James Roy Daley gathers 5 of his favourite published works and adds 8 brand new short stories to give readers a thorough cross-section of his work with 13 DROPS OF BLOOD. What awaits those who search for Blood? From the website:
From the author of THE DEAD PARADE comes 13 tales of horror, suspense, and imagination. Enter the gore-soaked exhibit, the train of terror, the graveyard of the haunted. Meet the scientist of the monsters, the woman with the thing living inside her, the living dead… James Roy Daley unleashes quality horror stories with a flair for the hardcore. Not for the squeamish.
The synopsis doesn’t note the science fiction or dark humour stories that await, choosing instead to focus on Daley’s preferred genre while leaving two surprises for the reader’s discovery. The book is divided into 5 sections: Horror, Monsters, Zombies, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Dark Humour. On first glance, those might seem redundant but upon reading, one begins to understand Daley’s methods.
Horror – The Exhibition begins the book with a with resounding visceral, almost torturous feel. The story is told from two points of view, which converge in a bloody climax.
The Confession is a more cerebral ghost story in a noir setting, with a decent (albeit foreshadowed) twist.
Monsters – Baby is a love story with a monster thrown in. The premise is good to begin with but loses momentum with too many twists and turns.
A Ghost In My Room gives nearly everything away in the title. The premise isn’t anything new, and the ending is telegraphed.
Jonathan vs. The Perfect Ten creates a Wild-West feel in a dirty small town. Jonathan creates monsters, the monsters create havoc. This piece ends the section very well.
Zombies – The Hanging Tree is another Wild-West period piece. The sheriff is shot, somebody must pay for the crime. Red (the new sheriff) and Doc carry the deed out, but their curiosity regarding a curse on the Tree proves to be their undoing. An enjoyable piece.
Thoughts Of The Dead is a first-person narrative from a zombie’s point of view. The government has found a way to cure the disease, and the narrator must now type everything he has experienced. The slow-burn that the character experiences is quite well done.
Summer Of 1816 is rooted in history, as it’s the fictionally altered tale of Mary Shelley’s conception of FRANKENSTEIN. The story is good,and though the ending is once again foreshadowed, the research Daley put in is quite noticeable and gives the story an authentic feel.
Fallen takes us inside the mind of a man no longer willing to live with the zombie apocalypse. He gets his wish, though I credit Daley for taking an unconventional route.
Sci-Fi/Fantasy – The Relation Ship A child is tempted aboard a ship where he remains until his temptress no longer fancies him. This read like a YA romance and is probably the weakest story of the 13.
Suffer Shirley Gunn creates an Earth where dogs are more intelligent than humans. Shirley’s dog is able to communicate with words, and warns Shirley of her imminent suffering. While fantastical, the concept is solid though the ending again is foreshadowed.
Dark Humour – Humpy And Shrivels are two out-of-luck drunks who choose to test the rumour about the haunting at their local cemetery. This one’s quite droll.
Curse Of The Blind Eel teaches the reader numerous witty synonyms for both “shit” and “taking a shit”. It also educates the reader on exactly how to avoid being bitten by a vampire (hint: it involves shit). Daley ends the collection by showing off his abilities with wordplay and his rather peculiar sense of humour.
Genre fans will enjoy the Horror, Monsters and Zombies sections, as Daley’s output here ranges from good to great. The Sci-Fi/Fantasy section may be for some, but definitely doesn’t fully showcase Daley’s talent. Dark Humour should only be read with a strong stomach and morbid curiosity.
For more on James Roy Daley, visit Books Of The Dead Press.