December 1, 2023

The Essential Sick Stuff by Ronald Kelly

The Essential Sick Stuff by Ronald Kelly

The Essential Sick Stuff by Ronald Kelly was sent to me by Silver Shamrock Publishing. Silver Shamrock is an excellent publisher, with unique tales and a wide array of horror. The books all are made well, with, beautiful design and artwork. They are well known for developing excellent anthologies known as their “Midnight anthologies”, more on that later.

Let’s continue on in this book review of a collection, so sick, twisted, and vile, that the readers of ScareTissue will truly love. The Essential Sick Stuff is composed of three separate anthologies written by Kelly over the years: The Sick Stuff, More Sick Stuff, and Even Sicker Stuff. There are both past stories and brand new content from this wonderful Southern author in here. In this post I will go over my absolute favorite stories by Kelly. The reader should be warned, these stories do not hold back! They are violent, “fetid” (love that word), despicable, and at times graphic, but I’m sure you gathered that from the title and the art. Which reminds me, every story has original art by Alex McVey at the beginning page, to really set the tone for the story.

Housewarming– Nothing gets the skin crawling like a spider story. In housewarming, a man inherits a house from a dead aunt whom he mocks and hates. Even though it is rumored to have been infested with spiders, the man finds none, and moves in. After a night of some hard rocker style partying, auntie has the last laugh.

Mass Appeal– Every boy dreams about his idols, but what happens if your icons are mass murderers and serial killers? Well they help you reach your full potential of course.

Pins and Needles– Remember those stories about checking the Halloween candy for razor blades and poison? You might want to start doing that again after we meet a man who absolutely HATES kids. But when he makes a terrible mistake, and lands himself in the hospital, he finds his night is only going to hell.

Exit 85– We have all been on that late night road trip home, in the middle of nowhere wondering, where is the next gas station? When a man stops in the middle of Florida for gas, while his family sleeps, he meets a monster, only this one is human, and he’s hungry.

Mojo Mama– After the Civil War a man and his siblings deal with a curse placed on him and his siblings at their Louisiana plantation. The curse is from Mojo Mama, and good luck with getting a spell reversal from a Voodoo Queen.

The Day UPS Brought Zombies– a horror lit fan, with a torch for Brian Keene, orders a cookbook, but instead receives an ancient tome. In an “Evil Dead” turn of events, zombies raid an anniversary party. Yes there are chainsaws, and Brian Keene is a mild help.’

Snakehandler– Something about Southern preachers just sends my warning bells ringing. This may be my favorite one because I loved the setting. A small town in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee gets a new preacher, but Old Joe knows something is up with Brother Harlan, and Joe can sense a snake is afoot.

The Nipples in Dad’s Toolbox- A boy suspects his father is the Handyman killer, but this story doesn’t go where you think it will, and that’s all I can say. Just know that there is a twist.

Many of my favorite stories have a theme: semi-real life horror, and killers. But I also enjoy creature ones too, and of course there is body horror. Of the creature tales my favorite is The Thing at the Side of the Road. It is a story about some roadkill, only this thing is NOT dead. Also Suckers! was very enjoyable.

This was my first read from Silver Shamrock Publishing and from author Ronald Kelly, but it will not be my last. Thank you for sending me this wonderful collection of sick and twisted literature!

Happy Reading!

The Weevil Dead

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