|Source: Author Website|
The Carvings Collection: Ten Stories of Horror and Suspense by Drake Vaughn (Dead Orb Press, 2013, 220pp.)
A self-righteous vigilante determined to punish a man for a mercy killing. A giant flying cockroach that terrorizes and decapitates hapless high school stoners. A salesman who puts his marketing skills to the test when confronted by a cannibalistic rock star diva of Faustian proportions. A gang of bullies that run amok in a vampire brothel. All this, and more, can you find in Drake Vaughn’s new short story collection, The Carvings Collection.
Sound varied? It is. It’s kind of like your little chocolate box o’ horrors: it simply runs the gamut when it comes to the genre. It opens with the nursery-time tale of terror, “Dolls,” and follows up with the high school slasher story, “Master Key.” Next, is a Hostel-like tale of revenge and captivity (“In the Chair”), a tale or two of black magic (“Carvings,” “Sales”), a cautionary tale for young people about trespassing (“The Garden”), a few surprising pieces of social commentary (“Driver’s Seat,” “The Test,” “Trip to V-Town,”), and last but not least, the parasite-ridden sci-fi creep-fest, “Flatheads.”
While I certainly savored some stories more than others, this is, overall, a strong, diverse collection of horror and psychological intrigue. I would recommend it for any fan of the horror genre, and for fans of Vaughn’s earlier novel, The Zombie Generation.