Author: Paul S. Kemp
Published By: Elder Signs Press
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Sometimes the best stories are not full length novels, but tales only a few pages in length. So, when I heard I could check out a short story from fiction writer Paul S. Kemp, I decided it was worth a look. I had read Mr. Kemp’s work before and had no doubt that I would enjoy this particular short story. The Signal, originally published by Elder Signs Press in Horrors Beyond II, an anthology whose catch phrase is “some mysteries should not be disturbed.” Just judging from the anthology The Signal was included in, I could already venture a guess that this would be a tale of the occult.
Set some time after the Great Depression, the story begins in the office of Gustafsson Occult Investigations with Abe, a dried up former boxer who helped provide the muscle in this occult investigations operation. He has just recently lost his partner and wonders how well he will handle the business on his own. Former flame, Lucy Booth, provides the answers as she enters the office begging for Abe’s help. Her fiancée is financier of the Empire State Building project in New York City and Herman Keene is having some troubles of the demonic kind. People working on the building site have been dying at a rapid and rather odd rate and now Lucy’s brother has disappeared. Can Abe handle the business without Hank, finding his old friend and helping out an old flame while battling whatever demon of the occult has made its nest at the site of what is to be one of New York’s most famous skyscraper?
I found The Signal to be rather entertaining albeit short. Of course, that’s the idea of a short story – it’s supposed to be short, yet entertaining. I would love to see an expanded version of this tale published in novel form. Perhaps Abe’s investigation and subsequent discoveries could be stretched out a bit. The conclusions drawn about the site of the building could be expanded upon. However, as a short story, The Signal holds up rather well. It offers up some mystery coupled with action and suspense and does all of this in a matter of sixteen pages. Not bad…not bad at all! Check out The Signal at http://home.earthlink.net/~paulskemp/paulskempshomepage/id3.html - you won’t be disappointed.