark, unless you want the dark to pay you a visit. Yeah, that's a disturbing thought. Not enough to put me off these types of stories, though. Just enough to raise some goosebumps.
I definitely have to give Mr. McGachey an A for his ability to write in the classic horror vein very authentically. I have read many stories from the Victorian and Edwardian periods with exactly the same language and style. He also develops atmosphere flawlessly. And I love his deft skill with a frame story, and how his stories seem to tie together in this volume. I liked Dr. Lawrence as his intrepid occult detective character, who reminded me of a more scholarly Kolchak. With the only negative being that some stories were a bit dry, I can't help but give this one a solid four stars. I will be looking for more of his stories to read in the future.
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