Those who like haunting stories of supernatural suspense will find Unearthed: An Anthology of Suspense just what the doctor ordered. There are four original stories by four different writers. Edmond Cheng, author of Illusion, sent me a digital copy for review so I read his contribution first.
Thomas and Karen Chan have been married for three years when things start to go bad. It all begins with a visit to his office from Aunt Wai Ha, the mother of his good buddy, Jonathan. The old woman confides in Thomas. Jonathan's wife Helen is having an affair and he must be the one to tell his friend. Thomas promises he will. That night he tells his wife about the visit and she's shocked. Coincidently she had a visit also, from Jonathan who told her Aunt Wai Ha has been dead for months. Thomas tries to put this strange experience behind him but stranger things are about to happen. Is it really Helen who is having an affair or is it Thomas' wife, Karen who is seeing another man? Is the ghost of Aunt Wai Ha haunting Thomas or is he imagining everything? Soon it's impossible to tell reality from illusion.
Edmond Cheng is Chinese, and although the English is not perfect, the mix of cultures adds richness to the story. Part mystery and part ghost story it's also a cleverly plotted psychological thriller. An engaging read that will keep you guessing until the end.
The other three stories are also intriguing. In Last Fragment by Shawn McPike, carpenter, Stuart Nichols accepts a job from TJ McDermott and has problems right from the start. Strange occurrences put his life in danger and make him question his own sanity.
In Help Me by David A. Stelzig, Mario Pinelli is a functioning alcoholic who believes he's responsible for the death of his wife and sister. Ex-lover, Barbara Stevens thinks she's being stalked and calls him for help. He can't help getting involved, thinking he will atone for past mistakes but he becomes a target himself.
In Crown of the Earth by Seth E. Lender, Detective Nicole Marcos has only one lead in the murder of her sister but it may cost her, her life.
All four stories are entertaining mysteries with characters that are flawed but sympathetic. They're not easy reads, but tales that make you think. I'm sure we'll be seeing more from these talented writers.
Publisher: Midnight Showcase
ISSN 1555 - 5496 VOL. 109-22ED