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Andreya's Asylum

Insanity, horror and dark fiction are my catharsis. Brutally honest reviews are on the house.


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Review of Gilded Needles by Michael McDowell

Gilded Needles (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Christopher Fowler, Michael McDowell, Mike Mignola

Another great read from Michael McDowell. Gilded Needles is set in New York City in the late 1800's. For those who aren't familiar with McDowell's writing, his often formally written prose is laced with both subtle humor and outright wit. Although I felt that a few parts of the book could have been shorter, the story itself is captivating and well-paced.


The Stallworth's are a wealthy family living in one of New York's wealthier neighborhoods. The Shanks' are a family of criminals living in the slums of the city in what is known to the affluent as The Black Triangle. Their paths first cross when Judge James Stallworth sentences Black Lena's husband to death, her to jail, and tries to put her children in foster care. In the time after Lena gets out of jail, she manages to put what's left of her family back together. The Stallworth's are just a bitter taste of her past until Duncan Phair (Stallworth's son-in-law) and the local paper, The Tribune, decide to target the Shanks' in their witch hunt of The Black Triangle. The Stallworth family is about to find out the meaning of the paraphrase from William Congreve: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."


I enjoyed Gilded Needles as much (if not more...) as Katie, the first novel I read by Michael McDowell. McDowell possessed what many modern-day horror writers lack: the ability to write a gut wrenching tale of horror without relying solely on gratuitous gore or recycled plot lines. His stories are original and proof that human beings can be much scarier creatures than the monsters we were taught to fear.


I received this e-book from Valancourt Books in exchange for an honest review. Although it did not affect my opinion of this book, I give much thanks to Valancourt Books for bringing back such brilliant horror classics as this one and for giving them the attention that they deserve.


© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum