"DEAD IS DEAD BUT NOT ALWAYS" Book Review
Written by Shane D. Keene
Published by HellBound Books
Written by Eddie Generous
2018, 218 pages, Fiction
Released on April 20, 2018
Here’s a book I could talk about all day long and never get tired of. One of those collections that gets in your brain and sticks there, where every single story is a home run and you find yourself finishing it and wanting to read it all over again. As I’ve been going through my review notes preparing to write this, I’m struck again by how effective and meaningful these dark, often intensely emotional little tales of horror really are and I went back again last night and read two of them for what is now the third time. I’ll talk about those in more detail further down the page, but I want to emphasize the visceral reaction I had to this thing. Author Eddie Generous, founder, publisher, editor, artist and probably custodian for Unnerving Magazine, is a multi-talented and passion driven creative whose last name is perfectly suited to him. Because in addition to being such a highly skilled individual, he’s also just one hell of a nice guy.
I came to Eddie’s work with a fresh eye, free of assumption and expectations. Dead is Dead but Not Always is the first of his works to cross my desk, but the writer made me know quick that it most likely won’t be the last. From the very first story he ripped me from my current setting and into the dark and terrifying world of “The Howl,” where a teacher in a small mountain town begins to suspect some of her students are being abused. But some secrets are better left buried and, as she will find out quick enough, unearthing them is a very bad idea. Thus begins a journey of recurring themes and mechanics, with tales often involving dangerous secrets and imperiled youths, not to mention some heavily cosmic-influenced pieces along the way, such as the brilliant and horrific “Of the Knoll,” and the darkly brooding and heartbreaking “Dead Lake,” in which a dying woman endeavors to learn the mysteries that surround the titular lake. Generous likes to play with these themes in different ways, testing their boundaries and seeing just how far and in how many directions he can take them.
And it seems, in Eddie’s adroit hands, these themes are limitless, with gut-wrenching tales like “We in the Dark, Together, Forever” steeped in existential dread and others, such as the mind numbing “Slither,” worming their way into your grey matter like a parasite and refusing to let you go long after the last word is well behind you. Generous is an author of limitless imagination, one with a deep understanding of the human condition and what it takes to make his characters jump off the page and grab you, dragging you into their worlds and making you experience the settings and events of their stories first-hand. You truly give a shit about them and what happens to them and, even though this author’s work pretty much guarantees whatever’s coming is going to be very, very bad, you are helpless to resist the undeniable lull of the author’s voice, his imagery and his language so visceral and vivid you can taste the blood in your mouth when his protagonists cough it up, and you can feel the rough scratch of straw on your skin when they’re lying naked and shivering in the night. And when the inevitable darkness finally descends, you find yourself ready to fully accept it and embrace it.
Trust me when I tell you that, right from page one, the darkness is coming in spades, ramping up with each successive pinprick to the thin membrane that surrounds your heart until, finally, you find yourself dashing “Over the Fields and Through the Woods” with two young boys on the run after killing their abusive adoptive father. Here again the stars of the show are children, and it’s here that you truly learn what the author means when he tells us that “Dead is Dead, but Not Always.” With cutting tales simultaneously ominous, brooding, and viscerally horrifying, Eddie Generous brings a welcome flair of originality to his newest collection. Dead is Dead but Not Always digs into the surreal darkness of your worst nightmares and drags your demons shredding and clawing their way to the treacherous surface of reality.