John Everson is a force to be reckoned with in the horror fiction world. I’ve reviewed two of his books, and I put both in my Top 5 Best Books for each corresponding year. Everson has a terrifying and vivid imagination, and the tales he spins are gripping and enthralling. So, it’s no surprise to discover he is a master of the short story as well. SACRIFICING VIRGINS is a collection of twenty-five horrifying and visceral shorts that even the heartiest of horror fans will have a hard time putting down.
If you are not familiar with SACRIFICING VIRGINS, here is the book’s synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:
Tales beyond the darkness! If you could bring your daughter back from the dead…should you? If you could forget the worst event in your life…would you?
In this collection of twenty-five dark tales from Bram Stoker Award-winning author John Everson, you’ll meet a host of provocative characters. Learn the secrets of the man whose pumpkin carvings look strangely, disturbingly real. Visit a small town where the tavern game isn’t about shots, but sharks. Meet the woman who finds an ancient sex toy-and a salacious spirit-entombed beneath her garden. From quiet tales of ghosts and cemeteries to extreme tales of erotic horror, Sacrificing Virgins will take you to the bleeding edge…and beyond.
Probably the greatest aspect of this book for me is the diversity of subject matters in the stories. Everson covers everything from ghosts to witches to the Devil. If you’re a fan of any horror sub-genre, chances are you’ll find a story about it in this book.
Each story in SACRIFICING VIRGINS is written well. Everson’s prose is tight, and he conveys much in just a few words. This is another reason I love his work; he does not bog down the narrative with unnecessary exposition. Instead, his sentences flow and blend, creating a cohesion that allows the reader full immersion into each tale.
One of my favorite stories is the titular one. In this tale, a rock star makes a deal with the Devil for fame and fortune. But it comes at a horrible price. And when he fails to make a payment, the Devil collects. I love the shocking imagery that accompanies this story. It haunted me for quite a while after I finished it.
SACRIFICING VIRGINS is a major win for me, and I recommend it. If you’re a fan of short stories and horror, this is a Must Have collection for your library. It is available now in a variety of formats.