Found a virgin copy of this scaring all other hardbacks from the shelves in local ideastore earlier;
Graham Masterton - Figures Of Fear (Severn House, 2014)
Jem Butcher design
Ex-Voto What The Dark Does (The Horror Zine, April 2012) Saint Brónach's Shrift (Richard Chizmar [ed.], Cemetery Dance #65, Dec 2011 The Battered Wife The Night Hider Underbed (Stephen Jones & David Sutton [eds], Dark Terrors 2, 1996) Night Of the Wendigo Spirits Of The Age (Peter Crowther [ed.], Taps and Sighs, 2000} Witch-Compass (Stephen Jones & David Sutton [eds], Dark Terrors 5, 2000) Resonant Evil Beholder (Richard Chizmar [ed.], Shivers VII, 2013).
Inner jacket blurb:
From the beginning of history, men and women have been haunted by figures of fear – and now, in his latest short story collection, award-winning horror writer Graham Masterton reveals the figures that haunt his own imagination and keep him awake at night.
FIGURES OF FEAR presents eleven stories, introducing eleven new evils, guaranteed to unsettle and disturb. Meet the little girl whose mother is keeping something important from her, with fearful results ... Tremble at the artist who can see the future and prevent it, at a price ... Beware of the dark, and the evil that lurks within it ... Tremble, and hide, at the sound of the jingle bells ...
Do figures of fear really bring bad luck? Or are they nothing more than stories? Only you can figure out how fearful you are ...[/color]
Ex-Voto: Henry Foster, a businessman travelling in Mexico is shopping for gifts. His guide, Esmerelda, a beautiful girl half his age, decides she knows exactly what he wants and directs him to a stall down a back alley, proprietor a woman in black. She is selling the strangest artwork. "It is simple .... People come to me when they have survived a terrible accident, or a life-threatening sickness, or maybe they have been robbed and nearly killed. I paint them an ex-voto, a thank you to the saint who saved their lives, which they will put up on the wall of their church.
In this case I have painted yours before your accident."
Henry's premonitory painting is gruesome in the extreme.
Couple I made earlier.
Underbed: Martin loves bedtime because that's when he can burrow down under the sheets and embark on his heroic adventures, like saving a little kid fallen down a pothole, etc. So consumed is he in his fantasies that tonight he breaks through to another world for real. A fisherman and his wife prevail upon him to rescue their little daughter, a fellow adventurer, gone missing in the terrible world of Under-Underbed, where flesh-eating monsters lie in wait for the living.
He loves a street peddlar, does GM. Next its Witch-Compass: Paul Dennison returns to Connecticut from Libreville after a decade, having made and been fleeced of a multi-million dollar fortune by the corrupt Gabonese government. On his last night in Gabon he stops before Jonquil, an ancient beggar woman peddling her trinkets in the street. Jonquil gifts him a witch-compass, an infallible means of securing money, women, whatever takes his fancy. Happily for us Paul succumbs to temptation. A sexed-up (necrophilia, no less), gored-up variation on The Monkey's Paw ensues and it is bloody good fun, i can promise you that.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
I will be brutally honest, but I have never really read anything by Graham Masterton. I did start one of his a few years ago ( think it was titled Burial ) but it did nothing at all for me, and I commited the cardinal sin of not finishing a book, which is something I never ever do. Reason for my reluctance is this whole American folklore and Manitou thing he always seems to put in most his books. Wearing a bit thin now. But someone told me his book Sleepless is very good so perhaps Ive been a little to harsh. Also I loved Eric the Pie. Could Figures of Fear be a good place to start ? Maybe. The cover to it is superb .