Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop provides horror readers with many…curiosities under the hood. It is a fair statement to say that horror stories are a dime-a-dozen, and so many are a copy of a copy of a remake, not unlike horror films these days. John Brhel and Joe Sullivan bring horror fans 12 horrific tales of suspense, twists, obsession, and social climbing. They range from the unique to the classic horror tropes of anthologies of yesteryear.
Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop doesn’t really have a single terrible story, but there are certainly some that are better than others. The items of note in Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop are both notable, original, and very seldomly are lacking.
A Gift Ungiven and Seams of Consequence are examples of the most complete stories in the shop, as they exude originality, suspense, and well fashioned twist. Then there is The Victor Talking Machine and Martinus’ Mannequin that take us to slightly differently areas, with one having a happy ending and the other being magic related. Echo’s Reflection, The Letterbox, and The Painter’s Premonition are all dark, intriguing tales, but the endings are either a little less or more than this writer wanted. Do not let that dissuade you, as the twists, however, are just as twisty.
The most predictable of these tales in Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop that is A Made Match, as this story lags, and doesn’t provide as much of a twist.
Marvelry’s curiosity shop feels inspired by the Night Gallery , Are You Afraid of The Dark?, George A. Romero and Stephen King’s Creepshow, classic ’60s horror anthologies like Torture Garden. The book wades through some familiar tropes, but at no point does any ending feel unsurprising. The real life locations will certainly creep out and amuse those in the upstate New York and Pennsylvania area, and cause those readers to want to revisit or visit those locations.
In an over crowded horror field, as a trip to any big box or independent book store will attest to, Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop will attract the readers who are also awe-inspired by Rod Serling, Edgar Alan Poe, and similar writers, but still manages to stand on it’s own merits.
Dr. Marvelry, marble-rye, Marvel-ree, whomever he is, seems intended to be inspired by Vincent Price, but coupled with his picture on the front cover, feels like a Vincent Price character played by Sir Ben Kingsley. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Terror-iffic titles that cause curiosity a intrigue before you even open the first page, or read the first paragraph. The style is more matter of fact, and doesn’t have the philosophical bend of Serling, the flowery and poetical Poe, or the dark humor of King, but it stands on it’s own merits, and still keeps on the edge of your seat. As writer John Brhel has stated “It’s all about the twists,” and that may be his and co-writer Joe Sullivan’s motto, but it’s also a very self assessment of their work.
[Images Courtesy Of John Brhel]