Books / Horror / Reviews

Book Review and Excerpts: DEADSVILLE by Dale Elster and TD Trask

DEADSVILLE, the debut horror collection by authors T.D. Trask and Dale Elster, is a collection of all new spine-tingling tales set in the fictional town of Rock Creek, New York, a typical storybook town known by it’s locals as Deadsville.

From the Product Description on Amazon:

Welcome to Rock Creek, New York.

A one-stoplight town in the middle of nowhere, on the way to nowhere. A town ruled by quiet, country boredom, nestled between rolling hills and dense forests. Bordered by vast stretches of farmland. A quaint community of friendly faces, deadsvillecharming landscapes, picket fences. An idyllic rural existence. Maybe it is. But the locals have another name for their town: Deadsville.

And not for the reason you think. You see, this town holds many secrets. Nothing is as it seems. Old houses serve as something more than homes for the living. Killers walk amongst the townsfolk. Monsters are real. You’ve found Evil’s hometown. So be prepared to stay. You’re going to be a permanent resident. Because even if you get out, there’s no escape.

—————————————————————————————————————-

DEADSVILLE is everything a horror anthology should be. Each story is unique, sharing nothing in common but location and the often very subtle element of creeping despair. Anthologies like this frequently will contain 2 or 3 really good stories padded with a collection of so-so filler stories. Not in this case. The characters are both quirky and realistic, and the stories are well written and entertaining. You can tell that Elster and Trask were both deeply invested in and passionate about their solo efforts and the co-written “The Other Redeemer”.

While all the stories in this collection are good and kept me interested from start to finish, there are some that were major highlights, such as “The Pit”, “Knew it All Along, “Still Water”, and the aforementioned “The Other Redeemer”. I’m not going to go into any detail about the individual stories because it’s too easy to spoil a short story, so I’ve chosen instead to include a few excerpts after the review.

Overall, DEADSVILLE is a great debut from two authors I will be keeping an eye on in the future. I hope they both continue to grow and produce quality fiction such as the tales of terror they’ve gathered here.

And now, the excerpts:

“The Pit” by Dale Elster – The earthen walls, densely packed and rising feet above his head, radiated the biting chill of the late-November air. It was as if he had fallen into a grave, only twice the depth. He vaguely recognized the design–it looked similar to the pitfall traps his father used to talk about digging when he was into survivalist training.

                He cursed, wincing as his anger spiked his pain to new levels.    

                When I find out who dug this thing…

The grave-like prison wasn’t dug by hand. The walls felt too flat, too even. Impossible as it seemed, it was as if someone had used a machine of surgical-like precision to carve out and neatly lift away a ten-foot deep rectangle of earth in one shot.

Inside the pit, it was as if the cold light of Donnie’s imaginary morgue came with him. The cloud cover melted away, revealing the light of an unseen moon. The light that seeped into the pit allowed him to see the wall three inches from his nose. A worm twisted out through the tangled network of roots and packed earth, dropping out of the wedge of moonlight and onto his sneaker.

“Knew it All Along” by T.D. Trask – “Hi. My name is Randy.” The guy thrust out his hand for Harry to shake.

“Do I know you?” Harry said, not responding.

“No, but please. Can I get a ride to Chesbrough?” The guy named Randy said, finally giving up and dropping his outstretched hand to his side.

“I don’t take hitchhikers. Against the rules.” Harry said, turning, opening the door.

“Please. I’ll pay you to take me there.”

Harry stopped. He had the full load on the back of the truck and had to get to Chesbrough anyway. The foreman would never find out, and even if he somehow did, well, screw ‘em.

“How much is it worth to you for the ride?” Harry asked low so neither the waitress or patrons at the counter could hear.

“Randy,” the guy said again, holding out his hand.

Harry cautiously took Randy’s hand, gave a quick pump, and let go immediately. Harry watched the guy’s eyes suddenly glaze over a bit, then shake his head as if to clear it. Harry felt a little trepidation that the guy might be some sort of whack job or drug fiend or something, but pushed the thought away. “Okay then, Randy. You said you’d pay. How much?”

“Twenty bucks sound okay?”

“Fifty,” Harry countered without hesitation. Then he added, “I mean, since it’s raining and all.”

“Hi. My name is Randy.” The guy thrust out his hand for Harry to shake.

“Do I know you?” Harry said, not responding.

“No, but please. Can I get a ride to Chesbrough?” The guy named Randy said, finally giving up and dropping his outstretched hand to his side.

“I don’t take hitchhikers. Against the rules.” Harry said, turning, opening the door.

“Please. I’ll pay you to take me there.”

Harry stopped. He had the full load on the back of the truck and had to get to Chesbrough anyway. The foreman would never find out, and even if he somehow did, well, screw ‘em.

“How much is it worth to you for the ride?” Harry asked low so neither the waitress or patrons at the counter could hear.

“Randy,” the guy said again, holding out his hand.

You can purchase DEADSVILLE right here. On Thursday, October 1st, Dale and T.D. will be guest bloggers here at Shotgun Logic.

About the authors:

dale

Dale Elster is a horror and dark fiction author living in upstate New York with his wife and two children.
His short fiction has appeared in anthologies by NorGus Press, Collaboration of the Dead, and the Stealth Fiction anthology, “Daylight Dims, Volume 2.” All are available at online retailers.

His house may or may not be haunted.
But it definitely is.

TD

T.D. Trask is a freelance writer, copywriter, and Web site designer living in the great city of Binghamton, NY. His hobbies include following politics, movies, books, and, of course, the paranormal. His novels “Still Waters” and “Legend of the Tiger” are available at online retailers.

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One thought on “Book Review and Excerpts: DEADSVILLE by Dale Elster and TD Trask

  1. Pingback: The Road to Deadsville: A guest post by Dale Elster and T.D. Trask | Shotgun Logic

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