Rarely do I review horror and gothic, yet after receiving a wonderful request by my dear friend Eden Royce to take a look at her new southern gothic horror, Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Royce is one of the great new literary voices we need in this world, a viewpoint and flavor not yet appreciated by the wider masses waiting to find it. This is quality, folks, and it is a quality that needs real attention paid to it.
My favorite stories from this collection were "Rhythm" and "Doc Buzzard's Coffin", two tales that are widely different, but still contain an execution of talent that leaves the reader both awed and disturbed long after the story ends. The open ending to "Rhythm" is so charged with tension that it left me wanting to see what happened next. However, it is within "The Watered Soul" where Ms. Royce's superb skills shine through. The tone of the work, the interplay between the characters, enthralled me right to the end. Filled with culture, terror, and colorful characters that shout their southern, grotesque beauty from the moment they walk onto the page, Spook Lights speaks wonderfully to a special identity that is integral to the author--an identity that should be celebrated and devoured by readers who are looking for something truly fresh.