Virgins and Martyrs

Simon Maginn

Borealis/ White Wolf Publishing. $5.99

Daniel is being haunted. The ghost just wants someone to acknowledge its death, but instead nearly leads Daniel to the same fate. Then there is Wendy, whose grasp on (and in) reality seems shaky at best, and whose disappearance goes almost unnoticed.

Much of the horror in Virgins and Martyrs is simply the depressing residue of living and of other people's lives. The author writes an excellent description of Daniel's new room, overpainted and cheap, with a sagging mattress, and hair and newspaper clippings left by the previous tenant. Maginn unfolds the suspense delicately; even the grotesquerie of decaying bodies, cleverly presented in the guise of old manuscripts, is secondary to the bizarre circumstances under which Daniel reads them.

Virgins and Martyrs reads like a feverish dream, sticky and disturbing. It is a perfect example of being able to like how an author writes without liking what he writes.


This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris

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