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Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror

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Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror: Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate…. These are stories where Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror: Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate…. These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated. The stories are rich in flavor and clever in metaphor, the horrors completely surreal or—far more unnerving—all too possible. She brings a refreshing perspective to the table that paranormal lovers are sure to enjoy. —B.D. Bruns, author of The Gothic Shift You can feel the warm thick air, the rich history and legends, the desperation of the impoverished, and the deep horror of the betrayed. —Roma Gray, author of Gray Shadows Under a Harvest Moon


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Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror: Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate…. These are stories where Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror: Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate…. These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated. The stories are rich in flavor and clever in metaphor, the horrors completely surreal or—far more unnerving—all too possible. She brings a refreshing perspective to the table that paranormal lovers are sure to enjoy. —B.D. Bruns, author of The Gothic Shift You can feel the warm thick air, the rich history and legends, the desperation of the impoverished, and the deep horror of the betrayed. —Roma Gray, author of Gray Shadows Under a Harvest Moon

30 review for Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Nelson

    Spook Lights by Eden Royce is a collection of 12 Southern Gothic horror stories, now these aren't cringe inducing, gore infested ball breaking horror. More a slow burning quiet horror that creeps up on you and instead of burying an axe in the back of your head, gently breaths on the back of your neck while you absorb each story. Waiting for the realization that somethings amiss, bringing feelings of unease and softly tweaking your emotions.   Like any collection of so many short stories, there's t Spook Lights by Eden Royce is a collection of 12 Southern Gothic horror stories, now these aren't cringe inducing, gore infested ball breaking horror. More a slow burning quiet horror that creeps up on you and instead of burying an axe in the back of your head, gently breaths on the back of your neck while you absorb each story. Waiting for the realization that somethings amiss, bringing feelings of unease and softly tweaking your emotions.   Like any collection of so many short stories, there's the ones you remember vividly, ones that fade into obscurity and even the odd one that you skip through. So I'll mention a couple of the ones I liked.   The Watered Soul is the story of a man's search for the woman who cursed him all those years ago, to the edge of the Charleston marsh and an old fish shack amidst the biting flies, the oppressive heat and the stealthy gators avoiding the handbag brigade. Lucious was cursed for eternity, a difficult burden to live with and he wants out.   In Rhythm, David attempts to summon spirit goddess Ezili Danto for guidance and a little thing called revenge. And The Choking Kind sees Grace attend the burial of her Father, she is drawn to the grave of her Mother, who everyone says is dead but is she really.   Spook Lights captures the atmosphere of the South perfectly, the heat, the characters and something else, black magic, witchery and sorcery. It did feel maybe a little too easy though, as if conjuring something otherworldly was as difficult as a walk in the park. One of those collections that didn't quite maintain the good work throughout. Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This collection of short stories is billed as “Southern Gothic Horror” and I will attest that the description is perfect. They range from strange to bizarre and from freakish to aberrant. I am not a fan of horror, so it is no surprise that some of these were just too far over the top for my tastes, but more than feeling horror, I felt an urge to laugh. They were so improbable, indeed impossible, that they didn’t stir any fear; I would say they were campy. There were several that were exceptional This collection of short stories is billed as “Southern Gothic Horror” and I will attest that the description is perfect. They range from strange to bizarre and from freakish to aberrant. I am not a fan of horror, so it is no surprise that some of these were just too far over the top for my tastes, but more than feeling horror, I felt an urge to laugh. They were so improbable, indeed impossible, that they didn’t stir any fear; I would say they were campy. There were several that were exceptionally well done. Hag Ride, Path of the War Chief, and The Choking Kind were the most appealing to me. The only lesson I would take from the collection is beware of strong women; doesn’t pay to cross them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as a prize in a book contest I entered at the author's book launch party this month. Spook Lights Southern Gothic Horror explores the Supernatural and beyond in the south inspired by the author's hometown of Charleston with stories from Hags who suck the life out of men to an Indian warrior's journey to become chief of her tribe, Sea Sirens, and more. If you'd like to know what type of stories are in this collection, read it for I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as a prize in a book contest I entered at the author's book launch party this month. Spook Lights Southern Gothic Horror explores the Supernatural and beyond in the south inspired by the author's hometown of Charleston with stories from Hags who suck the life out of men to an Indian warrior's journey to become chief of her tribe, Sea Sirens, and more. If you'd like to know what type of stories are in this collection, read it for yourself and find out. This was my first read from author Eden Royce and it was pretty good. I first heard about her work during the Night of the Storytellers episode she participated in on the Charred Remains online radio show on blogtalkradio where she read an excerpt from her book "Containment" and it was pretty good. I finally got a chance to check her work out with this collection after I attended her Book launch party of this book on Facebook and won it after entering a American Gothic trivia contest on the event page. Definitely check this book out. It is intense, horrifying, will send chills down your spine and won't let you put it down until you have finished. If you enjoy horror and short stories, be sure to check this out and add this to your book collection. You can find this book on Amazon and Lulu.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Latasha

