Review: Pentagonal Sextet: An Anthology

Review: Pentagonal Sextet: An Anthology

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Genre: Horror / Anthology
Publisher: Great Old Ones Publishing
Publication Date: 4th July 2016
Pages: 426

 

REVIEWED BY ASPEN

 

A copy of Pentagonal Sextet was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Great Old Ones Publishing.

I sometimes write horror. I do like reading a well-paced, scare me silly story, one that has me biting my nails and cringing at every creak in the dark house, but I don’t particularly like blood and guts dripping from every page.

That being said…

Right off the bat, in the introduction, E.G. Smith firmly leads us into these tales with a reminiscence walk down memory lane to a childhood scare, and his desire from that moment to be able to relate tales well enough to scare himself.

 

The Stick Devils

The fantastically descriptive trip of a freaked-out stone battling in a clandestine grow-op in the middle of the forest. Kept me grinning throughout this well paced (what I sincerely hope is a) hallucination.

 

Red Sands

Ok….Shades of Aliens and too realized for comfort. Interesting scenario written through mission transmission bursts from astronaut Hargrave on a Mars expedition. I can only hope this is just the author’s imagination. Well done!

 

The Fields of Salvation

Awkwardly written tale unfortunately started in the passive voice. Once the story unfolds though, it is an engrossing tale of one sect’s religious belief gone horribly wrong. I can see this one happening in real life only too well.

 

Corn Maze

A very strange tale about an office cubicle relocated into a corn field maze, for no apparent reason, with the cubby dweller trying desperately to connect with office mates or find a way out. Wonderfully colorful descriptions of the corn plants, the strange person the cubby dweller sees and the monster. Nonetheless, I am also lost in the maze of this story.

 

Better Run Through the Jungle

A fast-paced war escape story through an undescribed jungle, running into the claws of a pack of horror. Several times I thought this story started turning, but it remained a blood and guts tale.

 

What You Did

This yarn begins taking you into years gone by, flashbacking to those ludicrous horror movies depicting the radioactively changed monsters you and your friends scared yourselves with as many Saturday afternoons as possible. Then, just as you’ve identified with your past, this account whips adult you into the nightmares you’ve never quite left behind. The radioactive monster is in the now, chasing you. With your best friend, you try to outrun it, almost remembering this part of the city, the back routes, the alleys. You manage to escape, you think. Until…Sorry, no spoiler.

 

The Wilds of Africa

This is a horrifying apt account of a psychological remove from the heartache of here and now, a denial of reality. The disjointedness of the story line drives home the mind’s ability to change the landscape into a much preferred one, with horrifying results.

 

Cimmerian

An enthralling tale in a dystopian world featuring a vile ancient steampunk tyrant vs an ancient magician. The tyrant, with his cyborg minions is intent on restoring extinct weaponry and resurrecting long-departed glories. The magician is commanded by his spirits to take out this tyrant accompanied by his enhanced faithful steed, an apprentice he feels unworthy of training and a witch. The only really jarring part was the abrupt change of POV, from magician to witch. I definitely wanted to read more.

 

A Pulse of Ultraviolet

A highly descriptive, and very suggestive night’s journey through an invite only, underground party with an assignment. Great engagement, twists and turns. Held my attention all the way through.

 

Banana Man

All I can say about this story is, weird! I don’t know what it was about, I’m not sure I understand how it ended. It is horror. The story grips you in its confusing miasma of fear – but fear of what?

 

A Snake in the Rain

A loving description; you are right there, in the lonely cabin, you can hear the rain on the roof, see the drops reflecting lantern light. You feel the Hank’s dread, his knowledge that he is no match for the ranger hunting down the last of this bank robbing trio. Maybe if the trio hadn’t galloped through that Indian burial ground to escape, they wouldn’t have displeased those gods.

Give this one all stars.

 

The Right to Drive

This story is set sometime in a future. Lou enters his car, fondly reminiscing about the joys of driving back in his youth, before the ever-helpful, saccharine voiced Driving Buddy became every driver’s front seat nemesis. He remembers the good times. Enjoy the frustration building. And let out a good laugh when you reach the end.

 

Chewing the Fat

This starts out as a nice straight home invasion, rape the missus, leave no witnesses, conversational type of story. You get into it, reading the well written conversation Donny has with Carleton, the male head of the household, both invaders have sitting on the kitchen chair. The lady of the house is assaulted off screen before one returns to find Donny pontificating at Carleton about the reasons for serial killer behaviour. The twin daughter rape/murder is offered by Donny, though he’ll stay behind enjoying his conversation with Carleton.

And then the story twists. And turns.

I think this writer should seriously look at writing screen plays.

 

Retribution

Abe, Red’s mourning brother-in-law is trying to erase the remnants of a whole Kabbalistic ministry of mummified religious fanatics – their fearless mummified leader. In a time honoured fashion, Abe’s struggle to forever wipe out these demons is misinterpreted. A mummified monkey escapes as Abe dies, the nailed shut, occupied wardrobe hastens our assurance that evil lurks within. The householder Kincaid has the shotgun that Red takes up to the attic, which of course cannot kill the demons.

While interestingly written, this story holds no new approach. However, great descriptions of many near misses.

 

Dolly, Do I have a Soul?

A very interesting internal discourse sometime in the future, by a fourth-generation descendant of a genetically modified woman. Dolly refers to the first cloned sheep in our own history of course. The author, quite dispassionately, discusses the pros and cons, nay more the religious calls of heresy and the benign scientific papers about the very existence of these perfect people, these clones.

