by John Brhel, Joseph Sullivan
Genres: Anthologies, Paranormal
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Retired stage magician Dr. Marvelry prefers to stock his antique store with strange and occult items. He has always enjoyed meeting odd people and hearing their stories, the legends attached to mysterious objects. A phonograph that seemingly replays a tragedy. Fertility dolls that are more than decoration. A bedeviled mannequin. These are just some of the relics this eccentric shopkeeper has collected over the years.
No two customers will have the same experience in his curiosity shop -- some walk away satisfied, others are never heard from again. But one thing is certain – when you purchase an item at this store, you often get more than what you paid for.
Follow Marvelry and his hexed objects through twelve tales of suspense, magic, terror, and transformation. Meet his new assistant, fellow illusionists, and some irregular characters along the way. Whatever macabre artifact of the human psyche you’re seeking – you’ll find something special in Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop.
Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan is a collection of twelve short stories surrounding Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop and the odd and sometimes cursed artifacts sold in the shop. Perfect shorts for the witching seasoning these tales reminded me of the stories told around the campfire. I loved the unique store and strange sometimes spooky stories.
The Victor Talking Machine- Kevin and Brent are out purchasing unique items for their countryside home. They stumble upon Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop and meet the odd curator, who shows them a Victor Victrola player. It is in good working order and even has a Frank Sinatra album. Ecstatic they take it home and place it on an antique table in their bedroom. When Kevin is home alone, he plays it and discovers there is more hears more than just Frank. This tale was creepy with a curious twist and one you’ll want to share around the fire.
Echo’s Reflection- In this tale we meet Echo Dollinger and her fiance Robert Simmons. The two go out searching for a mirror for their master bathroom and discover the perfect mirror in Marvelry’s shop. The tale that unfolds had an Alfred Hitchcock vibe and lesson to be learned.
Magician’s Complex- We learn about our curator as he helps Peter Meyers, a thirty-five-year-old magician who longs to be in the spotlight. A magician’s chest of drawers made hold the key or maybe not. Another twisted tale, and I am beginning to see that some of these tales give a warning or teach lessons. This story was a tad freaky folks, leave the lights on.
The Painter’s Premonition- A set of paint brushes and an easel bring back memories for an alcoholic painter. Eerie and twisted Mr. Marverley and his knack for pairing items with people gave me chills.
A Gift Ungiven- This chilling tale shares events that happen when an anthropologist is gifted an Indian artifact. The twist at the end was freaky.
A Made Match- What happens when African fertility dolls get separated. In A Made Match, two couples find out when they each by one of the set. An interesting tale and the twist at the end was amusing. Oh, my!
The Letterbox- Josh loved spending time at his grandparent’s Victorian home and at forty he is finally able to buy the home and goes about restoring it. When he discovers their original letterbox at the curiosity shop he is beyond pleased…that is until the letters start arriving. A creepy tale that will have you turning on the lights.
Seams of Consequence- A young woman disgruntled by hardship things she finds the answers in an old Singer. Beware of the things you wish. Seriously..be very careful.
Martinus’ Mannequin- Necromancy anyone? A friend of Dr. Marvelry shows up with a strange mannequin. I liked how a previous object made an appearance here.
Siren Song- A pretty tenant has moved into the apartment building who plays her organ day and night. A twisted tale that reminds us to trust our instinct.
The New Assistant- When Dr. Marvelry goes on a day trip to retrieve an item, he places his new assistant Drew in charge reminding him that some objects in the store are best left untouched. Does Dave listen? Find out what happens as learn some of Drew’s extracurricular activities may complicate things. The build up was fantastic, and the tale gave me chills.
Grand Illusions-A weekend house party to celebrate a retirement has deadly consequences. I liked the clever twist at the end.
Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop reminded me of childhood shows that gave me the shivers such as The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock. For younger readers, these stories will remind you of Are You Afraid of the Dark and Goosebump episodes that aired on Saturday mornings. My favorite stories from the collection were Seams of Consequence, Siren Song, and The Victor Talking Machine. I liked The New Assistant but wanted to know more.