I originally wrote this review for a website where I used to contribute a monthly column. Mark was still with us at the time, working as a morning DJ, hosting and producing the tremendous Pod of Horror podcast, and writing masterful horror and adventure stories. I’ve posted about him several times here over the years but, much to my regret, I never reposted this one until now. Mistakenly, I thought I’d already done so. I really wish I had, because I know he would have appreciated it, and he was always so kind and encouraging to me. This collection is no longer available, but if you can find a copy, do yourself a favor and snatch it up.
LOOKING AT THE WORLD WITH BROKEN GLASS IN MY EYE (2011) is a collection of macabre short stories and novellas by the late, Mark Justice. Mark was an incredibly kind and generous man who also happened to be a tremendously gifted writer. The stories in this collection are diverse, containing both dark and serious themed horror. All of them hooked me from the start and kept me reading through to the end. My personal favorites are “Song of the Bones”, “Deadtown”, “Hole in the Sky” and “The Autumn Man”. As a big fan of short horror fiction, I highly recommend this collection.
1.”Deadnecks” – This humorous tale brings zombies to Possum Hollow.
2.”Black Wings” -An elderly mother confesses to her daughter the most horrible thing she ever did in this bleak tale.
3.”Life’s Work” – An executioner’s tool becomes sentient.
4.”Closure” – A grieving mother travels to the Middle East searching for the ghost of her son who died there 20 years previous.
5.”Father’s Day” – A man has his abusive father raised from the dead, but for what purpose?
6.”Nursing Home for the Gods” – Anubis longs to leave a rest home for forgotten gods in this humorous tale.
7.”Auschlander’s Gem” – An American soldier finds a gem while liberating a Nazi concentration camp. The gem has magic abilities, but those abilities are bought at a steep price.
8.”Looking at the World with Broken Glass in My Eye” – A man with low self esteem tries to cope after his girlfriend breaks up with him.
9.“Hell is a Lonely Street” – A cop obsessed with taking down bad guys finds himself in Hell.
10.”The Losers vs. Beelphegor” – A group of slackers planning to get their band back together encounter a demon.
11.”Song of the Bones” – A post-apocalyptic tale from the viewpoint of a man who has chosen to wait out the troubles in his now vacant apartment complex. The new aboriginal man who moves in to the empty room next to his has other plans for him, however, in this evocative, surreal horror tale.
12.”Deadtown” – This novella centers around an artist who wakes up one morning to find most of the world around him has vanished. Only a small stretch of land remains. He and a few others from his apartment complex decide to seek out answers to what has happened. Things grow more ominous when a massive red obelisk appears out of the nothingness with a path leading to it.
13.”Agent of Death” – When the angel of death arrives to take a powerful movie agent to Hell, the agent makes him an offer to avoid that fate.
14.”Hole in the Sky” – A New York city cab driver begins to see a mysterious hole in the sky where the twin towers once stood. Stranger still, he sees people and places in the hole, but no one else seems to see it. This is my favorite Mark Justice story. It’s bizarre and ominous, a true masterpiece of weird fiction.
15.”The Truths We Cannot Bear” – A man realizes he cannot recall any aspects of his life other than the time spent at his favorite bar in this weird tale.
16.”Das Hollenfeuer” – In an alternate-reality Earth where Nazi’s won WWII through the use of necromancers and demons, a pair of plant workers plot their revenge against their powerful oppressors.
17.”The Autumn Man” – A harrowing tale about a young boy growing up in the 70’s who must deal with a brutal bully, as well as a dangerous supernatural force in the woods nearby. This is a very nostalgic, riveting tale that keeps the pages turning.
18.”Deadneck Reckoning” – More redneck zombie fun in this sequel to “Deadnecks”.
Mark Justice Interview: https://horrordelve.com/2013/12/02/an-interview-with-mark-justice/
Mark Justice Remembered: https://horrordelve.com/2016/02/13/mark-justice-remembered/