Title: The Dying Art (Chilling Horror Short Stories)
Author: Glen Damien Campbell
Genre: Short Story, Horror, Historical-fiction
Pages: 8 (48-55)
The Dying Art really surprised me. For whatever reason, I haven’t really liked a lot of stories (books or movies) that involve magicians, mostly because I can’t stand the main characters and their usually high-class pompous attitudes. However, this short story was not what I was expecting and I really enjoyed it.
Written in 2014, The Dying Art is written through the perspective of a Londoner in the 1900s, and Campbell was able to write in such a way to reflect the time of the story. It was refreshing to read a historical-fiction with the voice and dialogue that matched the era, including vocabulary and phrases that are no longer used today. While written in an older voice, the story pacing is still very familiar to current readers. There are no long passages of unnecessary internal monologues or scenery descriptions. Instead, Campbell rolls the story along, covering something like 40 years in a handful of pages and giving enough detail to inform and enthrall his readers.
I think so far, this is one of my favorite short stories in this anthology, a few of the others have been great but this one has not only creeped me out but also made me laugh. The latter is a bit more trivial and has more to do with an uncommon phrase that brought a funny image to mind, but still I give the author high marks for making me laugh and then check the windows a few pages later. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone, especially those who love magic, mystery, or a more classical narrative. The Dying Act, is another story that has an open ending and you’re left guessing between two possible endings, which I think just adds to the creepy factor but might anger some readers.