Sunday, January 10, 2010

Legends of the Mountain State 3, (Woodland Press), edited by Michael Knost

Regional myths and folklore provide the perfect archetypes for tales expressing the collective fears of the human race. Because of this resonance and the unlimited potential provided by oral tradition and the countless ways these stories can evolve, myth, legend, and folklore are among the most powerful forms of storytelling. “Legends of the Mountain State 3”, edited by Michael Knost is the third collection of dark folklore from the state of West Virginia, and it contains tales that embody this timeless storytelling experience. Among the best are:

“The Caretaker”, by Elizabeth Massie, a cleverly written tale about a devotion to purpose that extends past death. “Wampus Cat”, by Scott Nicholson, in which a bitter woman finds her destiny in the darkness of the West Virginian wilds. “Calling the Dead”, by Kelli Dunlap, is about memories that haunt us and never let go, despite all our attempts to outrun them. “Richard Dawson and the Family Feud Phantasms”, by Matt Venne, is perhaps one of funniest celebrity treatments in recent memory, framed by a wonderful, contemporary riff on the legendary Hatfield/McCoy family feud.

The best stories of the collection would have to be Douglas F. Warrick's masterful tale “Her Father's Collection” and “Trapped” by J. G. Faherty. In “Her Father's Collection”, a ghost is bound in a vicious loop by her father's obsession, and in “Trapped” a group of young people make the tragic mistake of visiting the wrong haunted railway tunnel and are consigned to a chilling, doomed fate.

The best aspect of this collection is its brevity. It contains only thirteen tales, all of them three thousand words or less. They remain true to the spirit of the best folktales: short, eerie, with chills that last longer than the stories themselves.

Visit Buy it today.

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