    i loved these stories but what i would love even more is an audio book! Get someone with the accent to read these and it would be gold. i loved the folklore in these stories, the dialect, all of it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Perry Lake

    Many novels, I find, are over-written and padded. That's one reason I prefer short stories. That way, when the author has written everything she needs to write, she stops. Or more correctly, she moves on to the next story. Also, I've always felt that the premiere venue for horror is the short story. In a well-written short story, every word is engineered to bring the reader to a horrific revelation. In a novel, the extra space to expand upon details often gives us... a lot of expanded details. “Sp Many novels, I find, are over-written and padded. That's one reason I prefer short stories. That way, when the author has written everything she needs to write, she stops. Or more correctly, she moves on to the next story. Also, I've always felt that the premiere venue for horror is the short story. In a well-written short story, every word is engineered to bring the reader to a horrific revelation. In a novel, the extra space to expand upon details often gives us... a lot of expanded details. “Spook Lights” is not only a nice collection of stories about Voodoo and zombies and curses, it's a door onto another world, showing us life in the Deep South by the light of a gibbous moon. Most of the tales focus on black women of the South but anyone can relate to the humanity and horror shown here. In her preface, Royce makes a great deal of the Southern setting of her stories, and it's true that she knows her settings firsthand. But those settings are not strictly limited to the Charleston area. Some of these stories take place in Haiti or the Gullah islands and a couple of them could be set anywhere in suburban America. “The Watered Soul”, a reference to the belief that souls are combinations of water—earthly desires—and fire—the spiritual aspect, is a tale of an immortal who wearies of the gift. It's been done before, by Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Anne Rice, and others. Here, we're given a new setting and new demographics and less emphasis on a twist ending. 3/5 Told from the point of view of a child, “Doc Buzzard’s Coffin” is a fun little story about vengeance and Voodoo. I'm a little confused about a dead man smoking a pipe, but otherwise it's very good. One thing I'd like to know, is the era in which this and some other stories take place. In the South, that makes a big difference, when it comes to race relations. A white man expressing an interest in dating a black woman means far different things in 1915, 1965, and 2015. But in any era, this is a sharply written story. 5/5 “9 Mystery Rose” is the address of the local botanica, where for a price you can get anything you want, even the return of the dead. But don't piss off the lady who runs the place. The ending might be a tad abrupt, but this tale reminds us to pay our debts. 4/5 The “Hand Of Glory” is not the traditional treasure-finding bit of necromancy you might have heard of. This is a brief vignette about a unique police interrogator. 3/5 “You can put him in a jar or something. I’ve seen you work root.” If that line doesn't evoke backwoods conjerin', I don't know what does. In “Hag Ride”, when a woman wants to end her husband's philandering ways she doesn't contemplate divorce or murder, she turns to her godmother, to summon a hag to ride her husband. There's some serious research going on here, but it doesn't read like research. It reads like firsthand knowledge. 5/5 Stories like “Homegoing” are not often written. The subject matter, at least from this point of view, is too painful, too real. It's clearly the best tale in the book and should be anthologized in whoever's doing the best crime fiction of the year. This could be the best story I've read this year. 6/5 (if that was allowed) “With the Turn of a Key” we find a husband dreaming of a life away from his philandering wife, even if it means suicide. But he heeds the Call and under the Weird Shadow of a seductress's Medusa's Coil, the hero of the Dream Quest employs this Silver Key to open the Temple. 4/5 “Devil’s Playground” is a short poem, evoking an almost Halloween vibe. Following the “Path of the War Chief,” a Muskogean seer must embark on a journey to save her people. While invoking a very authentic American Indian feel, this tale is rather more ethereal and mythic than the rest of the book. 4/5 In “Since Hatchet Was a Hammer” we find an abused wife seeking a haven from her husband's fists at mom's place. But what can her elderly mother do when the brute shows up on the doorstep? It's a cool story but suffers from a couple perplexing proofreading errors. I think “Her mother was afraid to talk to no one in the city...” is supposed to be “Her mother was NOT afraid to talk to no one in the city.” Also, “She settled into her favorite armchair with a package of frozen peas to ease the ache on her right side—Robert was right handed,” is a powerful line... except, if he's right-handed and facing her, wouldn't the blow land on her LEFT side? Nonetheless, 5/5. Seeking revenge, a black drummer must find the correct “Rhythm” to evoke the Voodoo goddess Ezili Danto, the Lady of Vengeance. Getting the rhythm right and maintaining the pace and volume for an extended time is essential to draw the loa closer and closer. Maybe too close. This tale is especially well-researched, employing authentic Haitian words, phrases, and spellings. For instance, I learned that lwa is an alternate spelling of loa. 5/5 “The Choking Kind” has a Lovecraftean vibe, in which one goes back home, hoping to learn a little more about one's heritage, only to discover a dark secret. But this is a more human story and like other tales in this book, contains creatures not quite like any you may have encountered before. 5/5. As with all anthologies, some stories are better than others. In this case, most are good, a few are exceptional, and none of them are bad. There's some very evocative writing, like one story's opening line: “It took three of us to get Doc Buzzard in the coffin.” Unfortunately, this is soon followed by careless mistakes like “I stretched on my tiptoes and learned over.” Leaned? And “make shift” is one word. Periodically, lines like “He pressed his head down into one hand” leave me confused about what I'm supposed to visualize. Is he in despair and rubbing his head? The rest of the paragraph would not indicate this. On the other hand, mistakes like that occur seldom. More common are lines like, “Litter danced macabre steps with the wind in the shadows of the abandoned buildings.” Mmm, that's good imagery and very lyrical writing. And for the most part, that's what you'll find plenty of in this book. Royce's writing is very good, her plots are devious, and her love of her settings is implicit in every line. 4.5 stars, rounded up.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tom Mathews

