Grave Tales

Fiction - Anthology
262 Pages
Reviewed on 05/06/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite

Grave Tales is a collection of short horror stories by D. L. Brown. The five stories in the anthology focus on graves and supernatural events. The tales center around a nature activist who still protects the trees after his death, a grave near a hill that holds no bounds of time, a mysterious tin box that lures curious minds and greedy souls, the ghost of a beloved pet, and a vampire-like chindi that follows a man after he goes on a paranormal expedition in New Mexico. Apart from their common theme, the stories are separate, so they may be read independently.

D. L. Brown has put together a fantastic anthology of supernatural tales. The plot of each piece is well-defined, and the tone is clear. The characters are well-developed and relatable, and their actions are consistent. Vivid pictures precede each story and reflect the main subject accurately, allowing readers to have a visual representation of the words as they turn the pages. The author includes interesting information, from a good cure for a hangover to the traditions of the Navajo people. Two stories move along a little more slowly than the other three, but they include a great deal of background information about the personalities and setting. Brown’s work covers multiple genres, so readers can expect horror, science fiction, magical realism, paranormal suspense, and a touch of romance. Grave Tales is a great book for anyone who enjoys eerie stories told in easily digestible portions.

K.C. Finn

Grave Tales is a collection of works in the horror, suspense, and short story subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and is penned by D. L. Brown. In this varied and highly immersive anthology of stories, we discover different tales to tingle the spine and challenge our perceptions, all of which place ordinary people in extraordinary situations that put them to the test. From chilling discoveries at isolated graves to the devastating power of curiosity and the horror of finding unexpected things in your brand-new home, these unique tales deliver shocks, surprises, and the eternal question of what you would do in this situation.

D. L. Brown has a keen mastery of suspense, which carries a lot of weight in these stories to keep the tension from beginning to end. The pacing is brilliant, with just enough plot hooks and depth to get us invested in the characters, but never so much that it feels overwhelming or detracts from the main story. There’s often a sting in the tale, which is very exciting and satisfying to reach, and the atmospheric craft gives each of the strange vistas and shocking discoveries their cinematic feel. I would say that In A Tin Box On A Low Wall is my favorite story because the concept is unique, and the psychological portrayal is genuinely terrifying. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Grave Tales as a stellar read for suspenseful and well-penned horror fiction fans.

Amy Raines

Grave Tales by D. L. Brown is an awesome collection of short thrillers that entertain through various supernatural occurrences. Police are called to a scene where they discover a body, local bloodlines, and a graveyard that has a terrifying secret. Young women who are best friends go hiking. One takes a fall and has an unbelievable story after waking up. Was it a dream, the head injury, or was there something else at play? An old mint box catches the attention of an older man who loves to go for walks. The tin moves along the wall each night and has a soul-jolting secret that exceeds the monetary value of the odd relic. A man notices that strange things happen in his new house and decides to visit the estate's original owner. While exploring Native American culture, a holidaymaker heads to New Mexico with someone or something hot on his trail. Is it simply leaving messes and terrorizing hotels to warn him, or does it plan to claim his life?

I loved the unique and adventurous characters that take the lead in each of the stories in Grave Tales by D. L. Brown. These accounts take you through ghost towns, provide adventure through a lone grave in the mountains, trees that have their way of dealing with people that harm them, a protective cat that remains after the owner has left, and a group of dragons that are reclaimed strangely. I recommend this book to anyone who loves fast-paced suspenseful stories that will thrill and send chills down their spine.

Liz Konkel

Grave Tales by D.L. Brown is a collection of short stories with themes based on suspense and horror. These tales will take you along for the ride as everyday people make startling discoveries. Each story incorporates tension against the backdrop of an ordinary day, such as two friends on a hike or a man driven to obsession over a box. These incredible accounts pay homage to the horror genre. What happens when someone calls about a wild animal, or when two friends make a startling discovery? Find the answer to these questions and more.

The collection features five stories with each following a different set of characters and an individual premise. Each one has a basic structure of an ordinary person who stumbles upon something questionable which leads to a suspenseful series of events and a dramatic conclusion. D.L. Brown creates a universal theme by focusing on how one change in a person’s life can lead to horror. Grave Tales will appeal to those that enjoy suspense and horror with a variety of unusual tales that feature ordinary people.

In Amongst the Trees, a routine call uncovers a creature that may not be a typical animal and leads one unsuspecting deputy on an unfortunate journey. The story has an intense build-up to a surprising ending with obstacles that increase as the events unfold. In A Lonely Place, two friends discover a mysterious grave during a hike which creates a bend in time that pushes the boundaries of reality and leads to them question their sanity. In A Tin Box on a Low Wall, Owen Pitt becomes obsessed with seeing what’s inside a tin box which drives him to make some interesting choices. The box becomes his main focus, influencing the strained relationship with his wife, as it turns into an overwhelming need. In Crow Feather Tree, a series of events makes life difficult for new homeowners. The story feels more complex than others in the collection with a near folklore element involving a crow and a cat. The last of the collection is In Through the North Door, in which Ethridge’s vacation is anything but pleasant in an account that is a great example of how well Brown uses suspense. The ending not only creates a startling final moment for the story but for the collection as a whole.

Essien Asian

There are times when we come across stories that sound so outlandish that the very thought trumps all sense of rational thinking. In most cases, these stories could be powered by pranks but in some unusual instances, the nature of the stories can be proven to be true but the human mind refuses to acknowledge this. This is the inspiration behind D.L. Brown's intriguing collection where a fall down a slippery slope leads to an unusual meeting that defies the concepts of time and curiosity does not kill the cat in this instance but leaves a young man with a fiery memento. Grave Tales awaits you.

Grave Tales is a collection of five short stories with a dark edge to them. D.L. Brown employs an unusual approach to telling his stories where the emphasis is placed on innocuous objects or people as he builds around them, doing everything to make them seem pretty normal while the story that grows around the centerpiece becomes ever so slowly detached from the rational in such a manner you end up doing a double take at the end of each story. His characters are an odd mix, to put it mildly. Simple people who get caught up in the abnormal but whose origins immerse a reader in the story subtly but surely. Despite the frightening overall tone, some of these stories have a humorous edge to them as I honestly could not help smiling when Owen resorts to math while dealing with the mint tin. With some appreciation of science and local lore, there is an almost realistic ring to this anthology. This is an impressive collection by Brown that horror genre aficionados will enjoy.