William Meikle Double Bill

January 21, 2014 - 12:24 am No Comments

The Ravine
Author: William Meikle
Publisher: Dark Regions Press
Page count: 218pp
Release Date: 19th November 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Written by prolific author William Meikle, The Ravine is a period Western horror in Meikle’s inimitable style.
Captain David Stevens has been on tour of duty for nine months now and is getting antsy for action or home. Hoping for rest that was unlikely, Stevens was sent out to investigate something strange happening in the west badlands. On his mission, he sees a vortex whirling black in the distance but it is no natural phenomenon; the vortex sucking the platoon deep inside. When they emerge from the vortex it’s night and one of the men is dead. And the night sky, which Stevens should’ve known, is unfamiliar to him. And then the group of soldiers hear a scream, and find their dead friend being tortured by a winged ten foot creature enrobed in blackness. So begins a dark journey into the old west blending the best of horror with the vibe of The Valley of Gwangi.

Further down stream, on a trail in the ravine herding cattle, when Joe, Doyle and Joe’s son Tommy find water, it appears to be a life saver for them and their town, but there is something strange about the water and the fish that swim there.

As always, Meikle’s writing is emotional and incredibly visual. The story itself is wonderfully apocalyptic and dark, perfect for fans of old school horror and adventure. And some of the descriptions Meikle uses are gross enough to cause nausea in the reader, and the monsters in this novel are almost Lovecraftian in their perversity and reminiscent of Carpenters The Thing

Samurai and other Stories
Author: William Meikle
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Page count: 132pp
Release Date: 25th January 2014
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Prolific writer William Meikle here reprints a collection of previously published short stories together in one volume with Crystal Lake Publishing. The collection starts with the lead story Samurai, and Cap’n Duncan on a Japan Run. When his boat is lost only five of fifty five men make it out alive. On an island they take refuge in what appears to be a temple, a welcoming temple with food and warmth, but what’s the catch?

Meikle’s stories are imbued with a sense of old codes of conduct and honour, the sins of man and greed, the supernatural and the just plain weird. His stories are also visual and full of literal and metaphorical colour. Rickman’s Plasma, an unusual piece about a form of music devouring all those in its way is almost an homage to The Blob. Meikle’s turn of phrase is entertaining and also grim and visceral. In this story anaphora is used to comic effect.
Home is the Sailor is the story of a cursed hotel, occupied by pensioners gradually decaying away and is perhaps the most darkly humorous of the stories in this collection. Turn Again, in contrast is a short piece but the least satisfying of the collection.

The collection spans centuries and cultures adding diversity to the readers enjoyment. However Meikle seems rather fond of the name Duncan, perhaps because of his Scottish heritage. Yet this heritage adds a depth of culture to much of his work, particularly The Scottsmans Fiddle. He is adept at using lyrics, limericks and shanti songs to add flavour to his stories. A particularly strong story is The Havenhome, the tale of a ship that arrives in a deserted town where all of the inhabitants have been frozen to death beyond all reason. Meikle brings out a much darker style in Living the Dream, a story of obsession and kidnapping.
Overall, this is an engaging insight into Meikle’s work and I would say I enjoyed 99% of the stories, with their variety of flavour and Meikle’s obvious talent. Great value for money.

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