Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Last Exit For the Lost", (Cemetery Dance), by Tim Lebbon

“Last Exit For the Lost” is a collection of dark, stirring tales from one of the most poetic writers working in the genre today, Tim Lebbon. Offering some of his best work to date, Lebbon weaves an entrancing tapestry of stories happening both near and far away; in locales mundane and fantastical, but one thing endures: his elegant style. He exhibits an almost casual mastery over his craft, moving in and out of genres and tropes fluidly, almost effortlessly. Even the hardest critic will be hard pressed to find a “weak link” in this collection. Some of the most powerful stories:

“Last Exit For the Lost” is a haunting story of a man drinking his life away, seeking to drown the pain of past failures. When strange, sectioned portraits begin arriving in the mail, however, he sees life through the eyes of the portraits' subjects...just before they die, leading him to face a darkness he'd thought locked away forever.

“Hell Came Down” is a hard slice of dark fantasy that feels like it belongs in Stephen King's fabled “Mid-World” (Dark Tower Saga), but it has a dark magic all its own, rendered in Lebbon's smooth prose. “Black”, quite simply, is a disturbing – yet fascinating – look into the mind of a serial killer as he stalks his next victim...but is his victim stalking him? “Kissing the Shadows” is a poignant, post-apocalyptic glimpse of a man's enduring love for his lost wife, while “The Stuff on the Stars, Leaking” tells an eerie tale of transformation that practically glows with Lovecraftian overtones. “The Horror of the Many Faces” also invokes a healthy dose of Lovecraft, but Lebbon's vehicle of choice is even more masterful: that of Dr. Watson and the venerable Sherlock Holmes.

Finally, “Making Sense” tells a twisted revenge story that takes a surprising turn, and “In Perpetuity” is another tale that will twist the hearts of all parents as a desperate father risks everything he has – even his own soul – so that his son can live. “A Ripple In the Veil” and “The Evolutionary” both herald the often foreboding power of nature, and the collection's closing novella, “Nothing Heavenly” is a thought-provoking, chilling rendition of the classic Battle of Armageddon.

“Last Exit For the Lost” is at the printer now, but pre-order today. With only 1,500 signed, limited edition hardcovers, this treasure won't last for long.

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