Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop by John Brhel and J. Sullivan

Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop by John Brhel and J. Sullivan
Publisher: Cemetery Gates Media
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (156 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Retired stage magician Dr. Marvelry prefers to stock his antique store with strange and occult items. He has always enjoyed meeting odd people and hearing their stories, the legends attached to mysterious objects. A phonograph that seemingly replays a tragedy. Fertility dolls that are more than decoration. A bedeviled mannequin. These are just some of the relics this eccentric shopkeeper has collected over the years.

No two customers will have the same experience in his curiosity shop — some walk away satisfied, others are never heard from again. But one thing is certain – when you purchase an item at this store, you often get more than what you paid for.

Follow Marvelry and his hexed objects through twelve tales of suspense, magic, terror, and transformation. Meet his new assistant, fellow illusionists, and some irregular characters along the way. Whatever macabre artifact of the human psyche you’re seeking – you’ll find something special in Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop.

Every antique has a story to tell if you know how to listen to it.

Brent and Kevin Buckley’s experiences in “The Victor Talking Machine” was a wonderful introduction to this collection. Their happy relationship contrasted sharply with the strange phonograph they’d just brought home. I enjoyed seeing how they reacted to all of the weird things going on around them. It made me curious to find out what would happen next, especially once both characters agreed that something needed to be done about their situation.

There were a few tales that would have benefited from having a little more attention paid to their endings. “The Letterbox” was one of them. Josh, the main character in it, accidentally found an antique letterbox that used to belong to his grandparents while browsing Marvelry’s shop. Since Josh had just purchased his grandparents’ old home, he was thrilled to begin outfitting the house with some of its former possessions. I was completely fascinated by what happened after the letterbox was installed in the same spot where it used to hang when the main character’s grandparents lived there. With that being said, I was a bit thrown off by how quickly the storyline ended. There was so much tension being built up that never had a chance to be fully resolved. If not for these missed moments in some scenes, I would have given this book a five star rating as it was otherwise a thrill to read.

In “The Painter’s Premonition,” an artist named Justin got more than he bargained for when he brought home an old easel. The foreshadowing was fantastic in this one. While I did have a pretty good guess about what the twist ending might be ahead of time, it was still a lot of fun to see the main character slowly move closer and closer to the conclusion. I also appreciated how much effort the author put into describing the paintings that Justin was making. Those details made me eager to know what he would paint next and if my guess about the meaning of his work was correct.

Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop was delightfully eerie. Give it a try if you’re in the mood for something spooky.

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