Fugue Devil – Resurgence: Stephen Mark Rainey
Reviewed By Priscilla Bettis
Fugue Devil: Resurgence is a collection of horror stories by Rainey in celebration of the 30th anniversary of his classic, “Fugue Devil.” Rainey’s stories have a strong sense of place (mostly North Carolina and West Virginia, but please don’t think “hillbilly horror”). They’re also highly engaging and will suck you in.
Rainey’s prose appears straightforward, simple even. With a closer look, though, you’ll find exceptionally poetic lines, clever symbolism, and character-defining dialog. It’s polished language that doesn’t call attention to itself.
“Fugue Devil” starts the collection. Teenagers Mike and Ronnie live in a small town, and rumor has it a bluegrass musician conjured up a demon. This coming-of-age tale from 1991 has stood the test of time. It’s scary. Because if you know about the Fugue Devil, it knows about you.
“Threnody” is the oldest story (from 1986) in Rainey’s collection. His prose is descriptive in this one. Take this snippet, for example: “The weedy, unkempt grass that passed for a lawn disappeared into creeping, predatory brambles a few feet from the structure in every direction.” “Threnody” was a pleasure to read.
Thespians will enjoy “Masque of the Queen,” a fun, cursed-play story based on The King in Yellow.
“Somewhere, My Love” attempts to explain how a little kid can be both attracted to and afraid of a talented school teacher. A superior “quiet horror” story with Gothic overtones. This was my favorite in the whole collection even though I typically prefer hardcore horror stories.
Take a cheesy, science-fiction, space-horror story from the 1960s, and spiffy it up for the 2000s. That’s what you get with “Short Wave.” If you like classic science fiction movies, you’ll love this one.
I also really enjoyed “Escalation.” It’s a phantasmagoric murder mystery. Gripping and wonderful.
“Hell’s Hollow” includes government conspiracies and Appalachian folklore. It wasn’t bad, but its too-tropey plot made this story my only disappointment in Rainey’s excellent collection. Readers’ mileage may vary, so I encourage others to read “Hell’s Hollow” for themselves.
“Pons Devana” was difficult for me to follow, but only because I’m not an expert in ancient Rome or Latin, so I stumbled over a lot of the place and character names. It’s an atmospheric read with mysterious happenings like mind-reading, eerie noises in the air, pulses of light (remember, this is ancient Rome), and unseen things scrabbling in the dark. (After all my whining about the names, I ended up liking this story.)
Quality writing from an experienced storyteller. Fugue Devil: Resurgence is full of engaging stories (mostly cosmic horror). You can’t go wrong with Rainey’s collection.
Fugue Devil – Resurgence
Come and join us as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Fugue Devil,” Stephen Mark Rainey’s quintessential scare-your-pants-off story, with this all-new edition that features 11 additional tales to wither your soul and curl your toes:
– A thrilling midnight adventure turns into a dawning horror for two boys.
– A dirge for the dead; if you hear it, it’s too late.
– A terror in the night that echoes through the years.
– Hell is just a stone’s throw away.
– To read the play brings on madness, to perform the play…
– Her music cast a spell because, of course, she was a witch.
– In this wine lies the darkest truth.
– When the stars are right, the sky will fall.
– Voices from the static hint at horrors to come.
– “I am John, your host. I have much to look forward to,” he said with a grotesque smile.
– Something inhuman from the future lurks in the shadows of the past…
– Will capturing the image of a devilish horror render it powerless? Or simply draw its inescapable gaze to you?
Priscilla Bettis is an avid horror reader and passionate horror author. She’s also an excellent swimmer, which is good because vampires are terrible swimmers. Priscilla shares a home in the Northern Plains of Texas with her two-legged and four-legged family members.
Amazon author page: Priscilla-Bettis