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Book Review

Book Cover

The World of Lore
Wicked Mortals


Author: Aaron Mahnke
Publisher: Wildfire
RRP: £14.99
ISBN: 978 1 4722 5160 2
Publication Date: 29 May 2018

I think we all have a macabre fixation with death and violence, it reminds us of our own mortality. Whole swathes of the news are covered with so many calamities it starts to feel like horror porn, even though these are people we will never meet. Why we insist on watching that may account for why you might want to buy this book.

The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals (2018. 335 pages) is a collection of gruesome stories from Aaron Mahnke, who is a self-confessed nerd interested in all things inexplicable or supernatural.

The book is broken up into chapters which have a common theme, but you don’t need to read the book cover to cover, it works just as well to open it at a random page as most of the individual tales are relatively short.

The content has a good chunk of folklore, but the most fascinating sections are those based on real people and events. If you think this world is sick and twisted, well this book proves that it was always thus.

If you’re an avid viewer of American Gothic it's illuminating just how many of their story elements have been taken from real events, like the hotel in Chicago built by H. H. Holmes, which was constructed as a personal murder machine, full of trap doors and secret chambers.

The stories are interspaced with the authors own take on events and the culture which not only allowed, but in some cases, encouraged monstrous behaviour, especially to vulnerable women who were accused of being witches.

The book feels like it was written in discrete chunks, rather than a one uniform whole. There are numerous times where the author repeats information or opinion, I only need to be told once that news travelled slowly before the invention of modern communications. It’s for this reason the book is better used as something to dip in and out of.

Still, he presents fascinatingly disturbing stories in a light hearted and witty manner and overall the book is highly enjoyable.


Charles Packer

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