Matters Most Macabre

Matters Most Macabre by Tylor James

Matters Most Macabre is a collection of thirteen spine-tingling tales from the maniacal mind of Tylor James. These stories will amuse, disturb, provoke thought, and just plain weird you out!

  • An alien-green light gleaming from behind a door that shouldn’t exist.
  • A world of sudden desperation—all its stories have vaporized overnight, gone from the shelves of libraries, from the internet, from the human mind itself.
  • A Fourth of July in Holebrim, Texas, so explosively grotesque, you’ll never forget it.
  • A city of werewolves hell-bent on taking over the world.
  • A business man discovers God has committed suicide, and decides to make profit from the magical properties of His sacred body.
  • A practical joker whose jokes grow sharp teeth, and turn on him.
  • An accursed typewriter named Lovely Lila fulfills the wildest dreams of any would-be writer…but at what cost?

The IndieMuse Review

The second short story collection from horror writer Tylor James offers a diverse collection of spooky stories featuring:

  • A haunted typewriter that compels its owners to write, their prodigious output coming at a terrible cost
  • A young boy and his grandfather whose fishing trip is cut short by a haunting visitation
  • A hidden doorway inside a closet, and what one fractured family find beyond it
  • A prideful man whose desire for independence turns deadly
  • A rundown town where nothing works, hiding a terrible secret

I enjoyed the different tones and styles James presents in Matters Most Macabre. There are the expected good old fashioned horror shorts (“The Drip”, “The Thing In Gregory Thorn’s Basement”), some of which offer a fun Tales From The Crypt-style twist in the tale (“Helga’s Helping Hands”, “The Typewriter”). We also get more overtly political pieces, such as “When the Joke Grows Sharp Teeth” or blackly comedic, like “Box of Chocolates”.

I was surprised to find my own favorites to be the ones that actually deviated furthest from the title’s promise of the macabre. One particular highlight was “Avery’s Dog”, a sentimental and reflective story with mild sci-fi leanings that uses an inventive premise to tell a heart-warming story of a lifelong friendship as well as a genuinely affecting look at mortality and loss. “Godly Business” is another example of a story that doesn’t steer all that close to horror, instead opting for a clever fable about capitalism, told via a dryly humorous, big scale sci-fi fantasy premise.

While I enjoyed the collection as a whole, there were certainly stories I enjoyed more than others. Stories like “Box of Chocolates”, “The Typewriter” and “O.O.T.W” may not offer the most original story, but are well told and entertaining enough. Other stories (“The Day The Stories Died”, “The Drip”) would benefit in a little more subtlety and trust in its readers to get the subtext, but get their point across effectively, if not a little on-the-nose. The only story that didn’t work for me in general was “When the Joke Grows Sharp Teeth” which is too broad to work as effective satire and deals with themes too unsavory to be sold as a piece of pure entertainment.

James offers some lengthy story notes to close out the collection, providing some details behind each story’s inception and what inspired them. Story notes may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m a big fan, and I particularly enjoyed these as they are bravely personal while offering up some fun and insightful anecdotes. I highly recommend reading these at the end or, like I did, flipping to the back after each story to read more about how it came to be.

Matters Most Macabre takes a lot of disparate tones and themes and melds them together into a largely satisfying and consistently enjoyable collection. While not every story lands, there are far more hits than misses and the best the collection have to offer are more than worth the price of admission alone.

Curation Results: Matters Most Macabre

gHoster
B-Baal
Emo-Lee
KnotBTK
Deathdealer
Curator Notes: "A mixed collection of dark stories, some better than others, but an overall worthy read by a talented new author."

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.

This title has been officially certified by indiemuse reviewers and curators as a recommended read. Read about our certification process here.

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