Volume 7 of Penny Dreadful Multipacks: THE AMERICANS is a deliciously dark bag of Yankee horror, mystery and suspense novels, novellas and short stories. Over 30 tantalizing twisted tales from Victorian-era USA including:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (1820)
The action takes place in the eponymous glen in New York State, known for its spooky goings on, and follows the rivalry of Ichabod Crane and “Brom Bones” Van Brunt for the hand of wealthy Katrina Van Tassel. When gawky Ichabod botches his chances of asking Katrina to marry him during her family’s autumn party, his dejected ride home becomes of the stuff of legend – and nightmares.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (1841)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue and its sequel (also included) represent the beginning of crime fiction and each story has been hailed as a masterpiece. In Morgue the Parisian detective investigates the savage murder of a mother and daughter. In the follow-up, Dupin is on the hunt of a killer in a case based on the true story of Mary Rogers, a saleswoman at a cigar store in Manhattan whose body was found floating in the Hudson River in 1841.
Mosses From An Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1846)
This was Hawthorne’s second published short story collection and features tales written over a span of more than twenty years, including such classics as “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Birthmark,” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Many of the stories are allegories and, typical of Hawthorne, focus on the dark side of human nature…
An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Pierce (1890)
This haunting short story has a very modern twist ending that never gets old. The narrative concerns the final thoughts of a Southern planter as he is being hanged by Union soldiers. In the brief period between the tightening of the noose and the actual breaking of his neck, something happens. The rope breaks and the man escapes. Or the man imagines he escapes. Which is it?
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane (1893)
This harrowing tale of a young girl in the slums of turn-of-the-century New York shares the typical milieu of the penny dreadful which is usually the world of the working class. Published in 1893, when Stephen Crane was just twenty-one, it has been called a masterpiece of modern American prose.
The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers (1895)
Recently referenced at length in the hit HBO series True Detective, this book has long been a cult favorite. There was once a myth surrounding its power, alluding to a curse put on whoever reads all ten short stories contained within.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)
The Henry James classic needs little introduction. The motif he created, the idea of being isolated with children who may not be as innocent as you think, has been copied endlessly in fiction and cinema for over a hundred years. This is the original and most psychologically disturbing version of all; one of the most enduring ghost stories ever written. The book amply fulfills its pledge, laid down in the first few pages, that nothing can touch it in terms of sheer “dreadful—dreadfulness.”
The House of the Vampire by George Sylvester Viereck (1907)
A very unusual, rarely published vampire story. A young writer comes under the powerful influence of a mysterious older master, who seems to have left a trail of ruined protégés in his wake. The story is as much about the nature of artistic creation as it is a chilling vampire tale.
Penny Dreadful Multipack Volume 7 is a pulp lover’s potpourri of famous and forgotten American genre classics.
*Includes image gallery.
This book series is not affiliated with Showtime Networks’ television series PENNY DREADFUL.