“On the Air” by Edward Morris
“American Gothic” by Michael Colangelo
This is a classic ghost story. The atmosphere of the town, a very important element, is conveyed through short, detailed scenes rather than direct descriptions. Little towns served the purposes of many masters of horror well, and this little town was the perfect setting for “Honey Mouth.” While not much new is introduced, Henderson recreates very well that feeling of subtle eeriness that is the appeal of horror stories for many readers. The fleeting presence of the ghost, never too evident, and the pastoral but haunting atmosphere of the town, create a suspense which Henderson is able to sustain almost throughout the story. The end, although narrated less skillfully, doesn’t spoil an otherwise well-crafted story.
This story is full, too full for my taste, of quotations, suggestions, and mentions of renowned personages. “On the Air” demands a lot of patience; it feels scattered in a sort of collage of fragmented possibilities with little connection between them. Indeed, it doesn’t have a plot; nevertheless, it does have a point, and an interesting one. While not an easy read, its demanding style is appropriate for its purpose and leaves an impression transcending immediate enjoyment or displeasure. In short, read it, and remember that Morris, like his anchorman, does have a “point, and he’s getting to it. Bear with him.”
After a relatively slow and mystic beginning, this story launches into a whirlpool of events. True to its title, the supernatural elements are shown to their advantage in the realistic American setting and characterizations. Colangelo is clearly at his best when producing gruesome details and describing the bizarre, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a grin on his face while writing this story, which, I’m happy to admit, I would have shared with him as I read it.