Friday, May 20, 2011


I was impressed by the story of the first chapbook published by Spectral Press, What We Hear in the Dark by Gary McMahon. Creepy, moody, thought provoking, and brooding—I love those types of stories. So when I was asked to take a look at the second Spectral Press chapbook, Abolisher of Roses by Gary Fry, I was excited, but I also expected a bit of a letdown because I figured the best story was probably published first. I’m very happy to say that was not the case.

What purpose does art serve? It’s just a waste of time, right? Peter is a businessman, a self-made man. He has always worked hard and likes to enjoy the fruit of his labor: nice clothes, an expensive car, financial stability, and even a mistress. So when he accompanies his wife, Patricia, to a different kind of art exhibit, he feels he’s simply doing his duty of being a good husband. He quickly notices that he doesn’t fit in with the arty types that are attending the “art trail” exhibit, and he begins to wonder if this art “fad” is more than just a fad for his wife. As he begins to question his wife about the use of art and what good it is, he unknowingly starts a journey to a place he won’t like. It’s more than a physical journey along the art trail he takes. . . .

This is a truly creepy story that pulls the reader in deeper as it moves along. Though this is a diminutive story, it packs a powerful punch that will challenge the reader, and it will leave an impression long after reading. Fry's writing is top-notch, and the story is relevant and thought provoking; there is not much more you can ask for. Spectral Press has started something special and, in my opinion, needed: a line of stories that showcases quality writing and causes the reader to think. I’m looking forward to further installments of this line.

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