    Great themes, fails at the finish I'm a big fan of folklore so was initially intrigued by this collection of stories that draws heavily on the author's knowledge of southern root magic. I loved the themes of the stories and some I thought would have great endings but unfortunately, the author failed to bring the stories home at the finish. Great themes, fails at the finish I'm a big fan of folklore so was initially intrigued by this collection of stories that draws heavily on the author's knowledge of southern root magic. I loved the themes of the stories and some I thought would have great endings but unfortunately, the author failed to bring the stories home at the finish.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (That's So Poe)

    I loved the atmosphere and themes of justice for those who misuse magic or women in these stories. So many of these were powerful and packed such a punch, although there were a few that weren't so much my style. I'm definitely going to pick up more by Eden Royce since I loved her authorial voice and need more of it in my life! I loved the atmosphere and themes of justice for those who misuse magic or women in these stories. So many of these were powerful and packed such a punch, although there were a few that weren't so much my style. I'm definitely going to pick up more by Eden Royce since I loved her authorial voice and need more of it in my life!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leah Tame

    Great Gothic horror If you're looking for hardcore horror, this book is not for you. However, if you're looking for something creepy, subtle, and wonderfully atmospheric, this collection of short stories is it. I really enjoyed this book. I especially loved the last story, "The Choking Kind". Great Gothic horror If you're looking for hardcore horror, this book is not for you. However, if you're looking for something creepy, subtle, and wonderfully atmospheric, this collection of short stories is it. I really enjoyed this book. I especially loved the last story, "The Choking Kind".

