Friday, January 20, 2012

The Fifth Corner - E. Michael Lewis

A great little supernatural tale, somewhat in the style of Ramsay Campbell with a little nod to Lovecraft. Short and pacy, with a good sense of growing menace.


Vered Kyle, an associate professor of literature, is assembling an anthology of ghost stories for his debuting university press imprint, and he wants Roman Maddox Booth, an university alumnus and author of golden age pulpy ghost stories and revenge plots to include an unpublished tale in his anthology. This he hopes will draw some notoriety and attention to his book. Private and ascetic in life style, old and wheelchair bound, Booth now lives in an old manor house, Heatherby Estate, outside a town called Blackchurch. The ‘Fifth Corner’ it turns out, is a tale which Booth had penned upon hearing of H.P. Lovecraft’s death, a tale so terrifying that it has been sealed in an envelope and sown into the seat of one of booth’s limousines, a 1933 Rolls Royce Phantom II, in nearby Marymont: ‘a three story pseudo-gothic brick and marble edifice’ filled with other notorious cars. The only copy of the tale in existence it turns out, is to be found inside the car. Drawing on occult Lovecraftian themes, infamous and legendary Necronomicon texts, and images which reminds me of King’s Christine, and more perhaps, From A Buick 8, E. Michael Lewis has penned a straight to the gut horror story, which is very welcomed in the collection here. Scenes are genuinely well handled and gripping. Sometimes the straight, no nonsense horror story delivers what it promises, it does what it says on the box, or in this case, in the car, and this story does it well.


The Fifth Corner by E. Michael Lewis is another dark tale which has some powerfully scary scenes as an old vehicle refuses to give up it’s secrets.


The Fifth Corner by E. Michael Lewis, is so far the most horror story, horror story here. Looking to assemble a great anthology of horror stories, Vared Kyle wants an unpublished tale by Roman Maddox Booth. However, Booth after writing this story thought it too terrible see the light of day. It has been sealed in an envelope and stitched in to the lining of one of his limousines. This is an out and out horror story that tips its hat to both H P Lovecraft and Stephen King's Christine. A nice change of pace in he collection


In the creepy, superbly crafted “The Fifth Corner” by E Michael Lewis, the manuscript of a terrifying ghost story ( and much more than that) lies hidden within a very sinister car.


“The Fifth Corner” by E. Michael Lewis is a well-written story that might have made its way into any collection of horror fiction. It’s the story which stands out for me as being less concerned with the world of literature and ideas and more with the standard tropes of the horror genre: a struggle against a manifestation of evil. It kept me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages but I was aware, even as I admired its technical skill, of the extent to which its central “horror image” was familiar to me from films and stories within the genre. The protagonist, unlike many of the other characters in this collection, seems to emerge unchanged by his experience. It serves as a reminder of what it is about “horror” that the small press and particularly the slipstream is so good at subverting.

Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will appear in the comments below.

My own views: