Book Review: What Price Gory by Terry M. West

There are few things more satisfying than a good short story collection, if in What Price Gory, Terry M. West has provided just that. The horror film director-turned-writer ably delivers eight tales of the weird and macabre that range from the traditional Lovecraftian to Edward Lee-style splatterpunk and some gloriously strange places in between. I think my favorite from this book is “Cecil and Bubba Meet a Succubus,” which relates one of what we can only hope is a series of episodes featuring two Texas rednecks, a gipsy curse and, in this case, a metrosexual parapsychologist and a “suck a bus.” Then there is the title story, a dark allegory of the writing life, the creepy “Held Over” and the E.C. Comics-meets-Dante poetic retribution meted out in “Midnight Snack.” West’s prose is distinguished by its careful attention to craft and detail, his ability to re-conceive hoary terror tropes in ingenious new ways, and most of all by his sly wit. Fans of Stephen King, John Shirley, Joe Lansdale, Joe Hill and Karl Edward Wagner will find much to enjoy here and I recommend it without reservation.

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