The publishing collapse in the horror genre in the mid-90s began hard times for
a number of established writers. Some left writing entirely as the markets
dried up. Among these was Ronald Kelly, who had published eight novels and
numerous short stories, including the classic Fear. Kelly gave up writing for ten years, but has now begun a
welcome comeback. Cemetery Dance published his chapbook Tanglewood earlier this year, and now a new
publishing house Croatoan Publishing, kicks off its line with Flesh Welder.
Flesh Welder is a short story,
originally published in the relatively obscure Noctulpa back in 1990, and unfamiliar to most. It is a
post-apocalyptic tale, taking place in Houston about ten years from now. The
city, and probably the world, is in ruins from an unexplained war. The area is
covered with radioactive zones, and there is a vicious, guerilla-style war
still raging, apparently along ethnic lines.
One of the most important survivors in the area is Doctor Rourke, who has
acquired the ability to weld flesh — that is, to replace missing body
parts with scavenged meat from the many casualties in the area. With traumatic
amputations common due to the nature of the fighting, he is important to all
sides. The story concerns what happens when Jeremiah Payne, the most cruel of
the commanders, needs his services, a man who Rourke despises.
Flesh Welder is a highly entertaining
story, and Croatoan has produced a very handsome book.The cover, by Zach
McCain, is striking, and the book includes an extensive interview with Kelly by
Mark Hickerson, as well as an excerpt from Kelly’s upcoming novel, Undertaker’s Moon.
It's good to see Kelly return.
The book can be ordered from the publisher by going to http://www.croatoanpublishing.com/.
The cost is a fairly incredible $5.00 (including shipping and handling!). At
that price, you should give it a try, and quick before they come to their
senses. It comes autographed by Kelly and McCain.