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Atrocitas Aqua
Horrors of the Deep
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-022-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 317 Pages
Published: January 2003
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Herman Melville said it best when he proclaimed that every path eventually leads to the sea. For it is the sea that holds our most sacred and terrifying fears, yet it also holds a glorious mysticism over us as a race, an attraction so strong that most of us flock to beaches, river banks, creeks, and lakes at every opportunity to stare out into the vast blueness and wonder: what's out there?

Take my hand, Dear Reader, and swim with me through this journey of sixteen tales of watery terror. As we swim, if something reaches out of the darkness and gropes for your ankle, if something pulls you deeper into the depths of liquid madness, if your breath is stolen from you and you find yourself inhaling nothing but muddied water... do not fear, for it is just the ocean reclaiming what is already hers: your soul.



Reviews and Awards

The Hackers Source:
http://www.hackerssource.cjb.net/

Copyright Issue:
Issue 13
81520-01171


Atrocitas Aqua- Trade and e-book
Edited by Dave Bowlin
Double Dragon Publishing 1-55404-022-1

Review by Michael Purfield

Ah, the water. Everyone is attracted to it. People make the effort to drive to the beach when the weather is warm. Sometimes they go in it, sometimes they just lay on the beach, roast, and stare at it. You rarely see anyone crying in the water. Kids scream in joy and excitement and adults turn into children.

Coming from the Jersey shore (Point Pleasant was the haunt of my youth, we weren't rich enough to hang out at Spring Lake), I was often dragged down there by family and friends. I thought it was boring, but whenever my dad took us to Florida or Hilton Head Island, my feelings changed. There was something about the water, the ocean; not going in it, but just staring at it. Some believe that we, as humans, evolved from the water millions of years ago. I can believe it.

But the ocean is not all fun and games. The undertow can drag you out; you can actually feel the wet sand pull you: a bizarre feeling. Waves higher than your head can come crashing down without you even realizing. You can't open your eyes in the salt water; well you could, but it hurts, and your body just floats around in the dark for the longest seconds of your life until you break out.

The bottom line, I always got the sense that the ocean is old and most likely evil, an evil you can't stop. (You ever think about the polar icecaps melting?)

So, if I'm starting to freak you out, well, that was nothing compared to the collection of short stories bundled together in "Atrocitas Aqua."

Justine Stanchfield kicks off the book with a private investigator searching for a runaway girl and not only finds her, but the ghosts of "Bone Lake." In Megan Powell's "Stooshie by th' Loch" a kid backpacking through Scotland discovers the Catholic Conspiracy involving the Loch Ness Monster. Paul Melniczek has a man searching for a hunter only to confront the "Shadow of the Swamp." Bob L. Morgan, Jr,'s Texas working stiff inherits a castle over-seas as well as the darkness "Beneath the Loch." A recently separated woman finds the secret of youth in a lost treasure from the Titanic in Peggy Jo Shumate's "Living Doll: Jewell of Lost Souls." Jason Brannon's diver searches for sunken treasure but instead finds evil rising through a "Halo of Blood." A trapper not only runs into a child-killer and his young Native American victim, but also a creature known as the "Swamper" in Walt Hicks' tale. L.J. Blount sets up a team of divers and priests into the deep ocean to find "Atianqua" only to find more than heaven. Hoboken drug thugs run into something more dangerous than themselves in Shawn P. Madison's "On the Water Front." Susanne S. Brydenbaugh's tale has a couple visit the "Water of the Rock" where they confront their horrific destiny. A young man swims across the waters to a Celtic camp and exercises his ceremonial right of becoming a man in Steven L. Shrewsbury's "Creating a Barbarian Man." A kid on Spring Break steps on a "Black Thorn" at the beach and suffers the infection in Christopher Fulbright's tale. Horns introduces us to "Captain O'Grady Blues' Key West Aquarium" were a young man acquires a job and discovers where the past employees went. A lowdown book detective attempts to repo a magic book written in the future in G.W. Thomas's "How Deep is Your Love." Steve E. Wedel says that "When Lady of Byblos Calls" you back to the ocean, you better listen. Finally, Dave Bowlin tells a tragic tale about a man suffering the guilt of accidentally killing a group of children and sets out to pay "Old Debts."

