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DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

A Dirge for the Temporal
Darren Speegle
Raw Dog Screaming Press/ 208 pages / $14.95
ISBN: 0974503134

book cover I plowed through a dozen small press collections from as many less-than-well-established writers before finding this dark gem. There's a good chance I might have missed it altogether -- as I'm sure other reviewers may have -- due to its cover. The cover -- sort of a reddish x-ray of a brooding demonic being -- is not without artistry, but combine it with a publisher that has dubbed itself Raw Dog Screaming Press, an unfamiliar writer, and the first impression is, at worst, "Oh yuck. Another one of those." At best, you would assume it is "extreme horror." Once past mistaken impressions, however, you'll find atmospheric and hallucinatory stories from a writer of considerable poetic power. Speegle's stories are eerie rather than extreme and more subtle than splat-filled. A theme running through many is that of past sins and forgotten transgressions that return to haunt, but even within this category there is considerable variety. The intensity of the entries usually compensate for their brevity, but occasionally Speegle produces a vignette where a complete story would have better displayed his skill and intent. (He could also learn a great deal from studying the meticulous structure underlying masterwriter Thomas Ligotti's work.) The author is relatively new to the field and his evidently prolific output -- this is a second collection and the 34 (!) short selections here have all been published in the last there years - has been primarily published, so far, in fairly obscure publications. There's a good chance you'll be hearing more about and from him in the future.

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