Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas: An Editorial/Book Review

I recently attended a Gaming Convention with my son, when I was surprised to see a Horror Anthology placed in our hometown of Pinebox.  Of course I puchased it immediately, went to the hotel room and started reading.

I am shocked at how these writers have depicted our little town.  You would think every weird, bizarre, paranormal, dark magic, and xenocreatures can be found here.  They even included good Sheriff Butch Anderson, which I think must violate his rights in some way.  The first story is simply a copy of the old Jennifer Ridge Transcripts.  This story has been embellished the past few years, and there was no real investigation about what really happened, nor did they ask any of our government folks, police department, or Sheriff’s department for comments.  If they had then I could at least appreciate the book, but I don’t like such one-sided fluff that truly impunes our towns good nature.

Here is an anthology that was written by folks in New York, Ireland, Yankees, and Left-Coasters.  Some are Role-Playing game designers and writers, not exactly an investigative team.  The first story by Filamena Young is titled  The Hanging Tree.  She continues the falsehoods about our city government and people.  We are proud to have Louis Rainer as our local Defense Attorney, and Judge Howard Lindsey is one of the sweetest, fairest men to ever hold a judicial seat.  She takes these good men and adds pure fiction about some demonic tree and impunes our town’s honor in how we deal with crime.  Ms. Young, please check out our local crime rates, which are very low compared to other cities our size.

The next story was titled The One That Got Away by Preston P. Dubois of a rinky dink independent horror outfit known as 12 to Midnight.  He’s even a native Texan, though from central Texas, and he has the audacity to write about our East Texas Town.  At least the main characters in his story are fictional and the unbelievable tale of some ancient evil in Lake Greystone is absolutely absurd.  Of course he is a Freemason, so he’s not one of us.

Then came the sickest of the anthology, innocently entitled Pie.  It is set in Mom’s Diner, one of the nicest restaurants in our town.  The writer, Monica Valentinelli, places a Skinwalker in the diner, and manages to win the disgusting award for the book, which is high praise, I suppose.  Yes, we do have a Skinwalker legend, but come on folks, it is no different than the legend of Bigfoot, and sightings of UFOs.  These things happen all over the nation, not just in East Texas or in Pinebox.

Then there is The Evil Within by Derek Gunn.  Perhaps one of the best written of the stories, this one impunes our own Dr. Louise Frazier of the Biology Department of East Texas University.  Honestly, Dr. Frazier and Sheriff Anderson should seek legal representation and sue the 12 to Midnight outfit for libel.  If the stories were not so absolutely unbelieveable they would probably have a better case.  However the people over at 12 to Midnight offer no apologies and certainly no one asked anyone in our town permission to be used in this book.

Stigmatized Property by Jess Hartley takes a sad true story about Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb and their untimely deaths and turns it into some abhorrant ghost story. She even characterizes our own Mr. Strega as some sort of psychic.  I attempted to contact Mr. Strega, but he said he had “no comment.”  Perhaps he doesn’t understand how he was presented in this story.

Then there is the biggest hack writer of all, Ed Wetterman, and his story The Witch of Linda Lane.  I did some investigating Mr. Wetterman, and your Mother in Law lived on Linda Lane in Stafford, Texas.  Did you mean anything by this?  Mr. Wetterman, there are no such things as Witches, and if you are going to write this drivel please place it in some other town.  I recommend a fictional setting, and your characters should not resemble real people.

Blood Born was an interesting read by Charles Rice.  However, Mr. Rice, there are no such things as Werewolves, nor is there any Sweet Heart program.  I think maybe you are a little too into your games.  Fantasy and reality really don’t mix.

Then there is Guitar Zero by Shane Hensley.  At least his is based on a small truth.  Yes, we have a Guitar Hero tournament, just like everywhere else in the country.    Calvin Griffis is a fantastic, smart individual who made it big and yes, he enjoys these types of games.  You make it sound as if he risked his soul.  That is simply ridiculous.  Mr. Hensley is a famous game designer responsible for such things as Deadlands, Savage Worlds, and many others.  Stick to writing games and stories Mr. Hensley.  An investigative reporter you are not!

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, there is the story entitled Mother, by Trey Gorden.  He is an East Texas boy, his father is Mayor of a local town, and he is currently enrolled at a local college.  How could he add to this insult?  Mr. Gorden, you should be ashamed of your treatment of our fair city.  Sheriff Anderson told me if he ever catches you here, you better not speed, and you better act right.

Then there is the horror fantasy of Jason  L. Blair known as Lovable Creatures.  It’s a great story, but it is not real.  Remember my advice about fantasy and reality?  Mr. Blair is a fantastic writer, but this story simply is not a true vision of our little town.

The next one really hurts.  David Wellington is one of the best writers in the business.  His story, Off Radio,  is also based on a local legend, and a terrible event in our recent history.  I will still read his novels, as he is one of the best, but I may never forgive him for reopening wounds that haven’t yet had time to heal.

The last tale of the anthology is also by one of the greatest game designers in modern times, J.D. Wiker.  His tale is entitled Last Exit to Pinebox and he also took a local urban legend and made a tale about it.  Good story, but what do these kinds of stories about our town of Pinebox do for our reputation?  We are a small town, full of good people, trying to make our way in the world like everyone else.

Finally, the folks at 12 to Midnight also included real newspaper articles in the back of the book, as if to give credence to their claims of horror here.  If they were really that interested in the truth, they would come here and check us out for themselves.

So, if you are interested, you can find this book, Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas on Amazon, on Kindle, and other online stores, but remember these folks have attacked our honor, our lives, and made our community look as if we are overrun with the paranormal, and horrorific creatures of the night.  Please, this is fiction, not reality!

I think the folks at 12 to Midnight owe the entire town of Pinebox an apology.  How about it?

This is Steve May, and that’s the way I read it.

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