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vicy Cross

    There are 12 short stories in all, but my three favorites were "Doc Buzzard's Coffin," "Hag Ride," and "The Choking Kind." Royce's melodic writing is full of texture, atmosphere, and characters that invoke the South. I felt the swelter and stale, human sweat rise through each word. Descriptive language meets Black folklore to create a leisurely atmosphere. Think ghost stories told around the campfire. Think of the fairytales your grandmother read to you when you were a child. Reading Spook Light There are 12 short stories in all, but my three favorites were "Doc Buzzard's Coffin," "Hag Ride," and "The Choking Kind." Royce's melodic writing is full of texture, atmosphere, and characters that invoke the South. I felt the swelter and stale, human sweat rise through each word. Descriptive language meets Black folklore to create a leisurely atmosphere. Think ghost stories told around the campfire. Think of the fairytales your grandmother read to you when you were a child. Reading Spook Lights is more of an experience best enjoyed when not rushed. The horror element is subtle, often ironic, and I found myself able to predict most of the stories' conclusions, however, the author's charm and folksy delivery kept me squirming in my seat until the end of them. Most of the short stories are cautionary tales, where the main character often does something stupid, only to be punished or chastised by a vengeful spirit or magical spell later. There's Hoodoo, Voodoo, murders driven by passion, and quests for revenge. There's also strong thread of female (often motherly) wisdom and jilted love in this collection. I appreciated the strong female protagonists of color. The women were often victims of their own making, but learned along the way how to find themselves. You don't have to be from the south, Black, or a woman to understand the overall concept of this book, which I love. The author does a lovely job blending mythology for contemporary tastes. This is a book to kick back with and savor, bit by bit. It's down-to-earth, like crackling bacon grease in a hot pan or like cold, tap water from the kitchen sink. Let the stories do the heavy lifting for you--Royce's subtlety is masterful. I enjoyed Spook Lights for its storytelling, not necessarily for innovation, horror, or plots. That said, I'm giving this anthology collection a solid 5/5. I heartily recommend Spook Lights to those looking for an enjoyable read rich with Southern atmosphere and non-traditional folktales told from Native American, Black, and a Caribbean perspective. Eden Royce's ability to entertain is a dream. I will be reading more of her work. This review is cross-posted at Damsels With Chainsaws.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Eden Royce asked me to review her latest book, and I'm happy she did! I'm not a huge horror fan, but the subtitle got me excited.Spook Lights is a de-light (see what I just did there? Yeah, I'm sooo clever). I don't like slashing, bodies piling up, gory horror. These short stories have the kind of scary that is soft, like a clammy swamp mist slowly covering you from head to toe. A kind of sneak up on you and place an icy hand on your neck scary. My two faves are Doc Buzzard's Coffin and The Chok Eden Royce asked me to review her latest book, and I'm happy she did! I'm not a huge horror fan, but the subtitle got me excited.Spook Lights is a de-light (see what I just did there? Yeah, I'm sooo clever). I don't like slashing, bodies piling up, gory horror. These short stories have the kind of scary that is soft, like a clammy swamp mist slowly covering you from head to toe. A kind of sneak up on you and place an icy hand on your neck scary. My two faves are Doc Buzzard's Coffin and The Choking Kind. Though Since Hatchet Was a Hammer is a close second, because of the satisfying ending, you know in a "he had it comin'" way. Well played!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carmilla Voiez

