Book Reviews by Mae Clair: The Reunion by Kiersten Modglin, Among the Headstones, An anthology of Gothic Horror Stories edited by Rayne Hall @RayneHall

Striped kitten lying on open book, eyeglasses resting on pages. Book and kitten on white blanket

Book cover for The Reunion shows standing broken wine glass over red background

THE REUNION
by Kiersten Modgllin

I’m a fan reunion books, so it was a no brainer to scoop this one up. Cait DuBois, shunned by “the Populars” in her high school, is now a celebrated novelist with an amazing husband and lovely twins. Ten years after graduation she returns to her hometown and the hotel that hosted her senior prom—the scene of a tragedy that still haunts her. Returning to Hotel Lilith means encountering the girls that made her life miserable in the past, plus reconnecting with one of her oldest friends. Not long after arriving at Hotel Lilith, she meets a woman claiming to be a fan. Anna’s presence seems to be the catalyst for a series of mysterious events that grow increasingly threatening.

The story didn’t follow the path I expected, but it held my interest and kept me flipping pages. The plot moves at a crisp pace with chapters alternating between Cait’s high school years and the present. We get a group of bitchy girls both in past and present, replete with underlying pettiness and snark. There’s also relationship angst and a dark secret Cait has harbored since the night of the prom but has never shared.

I admit being frustrated with Cait’s behavior in the last quarter of the book but without giving away spoilers the reasons are hard to address. There’s also a plot hole at the end, but it’s relatively small and doesn’t distract from the climatic scenes. If you’re looking for a quick read that plays out like a Lifetime movie, The Reunion is a good fit.

AMAZON LINK


book cover for Among the Headstones shows illustration of old tombstones in a graveyard, black cat sitting atop one stone

AMONG THE HEADSTONES
Creepy Tales from the Graveyard: Gothic and Horror Stories
Edited by Rayne Hall


This fantastic collection of short stories, centered around graveyards and burials, is beautifully atmospheric. By turns spooky, dark, and lyrical—a few even tongue-in-cheek—the tales range from classic to contemporary, bringing together a variety of voices and styles. As someone who finds cemeteries equally restful and mysterious, imbued with the echoes of those who’ve lived before, I was enthralled.

Rayne Hall has done a stellar job with presentation. The entire work is professional and polished. I especially liked how each author is given a moment to share their thoughts at the end of their specific story regarding the inspiration behind it. Overall, it’s a rare anthology when almost every single work delivers.

Although I enjoyed this collection cover to cover, the following stood out as my personal favorites: Dead Person Collection, The Story of Salome, The New Catacomb, Lucretia’s Hum, Another Oldie but Goodie, The Shortcut, and Behind Him.

Take a walk among the headstones—you won’t regret it!

AMAZON LINK