Grave Desires: Short Stories by William Holden ~ Book Review by Queue

GraveTitle: Grave Desires: Short Stories

Author: William Holden

Publisher: Lethe Press

Cover Artist: Jason Grim

Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 10/05/2015

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Drama, Fiction, Gay, Horror


The imagination of William Holden is one that values sweat and sperm and blood. And shadows to hide the rivulets of these fluids as they descend and drip from the naked flesh of men. These tales of homoerotic horror haunt a reader long after the eye moves from the last words on a page. Stories of a lecherous carnival barker who deal in breath and souls, a town where Halloween has become more than playful tricks and sweet treats, the promise of desire at the razor’s edge of life and death.

My View:

This was a difficult book to rate because the eleven short stories collected here ranged from terrifying to mildly scary and from fascinating to boring.

The first, Sliver, is one of the scariest of the set. It features Denny, a man sick with a mysterious illness and the ending surprised me.

The Midnight Barker was interesting though failed to really scare me. The story involves a couple guys stumbling onto some weird netherworld where a literal handsome devil is used to seduce men. The story suffered for me because I didn’t really like either one of the main characters.

For me the scariest of them all was Skin Deep. This one preys on a fear many people have had—being overtaken by bugs. Anyone who’s ever discovered an insect crawling across them in bed knows the terrible mindset that overcomes you. You imagine there are a thousand more where that one came from.

For Simon this is no baseless fear. It started with a single bug with this description:

Its large, bulbous head seemed almost human-like. Its black, beady eyes extended from its caramel-colored head, which connected to a black oval body ringed with orange bands. It looked like a cross between a bloated wasp and an enormous ant. The thick, muscled, butterscotch-colored translucent legs were arched and fibrous like a spider’s.

Terrifying right? And it gets even worse. For me the most frightening part of the story occurred when it literally attacks his manhood.

His eyes grew wide with horror as he saw the tip of a translucent leg wiggling its way out of from the piss-slit of his dick.

Even with the varying degrees of the quality of the stories I’d recommend any fan of horror stories to check out this collection.

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Grave Desires: Short Stories on Goodreads
Lethe Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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One thought on “Grave Desires: Short Stories by William Holden ~ Book Review by Queue

  1. William Holden’s horror stories probably are not for me… I tried his new one, THE LAST STRAW, and thought it was brilliantly, creepily written, but I had to stop halfway through because I couldn’t stomach the brutality of it.

    Last year, I’ve read his THOMAS NEWTON series, which is gay erotica, and absolutely loved it, though. Have you read it?

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