Matthew Bartlett is a strange man. Let me rephrase that, he's a very nice man with strange ideas. Unsettling ideas that squiggle and squirm. That reek of sweat and soured milk and thick lung blood and barn wood. Don't let his sweet face fool you, somewhere in that head are scary things. Very scary things.
If you were lucky enough to read his debut collection Gateways To Abomination , or any of his chap books The Witch-cult In Western Massachusetts , Rangel or Anne Gare's Rare Book and Ephemera Catalogue, then you are familiar with what he does. In fact, most of those things appear in this volume, in one way or another. Bartlett is a visionary. He actually reinvented the wheel here, with his idea of a collection. His stories are woven into intricate quilts of passage and prose, stitched through catalog entry or radio editorial, want ads and personal ads. Black and white pictures. You get an entire world between the covers. It's not a pretty one.
We once again visit the town of Leeds, a two-faced burg with one face being the typical smallish town/city full of history and charm--yet the other is a twisted visage of shadow and evil. That face whispers of walking talking goats and shambling cadavers, vile things that hatch from eggs and that skittle across the barn roof. Of churches that offer absolutely no sanctuary against any of these things. And we are given a running commentary by way of the otherworldly frequency occupied by WXXT, a radio station of and for the damned and marked.
The fractured world we glimpse here is terrifying. It's an ever shifting kaleidoscope of nightmare fuel and spiritual uncertainty. Of trepidation and retaliation. It is both the torch-bearing mob and the monster it pursues. If I am to sum it up as simply as I possibly can. It is genius. Dark and oily stain-leaving genius.