    The stories are, on the whole, centred around female characters and their lust for revenge. There is such power within these pages that it leaves you breathless at times. The anger and rage are suffocating. These are women, spirits and hags to fear and Royce, through them, shows you the very worst of humanity – jealousy, betrayal and a hunger for vengeance. Yet, however dark the stories and characters might get, Royce's beautiful voice lifts you from their embrace and lets you transcend their de The stories are, on the whole, centred around female characters and their lust for revenge. There is such power within these pages that it leaves you breathless at times. The anger and rage are suffocating. These are women, spirits and hags to fear and Royce, through them, shows you the very worst of humanity – jealousy, betrayal and a hunger for vengeance. Yet, however dark the stories and characters might get, Royce's beautiful voice lifts you from their embrace and lets you transcend their despair.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anila Hoxha

    I contacted the author personally and asked her if I could have her books for review. She graciously accepted, so here we are. It felt very good to go back to horror. I absolutely loved the stories. I’ve never read such unique horror stories, maybe because I don’t know much of the southern culture, and everything was new to me. This type of horror is not a “Oh my God, someone is following me!”, but it is an ongoing chilling experience. The way voodoo was described here was much more realistic, an I contacted the author personally and asked her if I could have her books for review. She graciously accepted, so here we are. It felt very good to go back to horror. I absolutely loved the stories. I’ve never read such unique horror stories, maybe because I don’t know much of the southern culture, and everything was new to me. This type of horror is not a “Oh my God, someone is following me!”, but it is an ongoing chilling experience. The way voodoo was described here was much more realistic, and not degrading. I don’t know why, but whenever I read horror written by a white male about a voodoo priestess, there is always something “degrading”, “animalistic”, “ignorant”, “uneducated” in the way they describe them. It is extremely offensive. It might not be the case, but I get this vibe. This lady, this author is amazing. She managed to describe these priestess as human beings, with desires, hatred, and passion, and they were extremely smart. I loved the calmness in all the priestess, the intelligence, the sassiness, the sarcastic side, and how much they knew about the other person. They are talented priestess, and consequently they are smarter and more knowledgeable than the normal human being. Just the fact that they communicate with the spirits is enough to prove that. And that is exactly how they were portrayed here. My favorite of the short stories was “9 Mystery Rose”, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, and you read that short story, you’ll know why. Now, of course I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, therefore I will not tell you more about it. “Path of the War Chief” is not as scary as the others, but honestly it is very beautifully written and the message behind it is so crucial to not put it as one of my favorites. “Homegoing” is simply pure thriller, that will mess you up big time, because there is nothing supernatural in it, but people’s minds are terrifying. “Since Hatchet was a Hammer” has the greatest plot twist you’ve ever read in the story of horror short stories. I say this because, as an avid horror fan, I can almost predict all the plot twists, or even the little details. But this one, I didn’t see it coming. The story seems very realistic, almost normal, dare I say. Scary, but not supernaturally scary, or thriller scary. The ending will explain why this was put in this book. I would like to talk about all the short stories, but I’m afraid I’m going to spoil it. However, I would definitely recommend this book if you’re new to horror short stories, or if you’ve been reading them for a while and want to read something unique, that doesn’t feel repetitive.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Priya Sharma

    I've been reading this slowly to savour the flavours of this collection. Southern gothic indeed, with some very graphic moments that are still with me. My favourite story was "The Choking Kind". (Spoiler) Inside the skin was hot, sticky with blood and ripe with the scent of bowel. Grace gagged at the moist, dank stench...for a moment, the skin hung loose as it had on the witch, then it fused itself to her body with a rubbery snap. ("The Choking Kind") I've been reading this slowly to savour the flavours of this collection. Southern gothic indeed, with some very graphic moments that are still with me. My favourite story was "The Choking Kind". (Spoiler) Inside the skin was hot, sticky with blood and ripe with the scent of bowel. Grace gagged at the moist, dank stench...for a moment, the skin hung loose as it had on the witch, then it fused itself to her body with a rubbery snap. ("The Choking Kind")

  14. 5 out of 5

    Weslyn

    Aside from a select few, these stories drew me in and held my attention. Southern Gothic is probably my favorite genre to read and write. These stories were no exception. They are brimming with magic and passion. I highly recommend this collection and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John

    ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.*** I have to agree with the review/blurb above- the stories here are wonderfully atmospheric. A central theme running through them is the climes and cultures of the Deep South rooted in the African diaspora- gullah, geechi, obeah, even Native American, West African and Haitian. Like all short story collections some will stay with you and some you'll breeze through. The Choking Kind is my favorite- a tale of love gone wrong where a wo ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.*** I have to agree with the review/blurb above- the stories here are wonderfully atmospheric. A central theme running through them is the climes and cultures of the Deep South rooted in the African diaspora- gullah, geechi, obeah, even Native American, West African and Haitian. Like all short story collections some will stay with you and some you'll breeze through. The Choking Kind is my favorite- a tale of love gone wrong where a woman in search of her mother's grave discovers she might not be dead after all. Hand of Glory- about a police detective with a perfect case record- was all too short; just when it might be getting interesting it was over. Path of the War Chief- the widow of a warchief proving her worth to lead the tribe into battle- was also pretty good. A little confusing, but good. One thing I found off-putting was the overabundance of women-against-bad men tales. The first six stories and nine of the twelve are built upon this device- as well as the old seeress who walks with shadows; only one man does any conjuring- which got to be kind of stale and repetitive after a while. One of the stories takes the form of a tone poem that helps change things up. Spook Lights is one of those books that you want to kick back with on a warm night and let the magic take you away... well, hopefully not.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roma Gray

    Smooth and Smoldering Thrillers This book is a collection of Southern Gothic short stories, a specific and rare type of horror fiction. What is the difference, you may ask? If a horror story is a man in a mask, chasing a woman through a dark forest with a bloody axe, these stories are the warm embrace of a long lost lover as he slowly drags her down into his grave. A true gothic is dripping with atmosphere, history, and depth. It sneaks up on you when you feel warm and safe, then touches your emo Smooth and Smoldering Thrillers This book is a collection of Southern Gothic short stories, a specific and rare type of horror fiction. What is the difference, you may ask? If a horror story is a man in a mask, chasing a woman through a dark forest with a bloody axe, these stories are the warm embrace of a long lost lover as he slowly drags her down into his grave. A true gothic is dripping with atmosphere, history, and depth. It sneaks up on you when you feel warm and safe, then touches your emotions and psyche in a place that will leave you scarred for life. A gothic story of any type is not easy to pull off. It takes a gentle hand, a fist in a velvet glove, if you will. And this author is clearly an expert in this field. You can feel the warm thick air, the rich history and legends, the desperation of the impoverished, and the deep horror of the betrayed. With a skillful hand she guides the reader through all of these experiences. This is a beautiful and unique collection which should be a treasured addition to any library.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mya

    Horror is one of my favorite genres and yet within the usual fare, only a spattering of ethnic treasures are to be found. Rare gems such as 'Spook Lights,' flavored with the heat, the mysticism, the language and feel of the South are a joy to read. Ms. Royce peppers her narratives with spirits, hags, demons and supernatural creatures that are wondrous to behold and yet frightening at the same time. Within this unique collection of stories are themes of vengeance, of hope and of despair, yet all Horror is one of my favorite genres and yet within the usual fare, only a spattering of ethnic treasures are to be found. Rare gems such as 'Spook Lights,' flavored with the heat, the mysticism, the language and feel of the South are a joy to read. Ms. Royce peppers her narratives with spirits, hags, demons and supernatural creatures that are wondrous to behold and yet frightening at the same time. Within this unique collection of stories are themes of vengeance, of hope and of despair, yet all are edged with a fine layer of the horror. This is not shock or splatterpunk horror. These tales are smooth in their scares, subtle and poignant. One of my favorite stories, The Hag, unveils its frightening ending like an image emerging from fog. My mouth fell open in disbelief and contemplation haunted me long after I reached the end of the story. The way a story manipulates your thought patterns and blood pressure is a good indication of a really, good horror story and such was the case with pretty much all of these lovely tales!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Constance Burris

