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    • Flesh of my Flesh: The Follow-up Interview September 25, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, I know… it has been a while. This year has been a trying one for me and I have been dealing with some “real life” stuff…  scarier than anything I post here. I apologize for our absence. But it was brief this time. Now that “real life” is levelling out, we are […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt
    • Now available: The Lovecraft eZine 2014 Megapack! August 10, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, So for the brief week off. But I had a case of life. I was on a bit of a mission and it went quite swimmingly. But fear not wicked ones. I am still here to bring you the strange and spooky! Today we have some news from a wonderful ezine […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt
    • A Conversation With Craig Yoe August 1, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, Today I was fortunate enough to sit and have a chat with the wonderfully fascinating creative genius, Craig Yoe. Craig and I met at HeroesCon this summer when he accepted an award at The Inkwells on Steve Ditko‘s behalf (sort of). I was beyond thrilled when this incredible talent agreed to […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt
    • Flesh of my Flesh —- The Review! July 29, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day seven of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director – Edward Martin III – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and Thursday’s interview with Sean Strauss […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh: Interview (/Happy-Hour) With Actress Tara Walker July 28, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day six of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director –Edward Martin III – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and Thursday’s interview with Sean Strauss – […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt
    • Flesh of my Flesh: An Interview With Director of Photography Ryan K. Johnson July 27, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day five of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director – Edward Martin II – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and Thursday’s interview with Sean […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh – Zombies Need Love Too July 25, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day four of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director – Edward Martin III – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and yesterday’s interview […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt
    • Flesh of my Flesh – An Interview With Documentarian and Location Manager Sean Strauss July 24, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day three of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director of the film and yesterday’s article written by yours truly!  Today we will be talking with […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh – Through The Eyes of the 2nd Assistant Director – Madness, Mayhem, and Love July 23, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, Welcome to day two of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out yesterday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director of the film.  Today you get to hear me ramble on about my time on the set. […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt
    • Flesh of my Flesh – An Interview With Writer/Director Edward Martin III July 21, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, Those of you who know me personally and professionally have probably at one time or another been regaled with the stories of my time on the Flesh of my Flesh movie set. For those who are not aware, I was 2nd Assistant Director (amongst other things) of a feature film shot […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine

Written by: John Llewellyn Probert
Published by: Spectral Press
Page Count: 85
ISBN 10: 0957392702
ISBN 13: 978-0957392700
Where to buy: Spectral Press Store, Amazon, and other fine book retailers.

Publisher’s Comments:
Someone is killing doctors in the style of the murders in Vincent Price movies, leaving the Bristol police baffled. The only man who could possibly be responsible died years ago . . . or did he . . .?

The police in Bristol have been confronted by a series of the most perplexingly elaborate deaths they’ve ever encountered in all their years of murder enquiries. The only thing which connects them is their seemingly random nature and their sheer outrageousness. As Detective Inspector Longdon and his assistant Sergeant Jenny Newham (with the help of pathologist Dr. Richard Patterson) race against time to find the murderer, they eventually realise that the link which connects the killings is even more bizarre than any of them dared to think.

Hello readers and fellow devotees of the weird and terrorific,

Simon Marshall JonesSpectral Press is one of the greatest small presses out there, in my opinion — producing high-quality chapbooks with great stories, beautiful cover art, and a unique, almost hand-made feel to them.

Their recent offering, The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine by John Llewellyn Probert is no exception. Well, actually the content is a bit different than the norm, but more on that in the review itself.

In fact, enough monologuing, let’s get to the goods, shall we?

-Marc

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine by John Llewellyn Probert is a little different than the usual Spectral Chapbook. It’s a little less scary than their usual fare; but what it lacks in chills it makes up in cleverness, excitement, and downright fun. Plus it’s got just enough horror to make the “scary” scenes all the more unnerving.

I put the word scary in quotes because T9DoDV (for short) is, at its heart, a revenge story; but one that is wrapped in a murder-mystery and dressed in the trappings of horror. The scarier parts of the book take place in the form of elaborate murder scenes, enacted by a hate-filled and vengeful villain with a flair for the theatrical.

All of the murders are (and don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler so much as a major plot element that is revealed very early in the narrative) intricate and carefully staged reenactments of scenes from various classic Vincent Price horror films. For anyone who spots the inspiration of the original movies as the scenes are unfolding, it adds another layer of suspense as you see what is coming while the hapless victims cluelessly fumble along their predetermined, and unavoidable, paths to death. If you don’t recognize the scenes while you’re reading the story, that’s OK, you’re still in for the treat of a handful of graphic, violent, and creative murders.

My only real complaint about this book (and this is a minor SPOILER ALERT) is that the perspective is mostly focused on Detective Inspector Jeffrey Longdon, except for the murder scenes which are all from the victims’ perspectives. So while the perspective does jump around a bit, Longdon is the only police officer to receive the “center of the lens,” so to speak. When the narrative suddenly shifts focus to his partner, Sergeant Jenny Newham near the end of the story, I thought it was jarring and too blatantly broadcast that she was about to find herself in some trouble at the hands of the evil mastermind…

But you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out what happens to her. And in my opinion, it is well worth the read.

Final Thoughts:
T9DoDV may be a little less scary than the average Spectral Press chapbook, but don’t let that throw you off. It is fun and exciting and packed with enough thrills to more than make up for the lack of overt terror.

I give The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine 4.5 out of 5 tentacles.

Marc Nocerino – Assistant Editor (Columinst,Reviewer)

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