#Horror Review: Corpse Cold by John Brhel & Joseph Sullivan

Urban legends, modern folklore, and ghost stories - I'm fascinated by them all. I love the oral storytelling tradition, the passing of stories from one person to another, subtly altered to fit the mood, the location, or the person. They're a fluid sort of storytelling, which makes them hard to capture on paper, but Corpse Cold: New American Folklore attempts to do just that.

John Brhel & Joseph Sullivan have crafted 20 short, campfire-digestible stories, with illustrations from Chad Wehrle that help to set the mood, regardless of how or where you're reading. They didn't all work for me, but there were some that delivered genuine chills.

I won't go into detail on all the stories, but there are a few I wanted to touch on. "Switches" got the collection off to a good start with a simple tale of misbehaving light switches in a motel, with a fun little twist at the end. "Corpse Cold" was one of those stories you just know won't end well, but it's fun to watch the panic that arises over a misplaced corpse.

"Friendship: Dead and Buried" was fantastic, the story of the worst bachelor party ever, the best amusement part ever, and a cruel joke that backfires brilliantly. "The Big 'M'" reminded me of workplace experiences I've had, only I wasn't lucky enough to have such haunted equipment in the back room. "Moss Lake Island" was another fun one, turning the voyeuristic appeal of naked witches cavorting across the lake, with a perfectly dark final twist.

"It That Decays" is another that is, perhaps, too easy to appreciate, a slice of dental horror that I really need to force my wife to read . . . and keep far, far away from my son. "Woman on the Campus Green" didn't seem like much at first, but has some good tension to it, and another of those fun final twists. While I didn't care for the YouTube inspired story, "A Casket for my Mother" was a near-perfect contemporary urban legend - it's just a shame the twist didn't live up to the novelty of crowd sourcing a mother's casket, with increasingly creepy reward tiers.

Even if all the stories didn't work Corpse Cold: New American Folklore was still a solid read, with stories that lend themselves to being binge read a handful at a time.

Paperback, 213 pages
Published November 5th 2017 by Cemetery Gates Media

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

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