Ephialtes

Ephialtes by Terry M. West

EPHIALTES collects 3 short horror books from seasoned horror craftsman, Terry M. West. Included are:

TRANSFER-Prepare to scream forever! Howie Payne and Nick Enlow work the midnight shift at Big Carl’s Video Transfer and Media Services. An odd AVI clip begins to appear in their public drive on a nightly basis. At first Howie and Nick think it’s a serialized art house horror film someone on the day shift is sending them in secret. As the clips progress, however, the now obsessed duo discover something deeper and darker in the videos. Horror author Terry M. West would like to introduce you to the Green Room and its primary occupant, The Screamer.

THE DEVIL’S LIST– This story was inspired by shocking true events. The Devil’s List is a dark tale of insanity and horror from Terry M. West. In the small Texas town of Pleasant Storm during the summer of 1985, Chuck Beall embarks on a journey of brutality and madness. Convinced he’s possessed by a demon that compels him to kill, Chuck’s murderous attention shifts from random transients to those he blames the most for his abusive past.

THE PLUMBERS-Liam and Pierce live in a country ravaged by a strange sickness. It’s called the CRUD and it turns its victims into rabid killing machines known as the Plaguers. The authorities wage constant war to keep the plaguers from overrunning the towns, boroughs, and cities. Liam and Pierce are plumbers sent to the infected zones to keep the taps and sewers flowing. They preserve the dwindling resources of their homeland. Come along in the van and spend a typical day with Liam and Pierce. A day of digging holes, twisting pipe, soldering joints, measuring twice, cutting once, plunging the bog, battling the plaguers in gruesome fashion, and telling crude jokes. No matter how dangerous or dirty the task, it’s just another day on the job for the Plumbers!

The IndieMuse Review

The latest book from Terry M. West reprints three previously available novellas into one shiny new package. Featuring creepy opening story, “Transfer”, followed up by the disturbing “The Devil’s List” (inspired by a real-life serial killer) and closing with the buddy horror-comedy, “The Plumbers”, Ephialtes covers a broad spectrum of sub-genres, but how does each story fare?

“Transfer”

Howard and Nick work the nightshift at Big Carl’s Video, providing editing and video transfer services for birthdays, wedding and other events. When a mysterious video appears in their queue without explanation they are initially intrigued by its origin, but as things escalate and spiral out of control, their curiosity may be the thing that ultimately damns them. Think The Ring meets Sinister by way of Clerks and you may have an idea what to expect here. It’s the books outright scariest story, featuring cursed videos and an unforgettable monster, but it’s the camaraderie between the older Howard and millennial Nick which elevates this story to something genuinely great.

“The Devil’s List”

This story opens with a caution regarding content, and it is certainly a justified warning. Tackling some difficult subjects in an unflinching and uncomfortable way, this one was a tough read but never felt exploitative. The story follows Chuck, who had a difficult upbringing with an abusive father and suffered continued bullying due to a facial disfigurement. Now grown up and caring for his elderly grandfather, during a moment of weakness and anger he is possessed by a demon, who uses him to commit horrendous acts of atrocity. The story explores Chuck’s actions, leaving it up to the reader to decide whether he truly is possessed, or if it has been him, and him alone, the whole time. It’s a tough but rewarding read, carefully handled and well-executed

“The Plumbers”

After the gut-punch that is “The Devil’s List”, it was nice to end the book on a more light-hearted note. Set during a pandemic, where a disease known as ‘the crud’ infects people, turning them violent and irrational, the story follows a pair of plumbers sent to a high-profile job in an upmarket neighbourhood that just happens to be in one of the city’s infected zones. Part buddy, road-trip comedy and part zombie apocalypse pastiche, this was a very funny story with a lot of heart at its core. The central friendship of Liam and Pierce provides a lot of the humor, but also adds to the tension once things get messy in the final act.

I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite story from Ephialtes. Each one provides a very different reading experience and I enjoyed each short in very different ways, whether that was being scared (“Transfer”), appalled (“The Devil’s List”) or made to laugh out loud (“The Plumbers”). Each story transcends its core premise by providing likeable and memorable characters to root for or presenting us with a protagonist so unlikeable, that they are equally unforgettable for very different reasons. No matter what your personal taste in horror, there is something for everyone with this book and is a rare collection where every offering is consistently entertaining.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

Curation Results: Ephialtes

gHoster
B-Baal
Emo-Lee
KnotBTK
Deathdealer
Curator Notes: "Strong, multi-faceted collection from a veteran storyteller." —KnotBTK

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