Contained within these oftentimes silly, hastily written tales are earnest and forthright attempts at creating serious, hard-hitting, character-driven stories that seemed incredibly out of place in magazines of this nature. In “No Atheists in the Grave,” Reverend Paul Carstairs, a veteran of several wars, has a crisis of faith in the jungles of Vietnam. “The Wave Off” concerns itself with Larry Easton, a top-notch fighter pilot, who ponders his life and failed marriage during a firefight. The most fully formed and coherent of these attempts is “Dracula Revisited.” In the story, an unnamed narrator journeys by carriage to the home of Count Dracula. With a mighty tip of the cap to the style of Edgar Allen Poe, this is perhaps the best-written selection of the 32 stories, creating a chilling mood and eerie atmosphere that is incredibly effective.

The best story in the collection is the hysterical “To Kill a Saturday Night.” In it, the sly, dark humor that appeared in flashes during Wood’s days as a filmmaker are in top form (if ever there was such a thing). The story revolves around Pete and Art, two ne’er-do-well drunks who discuss the pros and cons of spending a Saturday night killing whores. I won’t say what happens, but it’s well worth the read.

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