Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MORE THAN MIDNIGHT, by Brian James Freeman

 Brian James Freeman is the Managing Editor of Cemetery Dance Magazine and the Publisher of Lonely Road Books, as well as being an accomplished Editor and Author. His novella, THE PAINTED DARKNESS, was met with critical and commercial acclaim a few years back. Cemetery Dance published a collection of his short stories late in 2012, MORE THAN MIDNIGHT, and there's not a dud in the bunch.

 Beneath the beautiful painted cover (By Vincent Chong), you'll encounter five short stories, all previously published between 2003 and 2011, that showcase Freeman's mastery of the form. (While all of the stories have already seen print, Freeman has revised them all for this collection.) Each story features an accompanying illustration by the great Glenn Chadbourne, who is probably best known for his work on Stephen King's illustrated SECRETARY OF DREAMS volumes, also published by Cemetery Dance. Freeman's stories run the gamut from Ghost stories ("What They Left Behind") to dark revenge fantasies ("The Final Lesson" and "Pulled Into Darkness"), but they all feature Freeman's usual excellent characterization. His characters are not just pawns moving through the stories, but living, breathing people that you can't help but care about, which is a real accomplishment for stories that average about twenty pages each.

 Cemetery Dance published MORE THAN MIDNIGHT in two states: A 750 copy hardcover limited edition, and a 26 copy lettered edition; Both states are signed by Freeman, Chadbourne, and Michael Koryta, who provides the introduction. The book is sold-out from the Publisher, but Amazon currently has 2 copies available, and you may be able to find some for sale by Bad Moon Books or Camelot Books.

 Highly recommended.