As you read, some of the hottest names in small press are here (Melniczek, Morgan, Hicks, Shrewsbury, Fulbright, Horns) but they in no way shadow the other writers of this collection. Each story is a concentrated dose of voice and talent; bringing you a unique story of fear and horror, ranging from the physical to the mental, to the humorous to the bizarre, and to the supernatural.

I was truly surprised to find a collection of (themed) short stories that never released my brain and my eyes. "Atrocitas Aqua" is a brilliant collection of short fiction that will not disappoint you.


Nightscaper Review
Atrocitas Aqua...is spellbinding! I read your story first. Living Doll: Jewel of Lost Souls, is truly a bewitched tale of love lost, youth regained...at great mortal cost that is, and of twisted revenge that has the final word. I loved it! Man, oh man...I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Your characters were unique and I could easily visualize them. Now...how did you think of this? I read it in the middle of the night, so naturally I could not look at any of my daughter's porcelain dolls when I put her robe in her room! Creepy... good job.

I also liked Bone Lake. This story was very sad...and haunting. It was so full of regret that not even death could drown it. Reading between the two time periods was neat and I had a feeling that the past and present would collide. Very nice job on this one.

Beneath The Loch was really out there! This is a bizarre story. An entire cycle of destruction floods onto the pages and takes you down into the ancient plot. The ending was a killer for sure! Geez...at only five feet tall, if a creature ate my legs...there would be nothing left of me! I enjoyed this one too.

I just finished, Old Debts. This story is heartbreaking. Brian really died the day of the accident, but Death just let him suffer for years before it came to pull him under. Drowning on the same day as the children would have been a blessing for Brian. Great story.

I honestly believe the readers of Atrocitas Aqua will easily slip into the frigid waters and soak in the stories with pure dark pleasure! Although the stories use water to bind the stories together, they are all filled with intrigue, terror, and uncertainty of their own. I sure hope you are marketing this! :)


Southern Rose Productions
ATROCITAS AQUA: HORRORS OF THE DEEP, Edited by David Bowlin, Double Dragon ebook, ISBN: 1-55404-0221. $4.99. Double Dragon Publishing, P. O. Box 54016, 1-5762 Highway 7 East, Markham, Ontario L3P 7Y4 Canada. http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com.

Sixteen tales of fear make up this new collection from Double Dragon Publishing. I found many familiar names included in the list of authors here, but I also had the pleasure of reading the work of several writers I had not encountered before. All the stories are in some way related to bodies of water, but the topics and settings are wide-ranging.

One of my favorite stories in the anthology is "When the Lady of Byblos Calls" by Steven E. Wedel. Mr. Wedel skillfully weaves scientific fact and legend in a vivid and powerful tale. When a California Goddess cult drowns themselves in a mass suicide, everyone at first believes it is an isolated event, but soon the truth is out. The Goddess is calling her children home to the sea.

Another outstanding story featured is "Halo of Blood" by Jason Brannon. A treasure hunter on the high seas has double-crossed and murdered his Haitian partner to avoid sharing the rich bounty of a sunken pirate ship. He soon discovers that he is under a voodoo curse more horrible than he could have possibly imagined.

Paul Melniczek's "Shadow of the Swamp" is a story set in bayou country. Times are getting hard for Chet Edwards, a loner and an alligator hunter, who lives on the edge of the great swamp. The gators are becoming hard to find and no one knows why, though everyone has a theory. Indian legend says the elemental spirit of the swamp has been disturbed, but no one takes this seriously, until Chet makes a horrifying discovery. Malniczek's apt use of setting and colorful detail brings this story to life.

"Living Doll: Jewel of Lost Souls" by Peggy Jo Shumate (Brutal Dreamer) is the story of Annie, a still beautiful woman who will do anything to prevent age from taking its toll. Through the powers of a fabulous artifact, a porcelain doll believed to be the priceless "Jewel of Lost Souls" rescued from the Titanic, Annie hopes to attain the gift of eternal youth, but the price is far higher than she ever imagined.

Steven L. Shrewsbury's "Creating A Barbarian Man" finds a young Pict engaged in his test of manhood. Having passed the first trial, that of claiming a life, he now must swim across the frigid channel of Gaul to forcefully take and have sexual union with a Celtic woman. He learns to his dismay that the Celts have their own rituals of manhood as well.

