The Costumer - December 2020

Artwork by Chad Schimke in homage to The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020

War of the Worlds H. G. Wells 1897


The War of the WorldsThe War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

War of the Worlds H. G. Wells 1897
Martians invade the home of an unnamed narrator, and his younger brother, in southern England.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

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Saturday, September 12, 2020


I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK - Michelle McNamara launched a podcast entitled ‘True Crime Diary’ in 2006. She published an article, entitled ‘In the Footsteps of a Killer’, in Los Angeles magazine in 2013. A burglar turned rapist turned killer terrorized California communities up and down the state, escaping capture for decades. Victims found they had been spied on from their yards outside their home, once footprints and evidence of entry attempts--successful or otherwise--had been left behind. She had become obsessed by the East Area Rapist, renaming him the Golden State Killer. Those efforts took the form of a book manuscript she worked on. Over the preceding decades the media referred to him as: the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Night Stalker, and the Original Night Stalker. When DNA evidence confirmed the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker were the same person, ‘EARONS’ came to be used. Along the way, California's DNA database began to fill up with samples from accused and convicted felons. The case came to haunt Michelle, which oftentimes disrupted her sleep, obsessing late into the night writing or researching. Michelle McNamara died unexpectedly in 2016, at the age of 46, survived by her husband Patton Oswalt, a professional comedian. The book had only been partially completed. She had taken a dangerous mix of narcotics, anxiety meds and sleeping pills. She died in her sleep.  Her husband released I'll Be Gone in the Dark posthumously in 2018, nearly 2 years after her death, and 2 months before an arrest would be made in the case. Media pressure intensified as a result of her book, which had become a bestseller. Detectives used commercially available genealogy searches, investigators identified family members directly related to the killer, identifying 25 different family trees from the roots up. They used age, gender, and place of residence, to rule out suspects populating those family trees.  Suspects were eliminated one by one, until a final one remained. DNA samples were secretly collected from Joseph James DeAngelo, which he’d left in publicly accessible locations. Those matched the DNA profile of the Golden State Killer. With absolute certainty, the serial attacker had finally been brought to justice. Joseph James DeAngelo has already admitted responsibility as of this writing. He committed 13 murders, 50 rapes, and over 120 burglaries between 1973 and 1986.  HBO purchased the rights and filmed a series of the same name, which premiered this year. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, the book's title, references a direct quote by the killer to one of his victims: "You'll be silent forever, and I'll be gone in the dark.”.

Sunday, September 6, 2020



FOLIE A DEUX BY ROSS E LOCKHART - Structured in a series of episodes, the story is told from varied points of view, and different eras. Each episode has a distinctly different tone, depending on the character being portrayed. The title references a ‘madness shared by two’, which I presume to mean the conjoined twin sisters, since it tells what happens to them. The story is heavily influenced by HP Lovecraft, I caught onto many of the references. But certainly, HPL devotees will pick up on many more. A pair of sisters, who are conjoined twins, get mixed up in porn, drugs, and a boyfriend, who claims to be a reincarnated Pharaoh. One sister records her account in a diary. An inscription is found in a grimoire. Graffiti marks the walls of an abandoned hospital. A scroll is found in a copse of trees. The sisters' tale survives ten generations, of nightmare monsters mating with human women, and feeding on human young. 'Folie √† Deux' by Ross E. Lockhart was first published in Strange Aeons in 2014. Want to read more? Ross has written a number of short stories and edited several anthologies.

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Monday, August 31, 2020



THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE - The Picture of Dorian Gray, the novel, was first published serially in 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. In all his body of work--lectures, essays, plays and poems--it is his only novel.  It so offended critics on the basis of low morals and debauchery; Oscar included a preface in the longer 1891 version, defending ‘art for art's sake’. In the second version for book publication, he made exclusions in the most controversial material, including obscuring the homoerotic themes. A painter, infatuated not only with his muse’s beauty, becomes enthralled by his hedonistic vices. If the sitter sells his soul, the picture ages, but he won’t. He pursues a variety of amoral experiences while his portrait, hidden from public view, records every sin. It seems beauty and sensuality are the only pursuits truly worth living for. Wilde was a contemporary of Bram Stoker, they attended Dublin’s Trinity College as classmates. After college, he moved to London and became an ardent proponent of Aestheticism. He split time between London, Paris and America. He released a series of well-received plays internationally. He scaled the heights of society, lauded in fashionable salons for his witty banter. But after a casual accusation from the father of one of his friends, his so-called friends urged Oscar to sue for libel. The trial resulted in making public knowledge of his associations with: blackmailers, male prostitutes, cross-dressers and his visits to homosexual brothels. This set forth a chain of events which would lead to his imprisonment, and eventually, his death. His sentence to a hard labor camp caused him to collapse from fatigue. His eardrum ruptured and he spent 2 months in the infirmary. Upon release, he left London never to return again. Oscar lived out the remainder of his life in exile, poverty and disgrace. Since his death nearly 120 years ago, his public perception has transformed into an icon for artistic expression. Most of all, Oscar’s wit, be it in publications or otherwise, remains effervescent. One-of-a-kind, an original, wholly responsible for devising his persona, and credited for delivery of a unique vision. Never before, never since, but forever... Oscar. 

Monday, August 24, 2020


REVIEW OF VIVIFIED BY MYRA G - "Beautiful little story. It's about what is and what could be if only the main character has the sense to realize what is important in life."

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson 1886


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other StoriesThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson 1886
A London lawyer investigates strange occurrences involving his old friend and the evil Edward Hyde.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Friday, August 7, 2020


REVIEW OF HALLOWMAS BY BOOK LADY TERI - I loved this short graphic tale! Reading it gave me the same chills up my spine that I got when as a child listening to scary campfire stories, or saying Bloody Mary three times into a mirror!

Saturday, August 1, 2020


THE NINTH SKELETON BY CLARK ASHTON SMITH - A young man sets out on a hike, along a treacherous California trail. He has plans to meet up with his fiancé. Reality slips away, as his surroundings transform into something more evil. He inexplicably finds himself in a decaying graveyard, with an indecipherable language written on the stones. A skeleton parade saunters past him in the climax, skeletons with oddly feminine characteristics. The Ninth Skeleton by Clark Ashton Smith was first published in Weird Tales in 1928. Want to read more? Clark Ashton Smith is available widely online in variety of formats, some of which now are available in the public domain.

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Sunday, July 26, 2020


PODBEAN ONE THOUSAND DOWNLOADS - Click on the link to bring up all my radio interviews. Each show can be played in your browser, in the embedded podcast player. Or download with one click to save for later. Load the MP3 on your phone to take with you anywhere!

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Monday, July 20, 2020

From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne 1865

From the Earth to the Moon (Extraordinary Voyages, #4)From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne 1865
Gun enthusiasts dream up an idea to shoot themselves to the moon with a space gun, in an attempt to survive a moon landing.
From the Earth to the Moon (Extraordinary Voyages, #4) by Jules Verne

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