Book Reviews

Review: Neithernor ( grotesquerie ) by Richard Gavin

Cover of grotesquerie by Richard Gavin. Cover art by Mike Davis.

This Collection includes: “Banishments” • “Fragile Masks” • “Neithernor” • “Deep Eden” • “The Patter of Tiny Feet” • “The Rasping Absence”• “Scold’s Bridle: A Cruelty” • “Crawlspace Oracle” • “After the Final” • “The Sullied Pane” • “Cast Lots”• “Notes on the Aztec Death Wistle” • “Headsman’s Trust: A Murder Ballad” • “Chain of Empathy” • “Three Knocks on a Buried Door” • “Ten of Swords: Ruin”

This review covers the third, short story titled Neithernor, inside of the collection of stories titled grotesquerie. This is not a a review for the whole book.

In my review for the first story in grotesquerie titled Banishments, I don’t think I mentioned, but these stories are mostly written in a classical form. It’s one that you don’t see often these days. It is a bit heavier of reading, sometimes I had to go back over things, but with this comes a reward. What is also rewarding about these stories is, albeit not excessive, that their are gems. Gems in the form of interesting words, gems in the form of complex thought, gems in the form of references to other mediums of art, etc. I really can’t say enough about how I value gems in all books, not just this short story. Things that make you think, wonder and research to learn and grow. I fear that a lot of modern books won’t put gems in a book for reasons I can only assume, but I think it is a mistake, especially when warranted. I haven’t read a lot of classic literature, even in the horror genre such as H.P. Lovecraft or similar, not enough to speak about it. But, if I were to assume what it would be like and to recall a solid memory about it, it would be close in form to what Gavin has done here. This is classy horror, no cussing or vulgarities in that respect. It’s intellectual reading.

“Companionship always puts one more at ease with one’s own eccentricities. Alone, one’s compulsions can become forces of anguish and alienation. Betrothed, they twist into endearing quirks in the eye of one’s lover. This of course is so much easier than the futile quest to entirely remake one’s self to fit an ideal.”

© 2020, Richard Gavin

Again, if you are apt to assume, Gavin will prove you wrong. I think this could be easily mistaken for confusing writing, but I don’t think that is the case here. I think it would be a mistake to state so. Gavin has a gift for being paradoxically simple and complex at the same time and this gets you out of your comfort zone, which I think is a great thing in all aspects of life when applied correctly and on your own will.

© 2020, Richard Gavin

This story has elements of distant, slightly unfamiliar family. Mystical art with intimate relationships started on the basis of deception and most importantly all these elements are wrapped up in a quest to unite with family. The story is very believable and thought out well. Internal dialog and thoughts also hold genuinity. The ending is paradoxical and it is written as such.


Gavin produces a vivid, atmospheric writing that is genuine, paradoxical and grim; it’s filled with reading gems of different types, dark and unsettling things and even a couple of hints of humor. I enjoyed this just as much as I did my first review of the first short story in grotesquerie titled Basishments. I give it ★★★★★ 5 stars out of 5.

Guys, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley

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By S.D. McKinley

S.D. McKinley lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in the first half of the 1980's and grew up in Wisconsin as a young boy, then moved to Georgia when he turned exactly twelve years old. During teenage years, he raced dirt track go karts and played guitar. He discovered his current love for all kinds of art after his mid-life crisis at 25 years old. S.D. McKinley began writing books in 2017.

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