Medusa Press 3-Pack

By Frank Chigas
Medusa Press
ISBN: 978-0-9725324-3-3
2010; $40.00

By Frank Chigas
Medusa Press
ISBN: 978-0-9725324-2-6
2010; $40.00

By Oliver Sherry
Medusa Press
ISBN: 978-0-97253324-4-0
2010; $40.00

Way back in late 2004/early 2005, Dark Discoveries reviewed Medusa Press‘s first publication, The Damp Chamber and Other Dark Places by Frank Chigas. This was a nicely made hardcover with a textured paper dust jacket and artwork reminiscent of old Arkham House books (and artwork with the influence of Lee Brown Coye). It was an impressive debut collection and Medusa followed it with another solid short story collection – by British author John Gordon – a year or so later. Then they seemed to disappear.

Then out of the blue this year, I got an email from the publisher that they had three titles on the way for review consideration. The first two are story collections by Frank Chigas again, and the third is a resurrected novel by a long forgotten Irish horror writer named Oliver Sherry (aka: George Edmund Lobo). As before, the books are nicely made hard covers with AH inspired art and design. This time the Chigas collections come either separate or together signed in a special slipcase.

Scholar and archivist Richard Dalby introduces the Sherry novel and sets the tone for it. Much like John Pelan and Ash Tree Press have done recently, Medusa Press has picked a strong story from almost a century ago to bring back to modern readers. A tale of an occult detective (somewhat along the lines of Derleth’s Solar Pons – which came much later) facing an evil count, this has the marked influence of Stoker’s Dracula, but this villain is a sorcerer who dabbles in the black arts instead. The story is well-written and holds up to the test of time. Both the Baron and his familiar, the “Mandrake” demon are quite memorable and creepy as well.

The two Frank Chigas collections continue where his first book left off with more strong entries. He builds a solid plot and develops strong atmosphere and imagery for each of the entries. Standout tales would include “A Cloaking Glass”, “The Other Flat”, “Mephisto’s Clay”, “The Blayne House”, “The Pocket Watch”, “The Singular Sufferings of One Arthur Shelby”, “Strange Companion” and “The Visitation”. A lot of the stories remind me style-wise of some of the older masters like Lovecraft, M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen and so on, but Chigas definitely has his own voice.

It’s nice to see Medusa Press is still around and that they are helping to carry on the strong tradition of Arkham House. Here’s hoping it will be much sooner that we see a new book from them!

– Reviewed by James R. Beach


~ by darkdiscoveries on September 19, 2010.

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