Gypsy Blood

Jeff Gun­hus

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - BEN­JAMIN WEL­TON

Seven Guns Press (MAY) Soft­cover $12.95 (305pp) 978-0-9982177-6-5

All the best hor­ror reads like a dream. Ac­tu­ally, more like a night­mare. Jeff Gun­hus’s Gypsy Blood is peak night­mare aes­thetic, and this bizarre mur­der mys­tery set in the chilly labyrinth of Paris is sure to keep many awake at night.

The book’s hero (if you can call him that) is Corbin Ste­wart. Like a lot of failed writ­ers and artists be­fore him, Ste­wart thinks that Paris is syn­ony­mous with in­spi­ra­tion, as if the mas­ter­strokes of Hem­ing­way and Fitzger­ald were only pos­si­ble be­cause of the sa­cred cof­fee of the Mont­martre. Un­for­tu­nately for Ste­wart, get­ting re­jected in bars is the only thing he man­ages to ac­com­plish in the City of Lights.

That mis­for­tune turns ex­tremely sour when Ste­wart wit­nesses a grue­some mur­der. The killers are no or­di­nary vil­lains—ste­wart sees that they have a flair for the dra­matic, killing wear­ing porce­lain tragedy masks. Ste­wart’s at­tempt to save the mur­der vic­tim is re­warded with the curse of a tor­mented soul.

Gypsy Blood is a great pot­boiler that combines mys­tery, mur­der, and the su­per­nat­u­ral, if the su­per­nat­u­ral con­ceit at the heart of the work does strain credulity. It moves fast—most of its fifty-plus chap­ters barely last more than five pages—and is work­man­like, ex­em­pli­fy­ing the writ­ing of a best­seller. While the “Fran­glish” of the novel is at times try­ing, Gypsy Blood im­bues a Euro­pean at­mos­phere in what is a thor­oughly Amer­i­can-style hor­ror story.

Earthy and re­al­is­tic de­tails cen­ter its more out­landish el­e­ments. Gypsy Blood is a work of hor­ror that nei­ther needs nor con­tains frilly adornments.

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