Thursday, April 1, 2010

“Mighty Unclean”, (Dark Arts Books), edited by Bill Breedlove

We've all been to that "dark place". Done things that make us feel filthy. It's hard to avoid, living in such a cold world made of shifting shadow. Few of us, however, ever hit bottom. Dangle from the end of our rope. Step off the edge. Those who do feel worse than just filthy. They feel violated. Poisoned. Barely alive. Mighty Unclean.

"Mighty Unclean" is a collection of novellas from four of the best in dark fiction today. It's a great concept, one that Dark Arts Books began with "Candy in the Dumpster" then followed with "Waiting for October", "Sins of the Siren", "Like A Chinese Tattoo" and continued with "When the Night Comes Down" - instead of collecting seventeen mediocre short stories in a mediocre anthology, collect several novellas by proven writers. The result is a marriage between the best of two worlds: the variety of a short story collection and a depth and quality of storytelling well worth the cost.

All of "Mighty Unclean" is worth the cost, but the best are...

Mort Castle: "Moon On the Water", a chilling, eerie jazz tale of obsession, jealous desire and addiction; "I am Your Need", a Mort Castle classic...a harrowing, speculative peek inside the head of Hollywood's most notorious blond bombshell, proving once again that humanity is far more monstrous than any `B' movie creature; and "Dreaming Robot Monster" - a brilliant masterpiece homage...pastiche...spoof...twist...of the Golden Age Science Fiction film "Robot Monster".

Gary Braunbeck: "Merge Right", a heart-wrenching tale of a husband grieving for his dead wife and the child he'll never have, on what he thinks is an odyssey of remembrance but what becomes a harrowing journey into a dark, cold purgatory from which he may never return; "As It Is In Your Head", a tale about a man obsessed only with his own lusts, and how his selfish pursuit of self-gratification is turned upon him in a Promethean horror; and "Bargain", a cautionary tale about selling your soul to the devil, one with a decidedly Bradbury-flavor.

Cody Goodfellow: "Venus of Santa Cruz", a mind-shattering story about a misogynistic cop's encounter with a bizarre, parasitic entity that delivers him to the heights of ecstasy...while exacting a horrible price; "The Weak Sisters Bust Out", a new twist on the jailbreak tale, only these inmates have been tampered with, making their very essence explosive.

Gemma Files: "Ring of Fire", a chilling tale of the demons - both human and supernatural - who haunt uprisings and wars, in this case the bloodshed surrounding the Sepoy Revolution in Britain-occupied India, and "Crossing the River", a story about an incarcerated witch who meets someone sharing a deep, common bond - demon blood - but as a demon hunter may also be her greatest enemy.

Several of these stories are reprinted, but that takes nothing away from their power. If "Mighty Unclean" is an indication of Dark Arts' standards, collect this and their other collections soon.

Visit and (website of editor, Bill Breedlove). Buy it today.

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