After a long preamble, the author begins the story. Though muddled, once again the heroine internalizes her doubts. Dolly, does she have a soul? The discourse is well written, intellectually developed and offers several sides to the idea of personhood in clones.

 

The Anchor

Mix OCD, grief, and pattern inflexibility into the prison of Gerald’s thought processes when he runs out of eggs on Tuesday!

What else can I say, except nice job!

 

Intruder

Stacy just had to prove that the barriers separating the dimensions of Einstein’s String theory were weaker in the void of space so she pushed ahead, running experiments, mixing scientific protocols and ancient magic spells to break through to a parallel universe.

Yesterday she succeeded. Now she’s dead, Captain Whitman, Harold, and Peart are dead, and Glen has locked himself in the airlock with what remains of the semi-illegal emergency arsenal, watching the demon on the other side of the glass.

What’s not to love about this fast-paced space adventure?

 

Of Mice and Monsters

GLBT doesn’t stand for what you’d think. Nope, in this tale there are The Filth, namely Goblins/Ghouls/Gargoyles, Lycanthrope, Bloodsuckers and Things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, against our hero, Clark Tundifer – monster slayer extraordinaire – and his guest Vlad another monster slayer in the Secret Society of Saint George.

Memory lapses and a missing pocket watch inform Vlad that Tundifer’s been hexed right before the Filth break into Tundifer’s suburban house. Although they put up a valiant fight, Tundifer and Vald lose, resulting in their captivity, but Tundifer saves the day with a just-remembered head move between the gargoyle’s pectoral plates.

I can’t say any more, just finish reading, because you’ll enjoy the old-style knock em out drama. Hilariously funny!

 

The Pit of Damnation

The story opens on the aftermath of a gun battle blazing where we experience the smell of the smoke and blood, feel the wind, taste the dust, touch the clothing and feel it’s texture. Later we shiver through the rain. Otherwise the story is predictable in that not all revenges go as planned.

 

King of Crete and Steel

A strangely compelling, psychotic tale of, what I take is, a medieval LARP game gone horribly wrong in one man’s head.

 

Indian Summer

This is a fascinating journey of teenagehood described by an abandoned house at the end of the cul-de-sac, complete with angsty boyfriend, sports and the ill-described, but loving family. Interesting.

 

The Fever

Strange things happen during a fever. This story could be coloured by shades of Groundhog Day or just the hallucinations of a fevered brain.

 

The Hounds of Anubis

You’d think, from the beginning, this is a story of Zombiedom against surviving humans. And, in the beginning, that’s what it was. Until…

 

The Petrified Forest

A well-visualized teenage descent through family dissolution and displacement, the new school hell, and of course, a haunting presence in this new house. A good read with a twist ending.

 

Dieorama

At the grandfather’s wake, the young, father-bullied artistic son gets his long-planned revenge. The detailing of this story cannot be described, but read and enjoyed.

 

Akixgad

Sometimes religion is based on truth. Gods demand sacrifice so their worshippers may survive. Predictable but well written.

 

The Place of Strong Current

A legend in the making? Reads like stories of old danced and intoned in flickering firelight, explaining a way of life. Excellently paced and definitely unexpected.

 

Deadbolt

An unexpected take on a brilliantly executed love/horror story. 

 

A Sight to Behold

Another, a little more unusual, zombie apocalypse, with a surreal taste of the thoughts of the last man left alive. 

 

Fiddleheads

An especially lurid tale of Day of the Triffids plants with a guardian and an invisible/chameleon cat pride on guard at the edge of a blighted forest.

 

This book encompasses an eclectic array of stories. Opening this book, I  expected horror. Not necessarily blood and guts horror, but creep-me-out, don’t-open-the-basement-door type horror. Yes, some of these stories met that expectation. Others elicited laughter. And a few will haunt my dreams.

I enjoyed it.

Read this book on one of those overcast nights, when the lights are flickering, there is the heavy feel of rain, that distance thunder is getting closer, and you are the only one home.

 

General rating:
★★★.5

 

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Pentagonal Sextet or any other books from Great Old Ones Publishing. This not only supports us but also lets us know how many people actually like to buy books after reading our reviews.

Thanks.

 

Book Synopsis:

A woman ponders the greater meaning of her life, that of a clone, as radical fanatics set fire to the future. The first manned mission to Mars encounters an ancient evil with a hunger for the Earth. Vietnam soldiers take a wrong turn and are forced to battle terrifying jungle monsters. Drug dealers cross paths with a ruthless primordial force as they ready to harvest their crop in the deep woods. A towering horror strides out of a man’s darkest dreams and into his waking life.

These are mere glimpses of the sinister tales contained within the pages of Pentagonal Sextet.

Join six of Great Old Ones Publishing’s most celebrated authors on five terrifying thrill rides each as they journey into the shadows and navigate the realm of nightmares.

 

Great Old Ones Publishing is the twisted brainchild of two horror writers with an appreciation for the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Never mollified with all the great works of the genre they crave, with never ending dissatisfaction, mind-numbing, soul-sucking stories that describe man’s insignificant place in an infinite universe. Great Old Ones Publishing is an attempt, a probable failed attempt, to satiate the overwhelming need for perfect and delicious horror.

 

And for more about Great Old Ones Publishing, visit their site:

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