Scott Marlowe | Book Review: Ephemera by Paul S. Kemp
Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Book Review: Ephemera by Paul S. Kemp

View this book on Amazon.com I'm supporting Kindle writers by selecting for review the occasional eBook from Amazon's Kindle Store each month. This is the second of those selections.

Also, I'm taking LibraryThing's 50 Book Reading Challenge for 2010. This is my 25th read of the 50.

Ephemera: Dark Stories from the mind of Paul S. Kemp by Paul S. Kemp is a collection of previously published shorts that the author collected together into a new, single volume source available in Amazon's Kindle store. Kemp is the NY Times bestselling author of the popular Erevis Cale novels and stories.

As the sub-title indicates, these are dark tales. You won't come away feeling good. You'll experience murder, rape, injustice, and torture. But Kemp handles each of these topics with a certain finesse, neither overdoing it nor throwing in something just for shock factor. There may be some unsavory happenings, but they're each integral to the story in question.

The collection consists of just over 200 pages and includes the following stories:

  • The Signal (available as a free download from the author's blog): A hard-boiled detective story with a Lovecraftian slant.
  • One Thousand and One Words: A reporter's visit to a reclusive enigma's mansion may be his last.
  • Marlboro Man: A story about a very unangel-like angel.
  • Confession: Two brothers go to summon a demon.
  • The Spinner: A nautical tale about wrongdoing and self-sacrifice.
  • Stillborn: A witch's tale of sacrifice.
  • The Sixth Floor: A short but chilling story of zombies and survival.

I found each of the stories enjoyable (maybe that's the wrong word given the content; let's say instead the stories and characters did an excellent job of luring me in). The only exception might be Marlboro Man. I don't object to the blasphemy. The story itself just didn't leave me as haunted or as satisfied as the others. My favorites were The Signal, The Spinner, and The Sixth Floor. The last, while the shortest, is also the most chilling. It's a nice send-off for what is a very well written, haunting collection of shorts.