"Bone Lake" by Justin Stanchfield combines a haunted lake in Montana, the story of a murder that occurred in 1883 and an investigator hoping to return a runaway girl home to her parents. This is an enjoyable ghost story with a western flair.

Atrocitas Aqua features outstanding stories from talented writers. I enjoyed this fantastic collection and found it to be a strong and satisfying effort. I am pleased to recommend it.

http://www.geocities.com/southernroseprods/atrocitas-aqua.html.




The Dream People
Reviewed by Jennifer - The Dream People:


Atrocitas Aqua: Horrors of the Deep
edited by Dave Bowlin


"Atrocitas Aqua" is an anthology containing 16 murky stories of waterlogged terror. The tone is set with Justin Stanchfield's Bone Lake, a hauntingly romantic tale which deftly switches between modern day and frontier past to tell two stories at once. Halo of Blood by Jason Brannon is fraught with high seas suspense featuring madness, sharks, pirates and voodoo...not necessarily in that order.

You'll find plenty of tales about deadly beasts that make water their home. Perhaps the best of these is Walt Hicks' The Swamper which sheds just enough light on the swamp to scare you silly. For a lesson in the power of desire mixed with vengeful spirits look no further than Peggy Shumate's Living Doll: Jewel of Lost Souls.

The creepy tentacled world of H.P. Lovecraft rears it's ugly head in Black Thorn by Christopher Fulbright. Steve E. Wedel tells an equally mysterious tale of calamity in When the Lady of Byblos Calls which proves even the water within the human body holds fear.

Although the quality of the writing and the ideas is not consistent in this the collection the stand out stories are well worth the read.

Atrocitas Aqua is available both in e-book and paperback from Double Dragon Publishing.

-Jennifer


Atrocitas Aqua (Excerpt)


Listing of Stories

Introduction - Dave Bowlin

Bone Lake - Justin Stanchfield

Stooshie by Th? Loch - Megan Powell

Shadow of the Swamp - Paul Melniczek

Beneath the Loch - Bob L. Morgan Jr.

Living Doll: Jewel of Lost Souls - Peggy Jo Shumate

Halo of Blood - Jason Brannon

Swamper - Walt Hicks

Atianqua - L. J. Blount

On the Waterfront - Shawn P.Madison

Water of the Rock - Susanne S. Brydenbaugh

Creating a Barbarian Man - Steven L. Shrewsbury

Black Thorn - Christopher Fulbright

Captain O?Grady Blues? Key West Aquarium - HORNS

How Deep is Your Love - G. W. Thomas

When the Lady of Byblos Calls - Steve E. Wedel

Old Debts - David Bowlin


Introduction


Herman Melville said it best when he proclaimed that every path eventually leads to the sea. For it is the sea that holds our most sacred and terrifying fears, yet it also holds a glorious mysticism over us as a race, an attraction so strong that most of us flock to beaches, river banks, creeks, and lakes at every opportunity to stare out into the vast blueness and wonder: what's out there?


It is this unquenchable desire to know the unattainable and challenge the unknown that drives us and defines us as a species. Our hearts are forever locked away within the depths of the oceans that surround us, and we continually yearn to be part of this mystical world below our own. Perhaps this is due in large part because we ourselves are mostly made of water, and feel our amphibious past calling for us to return to our natural home, to return to the womb of this world where we first breathed and swam in its virgin bosom.


Yet, it could be something darker that leads us back to the water's edge time and again. Could it be that the dark and chilly waters whisper to the darker side of the human heart, breathing its poisonous fumes into our minds as gently as a mist washing over a barren and deserted beach, seeking to engulf whomever is found without, unprotected?


Whether our birthing as a people is of the ocean or not, one thing is clear and undeniable: most of us guard a deep and profound respect for the waters that cover seventy-five percent of our world. There is no other topic or substance so marvelously feared and revered as our oceans and lakes and streams.


Take my hand, Dear Reader, and swim with me through this journey of sixteen tales of watery terror. As we swim, if something reaches out of the darkness and gropes for your ankle, if something pulls you deeper into the depths of liquid madness, if your breath is stolen from you and you find yourself inhaling nothing but muddied water... do not fear, for it is just the ocean reclaiming what is already hers: your soul.


I'll be here beside you, if you should need me. Just scream.


~David Bowlin