    Short Review Do I recommend it: Yes! Diversity: 5 Characters: 5 Story: 5 My Favorite Stories "9 Mystery Rose"- This one ended so cleverly that I had to go back and reread the beginning. Clever. Topic: Graveyards, ghouls, and no good spouses. "Hand of Glory"- The title says it all. "Hag Ride" - Again, the beauty is in the title. "Homegoing" - Any woman with a child will love and hate this story. It explores the question: How will you handle your child if he turned bad? "Since Hatchet was a Hammer" - Great Short Review Do I recommend it: Yes! Diversity: 5 Characters: 5 Story: 5 My Favorite Stories "9 Mystery Rose"- This one ended so cleverly that I had to go back and reread the beginning. Clever. Topic: Graveyards, ghouls, and no good spouses. "Hand of Glory"- The title says it all. "Hag Ride" - Again, the beauty is in the title. "Homegoing" - Any woman with a child will love and hate this story. It explores the question: How will you handle your child if he turned bad? "Since Hatchet was a Hammer" - Great story about domestic abuse "The Choking Kind" - The last story in the book and the story Eden referenced in her interview. Completely original, I had no idea where this story was going, And that’s true of all of the stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    N.D.

    I love the way Eden Royce writes horror. Forget horror, I love her writing style. This is my first time reading this author, and she didn't disappoint. "Spook Lights" is a collection of short stories and they are all unique and wonderfully told. They are steeped in culture--language, location, and characters--not often written about in books. Several of the short stories could've easily been written as a novella or even a full-length novel. If she ever decides to expand a few of the short storie I love the way Eden Royce writes horror. Forget horror, I love her writing style. This is my first time reading this author, and she didn't disappoint. "Spook Lights" is a collection of short stories and they are all unique and wonderfully told. They are steeped in culture--language, location, and characters--not often written about in books. Several of the short stories could've easily been written as a novella or even a full-length novel. If she ever decides to expand a few of the short stories into longer reads, I would buy each one. I highly recommend "Spook Lights."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kenesha Williams

    Scary stories set in the South If you like your scares subtle and to sneak up on you, this is the book for you. This book made me writhe with anticipation at the scares to come especially since it was always inflicted on the perfect victim who I myself would have loved to strangle. The writing was reminiscent of J.California Cooper if she had written in the horror genre. So glad I picked this up.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy Shannon

    Addictively Dark! Royce has a great knack for writing horror stories, and to put them all in one collective book is just genius. This collection brings the magnificence of dark magical paranormal into the delicacy of horror. Horror needs to be written in a way that is not hokey or just for the sake of gore, and Royce has done an exemplary job with this book. It's had to pick one story in this collection as my favorite, but once I read "The Choking Kind", I was able to decide, at least for right n Addictively Dark! Royce has a great knack for writing horror stories, and to put them all in one collective book is just genius. This collection brings the magnificence of dark magical paranormal into the delicacy of horror. Horror needs to be written in a way that is not hokey or just for the sake of gore, and Royce has done an exemplary job with this book. It's had to pick one story in this collection as my favorite, but once I read "The Choking Kind", I was able to decide, at least for right now, that this was my favorite. How did I pick my favorite? I read it multiple times, just because I had to and I didn't want it to end. "Skin, skin, skinny ... do you know me?"

  22. 4 out of 5

    E.F.

    A chilling collection of stories loaded with all the charms of gothic horror brought up to date: supernatural forces blended with love, lust, betrayal, that deliver spine tingling chills. Readers will feel the steamy warm air of the South and the magic in the air. "The Choking Kind" is an especially provocative story about the kind of love that "gets too tight." This collection is loaded with great characters, strong settings, and intriguing, fresh plot twists that demonstrate Royce's masterful A chilling collection of stories loaded with all the charms of gothic horror brought up to date: supernatural forces blended with love, lust, betrayal, that deliver spine tingling chills. Readers will feel the steamy warm air of the South and the magic in the air. "The Choking Kind" is an especially provocative story about the kind of love that "gets too tight." This collection is loaded with great characters, strong settings, and intriguing, fresh plot twists that demonstrate Royce's masterful storytelling. Fans of modern gothic literature will not want to miss this.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle Poldervaart

