ORPHEUS AND THE PEARL by Kim Paffenroth (2008 Magus Press / 70 pp. / cb)
Paffenroth (author of the non-fiction Stoker Award-winning GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD and the zombie novel DYING TO LIVE) strikes with a short but powerful tale that displays the range of his writing skills.
Dr. Catherine MacGuire is called by Dr. Wallston, a brilliant doctor who now lives in a secluded mansion. It seems Wallston has discovered a way to bring his dead wife back from the dead . . . but despite his physical efforts, has called MacGuire (a psychologist) to help him deal with his wife's new mental state (Macguire having also studied "the new theories and practices of Dr. Freud," of who Wallston isn't too familiar with). Although a bit taken back by this news, Wallston offers Macguire a more-than generous payment for her time, and she agrees to see the "new" Mrs. Wallston.
ORPHEUS AND THE PEARL then becomes a blend of ReANIMATOR, FRANKENSTEIN, and Poe-type gothic horror, all wrapped around an intriguing spiritual issue (a trademark of the author that makes me look forward to his work). For a 70-paged chapbook, Paffenroth captures the feel of something much bigger . . . a "mini-epic" if you will. And best of all--this puppy'll actually give you the chills.
Magus Press has delivered a very attractive book here, with effective cover art by Bob Freeman. Visit www.MagusPress.com