A String Of Pearls
February 8, 2019
reviewed by Brian James Lewis
Howdy friends, ready to venture into the darkness once more? Then tie your shoes, zip your fly, and throw away that horrible tie (I mean just look at that thing! Isn’t a collection of scary stories enough?) Today’s subject for dissection is A String Of Pearls by the one and only Thom Carnell! While Thom has many fans, one of the most famous is the highly revered Clive Barker. He says, “No one has done more for legitimizing the beauty of the horror genre than Thom Carnell.” How about THAT for an endorsement? FANGORIA also speaks highly of Carnell’s work and now it’s Damaged Skull Writer’s turn to share Thom Carnell’s work with you. I’ve actually been blessed with three of Tom’s powerful books but we’re going to take them one at a time, so that I don’t run out of space!
Something unique about Carnell as a writer, is how personal his work is. You feel like he is talking to you while your read because he adds quotes from people such as Winston Churchill and they really fit. He also offers brief intros to many of the pieces making up A String of Pearls, as if we’re sitting around a campfire listening to his tales. If you like warm and personal in your reading experience, then you are in for a treat! One more thing I really like about these books is all the attention to detail. The cover looks like something from a cheap drugstore magazine rack. Very vintage and weathered as if we’ve plucked this selection from a time capsule. High ratings in coolness are happening here!
Okay, I know you didn’t tune in to hear me ramble on about how great this book looks. What you want is some proof about my earlier claims of greatness, right? Okay then! Let’s start with my absolutely favorite story in here Family Man. This piece of fiction is seriously terrifying! As kids we look up to our parents for values and how we’re supposed to behave in the big, bad world outside the doors of our homes. Carnell paints us a beautiful picture of a conservative All-American family. I mean, gosh, aren’t they terrific? But wait, someone is doing something unusual to some bottles of Gatorade that requires the use of syringes. An AM radio sways oddly in the garage while Dad works, projecting a voice full of anger and vitriol about people who are living their lives “wrong.” It is important that these mistakes are corrected and there are ways to do just that. Very final ways and this Gatorade method seems flawless. How will anyone know what happened? Be sure to check this one out!
People always want to talk about haunted houses as if that’s the only place you could possibly meet up with a malevolent force from the other world. But what if I told you that in a brand new, high tech hospital, a demon lies strapped to a bed? What about that then? Would you just chuckle and shoo me along, or would you listen? In The Sword of St. Michael, a powerful priest is called to a hospital to deal with something more powerful than most people’s worst nightmares. A little boy in a hospital bed? What kind of a threat is that? Do NOT be fooled. When people from “the agency” and Dr. Flemish are involved, this isn’t just a kid with colic. We’re talking about the potential end of the world. Will Father Thorpe’s powers be enough to avert disaster?
There are many great stories in A String Of Pearls, but I’m just going to peek in on one more to leave you fine folks plenty of goodies to discover on your own. The beautiful sincerity of Life, Death, and The Girl in the Cloth Covered Box will touch your heart and make you think a whole lot about what truly is valuable. I’m definitely a fan of Cecil Warburton and of this whole piece takes a hard look at things we humans are most afraid of. Death is scary, but as Warburton says, “Growing old is not for wimps.” But possibly the worst thing is being alone and stuck in a home, crammed full of dope and being cut off from the real world. Maybe not hell, but certainly purgatory to the undeserving whose offspring just can’t be bothered. Great layers of sweet warmth, chilling reality, with a crust of determination. Dig it.
That leaves such gems as the novella Song of the Dragon. Sorority-which is about a unique group of sisters, and The Choppa, which continues the legend of Cleese an amazing fighter who we will find out more about in an upcoming review, and a bunch more really cool stories to discover. Seriously good reading with thought inducing quotes tucked into each story. It should be no surprise that I’m rating A String of Pearls FIVE BIG STARS! This will make a great beach read, but don’t be surprised if people keep stopping by to ask you about it. Want to know more? Than check out Crossroad Press at www.crossroadpress.com Want to order your own copies of Thom Carnell’s works? Then go to http://store.crossroadpress.com and enter the code FIRSTBOOK to get 20% off your first order from their store! Check them out TODAY!