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Hellfire and Damnation / Connie Corcoran-Wilson

Sam’s Dot Publishing / February 2010
Reviewed by: Joan Turner

A unique concept binds the tales in Connie Corcoran-Wilson’s debut short story collection, Hellfire and Damnation. Unified by the theme of Dante’s Inferno and its nine circles of hell, each story corresponds to the sin represented by the circle in which it appears and each takes readers deeper into the bowels of Hell.

The gates of hell swing open with actual words of condemned prisoners awaiting execution on death row in Wilson’s “Hotter than Hell.” The journey then continues down through each ever-darkening level to the icy hot core of Hades itself.

In the first circle of hell, Limbo, where the souls of children who die in original sin are said to reside, we find “Rachael & David” in an unforgettably haunting story of two youngsters from the Edgewood Children’s Center for emotionally disturbed children.

Other outstanding stories include “Love Never Dies,” a completely fresh and original take on the zombie theme and one of best the book has to offer. “Hell to Pay” concerns the lengths an Amish father goes to for his daughter and “On Eagles’ Wings” is the story of a ten-year-old girl abducted by a cult leader and indoctrinated into a bizarre religion. “Going through Hell” involves a serial killer and the desperation of his latest victim. “An American Girl” – the collection’s final story – is a cold-blooded and horrifying account of teen murder.

Subjects of many of the tales in the collection seemed ripped straight from the headlines, and Wilson’s cool and matter-of-fact style serve only to make the stories more disturbing.

Three of the stories – among them the chilling “Rachael & David” – were taken from accounts told to Wilson by residents along famed Route 66. With an Introduction by William F. Nolan and fifteen potent and nightmarish tales, Hellfire and Damnation is a terrifying collection guaranteed to keep you awake at night.

Purchase Hellfire and Damnation by Connie Corcoran-Wilson.

Posted on Monday, February 15, 2010 at 04:10PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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