    I must be honest, I bought this book by accident, thinking it was a multi-author anthology I could use to find some new writers to follow. So it ended up I found only one, but to no disappointment. Royce's work in this is very versatile, showing many different sorts of storytelling. Some entries are very atmospheric, some very visceral, but all of them enjoyable in their own way. Really, reading this felt like reading a collection of various authors, an odd but pleasant surprise. I'll be right o I must be honest, I bought this book by accident, thinking it was a multi-author anthology I could use to find some new writers to follow. So it ended up I found only one, but to no disappointment. Royce's work in this is very versatile, showing many different sorts of storytelling. Some entries are very atmospheric, some very visceral, but all of them enjoyable in their own way. Really, reading this felt like reading a collection of various authors, an odd but pleasant surprise. I'll be right on my way to order the second installment, on purpose this time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Unique, thrilling, deep and dark! Having never been exposed to the dark magic facet of Creole/Southern/Haitian, etc. culture, it was interesting how gory and horrific these stories could be without featuring distasteful gore or horror at all. The tales carry the themes of bargaining (and being careful what you wish for), the undead (and very active), human error, and connecting with the spiritual realm for intervention, all with the flare and fancy of the South!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nakia

    Yay for Southern Black Gothic Horror I have been looking for these types of stories for ages and I’m glad to have found them. Some were a bit too get in and out for me as I found myself wanting more of the good thing I was getting, but there are plenty of other stories to leave you satisfied. I loved the world building and general tone of foreboding, along with a sense of justice or revenge being served in these stories. I plan to read the second book in the near future.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Some of these stories were engrossing. Others seemed to lack something. "Since Hatchet was a Hammer" was the most immature. It did not even seem like it was written by the same author. "Path of the War Chief" was the most confusing. I completely skipped Devil's Playground and Rhythm - they did not draw me in at all. Some of these stories were engrossing. Others seemed to lack something. "Since Hatchet was a Hammer" was the most immature. It did not even seem like it was written by the same author. "Path of the War Chief" was the most confusing. I completely skipped Devil's Playground and Rhythm - they did not draw me in at all.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris Thorndycroft

    A good mix of eerie, macabre and visceral horror. The stories are very character-driven and dripping with revenge. There is a rich mythology at this anthology's core and a great sense of time, place and culture. The horror is always just around the corner leaving the reader with a deep sense of foreboding, knowing that something horrible is about to happen. Recommended! A good mix of eerie, macabre and visceral horror. The stories are very character-driven and dripping with revenge. There is a rich mythology at this anthology's core and a great sense of time, place and culture. The horror is always just around the corner leaving the reader with a deep sense of foreboding, knowing that something horrible is about to happen. Recommended!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Morgenstern

    A wonderful collection by one of my favorite horror writers. Royce has a natural way of drawing the reader into the sultry heat of Charleston, SC. The stories Doc Buzzard's Coffin, Path of the War Chief, and The Choking Kind were my absolute favorites. An absolute delight to read, but over too soon! A wonderful collection by one of my favorite horror writers. Royce has a natural way of drawing the reader into the sultry heat of Charleston, SC. The stories Doc Buzzard's Coffin, Path of the War Chief, and The Choking Kind were my absolute favorites. An absolute delight to read, but over too soon!

  29. 4 out of 5

    NC Stone

    Demons, hags, spirits and other supernatural creatures populate these tales. But overall, I enjoyed the relative subtlety of the stories. The atmospherics were nicely done and I liked the mix of folklore from the old world combined with Southern legends. I found some of the stories a bit thin and a few had endings that needed more power, but overall I enjoyed this.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brystan

    I am so glad I found this book. Southern Gothic Horror is one of my absolute favorite genres but this was like discovering the genre for the first time. Admittedly I hadn’t read any Southern Gothic horror by POC authors until this book and I’m so just blown away at this new perspective of both The South and horror. Beautiful, haunting, lyrical, and graphic - so many good stories in here.

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