Purgatorium – Connie Di Pietro
Edited by: Connie Di Pietro
Publisher Location: Ontario
Publisher: ID Press
Publication Date: November 2016
Find it here: Amazon
Back Cover Copy:
Life is change.
Children become adults. Summer becomes Winter. The old pass life to death. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
But to some, life is purgatory. A place of temporary suffering between this world and the next.
In these eleven stories, every painful, frightening transition is driven by a single element.
That element is Purgatorium.
I’ll start off by saying that I love anthologies. Collections of short stories are fantastic to have on your shelf for times when you have a few spare moments, but don’t quite want to sit down with a long novel. Being able to start and finish a story in one sitting is a wonderful gift, and Purgatorium is definitely one you’ll want to have on your shelf.
Purgatorium: The Element of Horror is exactly what it says it is: a collection of horror stories. There are eleven wonderfully horrifying stories in the book, but I’ll pick out a few of my favourites.
The anthology starts with a story called “Dubious Pickles” by Kevin Craig. Honestly, before I began reading it the title threw me off a little. I’m not a fan of pickles, and I was worried this would be a story of horrifyingly rotten pickles. Luckily, I was wrong. Don’t judge a story by its title, folks! The story gave me a serious To Kill a Mockingbird crossed with The Goonies vibe. I won’t tell you why because it would spoil the fun. Read it and find out!
I think “Terminal” by Robert E. Walton terrified me the most. This story felt very real, like I was somehow floating overhead watching Paul’s every move as he tried to figure out what was happening, and the realization that he couldn’t stop it. I felt swallowed by the darkness alongside him, and I had to put the book down for a while before I could pick it up and continue on to the next story.
Now, at the end of the book, just when you think you’ve gone through the first ten stories and made it out alive, Purgatorium has a special surprise for you. The surprise is a story called “Pieces” co-written by two authors with other stories in the book: Tobin Elliott and Robert E. Walton. ID Press had a contest running when Purgatorium was first published regarding the Easter eggs in this story. Elliott and Walton not only crafted a fantastically scary story, but they also managed to sneak in references to each of the stories that came before it. Some references are subtle, some are more obvious. Let me know in the comments below how many you found!
I’ve also got to give a shout out to a few stories that made me shiver while reading: “Carousel Eyes” by Yvonne Hess, “Blood Pies” by Kate Arms, and “Mule” by Pat Flewwelling.
Every story in this anthology offers a different way to scare the pants off you. But if you’re reading at home alone, who needs pants anyway? Trust me, you want to read this book.
Ellen is a freelance fiction editor, book reviewer, research assistant for Simon Fraser University, marketing coordinator for WCSFA, and member volunteer for Editors’ Association of Canada. As of September 2017, she will also be a master’s student of publishing at SFU. You can contact her via ellenmichelle.com for any editing queries and at email@example.com for book review queries.