Review – Matters of Mortology by T. M. Camp (Dead Tree Book)

mom-cover-final Mr. Camp is a author whose works are new to me, though I’ve been following him on Twitter for some time. He put out some news about a sale on his books and there was one in my price range, so I snapped it up. I believe in supporting independent authors as much as I can, where I can. As a result I bring you the following review.

Alone in a crumbling manor, an aging undertaker recounts a horrifying episode from the early days of his career. When an unspeakable monster trespasses the border between life and death, the undertaker finds himself in a struggle to save the village he has sworn to serve — even if it means sacrificing his own family and faith in the process.

I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. That’s always the case with a new author. Mr. Camp’s work has come highly recommended to me by some friends, so I was pretty certain I’d enjoy it. I’m pleased to say that I was right and my friends have come through yet again. The first thing that struck me about this book was that I felt like I was reading something akin to Edgar Alan Poe’s work. This is written in first person and the melancholy narrator would fit well in Poe’s oeuvre. The further I got into it the more I saw how true this was and yet how much it was its own work.

This takes place in a world that’s much like our own and yet, like something from The Twilight Zone, has its own history, gods, and sources of conflict. I wouldn’t call this a work of fantasy or science fiction per se, but it’s a world all its own. I think that will be helpful for you going in, since for me at least it lead to a few moments of confusion. Like Poe’s works, the building sense of dread as the monster in the above description begins its unholy work, and the atmosphere that Mr. Camp builds all happen at a slow pace. I like that quite a bit. I’m a fan of the slow burn, so long as the candle doesn’t flicker out.

There’s no danger of that here. The book is short and the pace almost languid, but Mr. Camp uses that space to good effect. It’s a much richer work than stories twice its length. That also makes the few scenes of violence that much more intense. I won’t tell you what’s tearing this world apart, or why, but the reveal is more than satisfactory and he gives the tropes in play a freshness that I appreciate.

I give this book five headstones and I highly recommend that you check it out.

Mr. Camp’s site