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Review by
Mike Philbin
FEMMES DE LA BRUME - Women of the Mist
edited by Nichole Thomas
Publisher: Double Dragon Ebooks
ISBN 1-55404-045-0


Women of the Mist - those dark mysterious creatures who haunt our dreams and colour our nightmares. FEMMES DE LA BRUME is an all-woman story collection featuring 18 short stories; ranging from Domestic violence to Urban horror, Religious porn to Fantasy swordplay.

The stories begin as soft, dreamy pieces filled with loves lost and desires unfulfilled, then... well it's like someone turned the horror gauge up to 11 and they are loving all the blood-soaked anatomy, the battery-acid taste, the gurgling horror sounds, the stench of reality in all it's vainglorious hue and cry.

There are a load of great stories here by new and established authors like Alex Severin, Staci Layne Wilson, Teri Jacobs and Monica J O'Rourke but rather than skim across all 18 stories, I want to focus this review on those stories that I believe worked really well together.

The Gingerbread Man - Laura J. Underwood
A delicate voodoo tale of one woman's passion for her saviour. The story of a witch dictating her memoirs to a writer. She takes full command of the situation and the writer is left aghast at every turn. This is a wonderfully lyrical opener to a collection that is much darker than the wish-fulfilment and self-satisfaction of this opening tale. A great pace setter.

The Fear - Elizabeth R. Peake
Poignant and really scary tale of domestic violence. It is indeed The Fear, the fear that turns women in helpless sculptures of torture – The Fear exteriorises them from the terrible deeds that are being done to them on a daily basis. The Fear is a law unto itself, shredding all logic and sweeping it under the carpet. Never will The Fear show you what you must do, how you must save yourself. It is pure deception. You can never escape its clutches. This is actually how some women feel they have to live and the advice of get-out-while-you-can is no better explained than in this powerful rendition of domestic violence.

Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb - Alex Severin
My joint favourite:-
Psycho-erotic goings on in a church of the poisoned mind, a beautifully rendered image of love in the pews. The Virgin Mary with her talcum-soft plaster thighs beckoning on the unwary to obscene sexual liaison with the Martyrs and Saints. Who could resist such a temptation? This wicked little tale brings a whole new seedy re-interpretation to "taking communion" and the "transmigration of water into wine". This writer really knows how to turn on the reader. Delicious.

Her Mother's Hands - B. D. Knox
Most disturbing story by far. Frankie is a little girl with a big problem; she has her mother's hands. Now we all have something from our parents that we sorta dislike, but Frankie, she had her mother's hands. Look at your hands. See how odd and crablike they are – imagine if these creatures started plotting between themselves. Imagine if your hands were exterior to your motivation. Shivers...

And I Wait - Nicole Thomas
My other favourite:-
Darkness enters my heart and hate invades – a quote from this quite obscene piece of grand guignol. This is just downright scary. The way the central character (told in intimate first person) lies in wait for her next meal reminds one of the trapdoor spider. Whammo – captured in the flash of an eye, mandibles drawing its wriggling victim to the sucking pipes, the de-juicers. This reviewer was held aloft on the soaring prose and battered against the rocks of brutal consequence. The moment when the world fades out, and it's just us.
Fantastic ending.

Anéleone - Susanne S. Brydenbaugh
What happens when the model no longer inspires the artist? Get another model? What happens when all living models fail to inspire? Seek inspiration in the dead. Anéleone was a generous woman in the seventeenth century, a woman of extensive reputation. Caused a scandal among the monks of the Palmermo Capuchin. Was murdered for her sex crime. And now, she is the muse for this ill-fated artist, Nikolas. A vicious love triangle ensues – will Nikolas sacrifice Lena, his real model, for the haunted Aneleone? Gripping.

Prevention - Amy Grech
Murderous twins help their dear mother into and out of trouble – shocking character dissection from a master of New York urban horror.

Curly-Q - Kim Guilbeau
Carole's obsession with a macabre reflection from a haunted mirror comes to dominate the mind and life of the young student. A life already filled with delusions; deceived by the love of her parents, deceived by the praise of her teachers, deceived by the friendship of her peers. Was the macabre reflection a voice from across the horror divide or a manifestation of her delusional state? Warning: this story contains some graphic scenes of sexual gratification and blood lust.

Tiny Women in Little Fur Coats - Staci Layne Wilson
The story of Elan, last in the long line of cat rescuers. Pavarotti, Blondie and Alanis – Elan named all her cats after singers. This is a riveting fabulist tale of cats and dogs and leopards and hogs and women and men (I lied about the leopards and hogs). Classic Tales From The Crypt material, it bundles along dragging you into it's well observed characters and creepy antics of the cats and dogs. This is such a highly enjoyable canter through a fur fetishist's worst nightmare – there are some wonderful gruesome and horrifying moments in it.

Women writers are a mysterious breed among themselves. Why do you think so many of the great mystery/thriller writes are women? They have a uniquely haunted quality to both their subject matter and its treatment. It is these stories' otherworldliness that the reader will appreciate forever.

Rating 4 Book Wyrms for FEMMES DE LA BRUME - Women of the Mist.

This review copyright 2003 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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