Saturday, June 18, 2016


By Mark Justice
Graveside Books
304 pages

A few reviews earlier we talked about book titled “No Rest for the Dead.” This particular review should be offered under the heading of, “A Voice From Beyond.”  It’s pretty easy to rift off titles as this collection of weird, horror yarns by the late Mark Justice sports a mouthful itself.  And maybe that’s because of Mark’s talent for black comedy and his love of the truly bizarre.  Also let’s clear things up front here.  Unlike the times we review books by friends and colleagues where we do our best to remain fair and impartial, this time around it’s sincerely personal.

Mark Justice was a pal and one hell of a damn great writer.  And no, we don’t toss that adjective around lightly.  This collection of 18 twisted tales of various lengths and subject matter are some of the best, funniest and truly creepy tales ever penned.  Each is a solid gem of wit, wisdom and incredible insight into what wise folks call the human condition.  Which in the end is the purpose of all fiction: to view the world through one’s unique life experiences and then have the courage to share them with others.  Mark does that so well, there were moments when reading through these yarns we were either laughing, crying or weary of any strange noises in the house around us.  The man had the ability to pull you into his fabulous imagination and hold you there until the final, bloody end.  And he left us there better for having gone along for the ride.

A quick glance at the table of contents and instantly we recall savoring these truly wonderful stories.  “Black Wings” is perhaps the most disturbing of the bunch and will most likely generate nightmares for lots of readers.  Whereas “Nursing Home of the Gods” and “Agent of Death” are hilarious, side-splitting black comedies.  Then there is the longer entry, “The Autumn Man,” which is both haunting and nostalgic with a good dash of horror thrown in for good measure.

Mark Justice left us too soon in the grand scheme of things.  Yet, during his short time with us, he wrote memorable works of fiction that will continue to both entertain and scare the hell out of readers for ages to come.  In that we take much comfort and devote ourselves to helping spread the word.  If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of Mark Justice, please, go find this book, it is a truly a gift from beyond.

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