Sunday, June 13, 2010

Book Review: Resurrection House by James Chambers

Resurrection House by James Chamber
178 pages
Dark regions press
New voices of Horror #3

You think when Black Sabbath played there first local show that the people watching knew what dark force was about to be unleashed on the world? I got the feeling while reading this collection of short stories that James Chambers is a big deal. You people (As in librarians primarily but readers as well.) need to start buying his books. He deserves to be read damn it. I am sure he works full time, and he has kids so I know for fact the dude is not devoting the time needed, or deserved to bring his brand of horror out to the mainstream.

Sounds like hyperbole, but I really loved this book. Chambers is a very balanced and creative word smith who in his opening stories brings old school Ray Bradbury literary horror feeling while later stretches his muscles for a brutal erotically charged Lovecraftian tale “The Feeding Things.” There are westerns, crime stories and more in this short but powerfully packed to the brim collection.

Chambers has a skill for evoking the emotions that are needed in the horror field. It's one thing to have fantastically intense and creative ideas but but without the balance and understanding of the human emotion and motivation it's meaningless. James Chambers has that balance down to science. The title story was a personal favorite about house that is a magnet for zombies and the man who decides to call it home. The opening story “Mooncat Jack” captures childhood fear in the story of a bogeyman who stalks a neighborhood. Perhaps most effective for me “Gray Gulls Gyre.”

The main character that story Jennifer Truth is a compelling character with an interesting back story. I am aware that Chambers is working on developing a novel about her, I think that is one of the main reasons to get this collection a chance to be ahead of the curve, read the first published short story about a character who I think has a great chance to become a popular character in dark fiction.

Avid horror readers will enjoy this collection. Libraries who are serious about stocking the new talent of the next generation of horror masters should find a good spot for this one.

Note: I know about the Jennifer Truth novel in progress, because I read a sample and outline for it for the Borderlands novel bootcamp, where James and I met as grunts. I had a high opinion of that work too, before I met James. Very excited to read more from Chambers.

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