I’ve been saying a different version of the same thing all year but I’ll say it in a unique way for Cemetery Dance:
Social media is responsible for introducing me to a much larger selection of books to read in my favorite genre of horror. Way back when, whatever my mom added to her shelves was what was accessible to me. As I began to shop for books on my own, I was only getting whatever was available at the bookstore, library or thrift stores.
In other words: Traditionally published books.
These days, I’m like a child set loose in a candy store! So many books, so little time! A book that came into view at the beginning of summer is this self-published collection of four short stories called Bones by Andrew Cull.
As far as introductions go, this is the best possible first impression an author can make. It was almost as if Cull was anticipating my own, personal checklist of things I’m looking for in quality horror, intentionally ticking all the boxes. Since this is a debut collection, I’ll go ahead and identify right now that Andrew Cull’s wheelhouse is character-driven stories with “knock-your-socks-off” opening lines. Every single story punched you square between the eyes with the first sentence and then proceeded to build out a flesh-and-blood character or two that you could really invest in emotionally. This is the best kind of way to tell scary stories, because a talented author can pull at your heartstrings, distracting you from the horror until it bites you from behind. I was completely captivated by all four stories — each one unique in its subject material but also similar in atmospheric tension and style.
There were some genuinely terrifying, standout scenes that I of course would never spoil for future readers. But I will say, the scariest story for me was “Hope and Walker.” It was unsettling and disturbing in ways that I won’t likely forget and will forever be recommending. But I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, since I loved them all for different reasons.
I can’t wait to see a full novel from Andrew Cull sooner rather than later. I’ll be the first to buy it!