The Horror Zine Review
A Last Breath
by J. E. Richards
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 30, 2013)
A Last Breath
by J. E. Richards
Review by Jeani Rector
I have always admired the exquisitely detailed, pen-and-ink drawings created by J. E. Richards. In fact, previously The Horror Zine published some of Richards’ work HERE. Now, to my delight, John E. Richards has compiled his artwork into a book titled A Last Breath.
I have always known that Richards is artistically gifted, but I didn’t realize that he is also verbally gifted until A Last Breath became available. Inside the book, each image is accompanied by a page of beautifully descriptive (and often disturbing) prose.
An example (page 45):
“She awoke to her mother and father talking quietly. At first the words could not be made out, with hushed and guarded tones. As her eyes fluttered open, she saw that the sun was casting an orange glow to the room, turning the cabin walls a rusty hue.”
And then there are times where Richards delves into pure horror (page 77):
“Bones. They dangled from the bark strands, from nebulous small animals, the fractured femur of a white-tailed deer, ribs, still held together by aged sinew and tendons, a half skull, canine in nature.”
Wouldn’t you love to see the image accompanying that one?
Richards describes this book as “… a culmination of years spent in a rural Mid-Western environment, hearing tales of the unknown and unseen, told by fire light on frosty autumn nights. The stories presented in A Last Breath are the authors’ original creations based on imaginative musings supplemented by black and white illustrations.”
To give the visuals even more impact, A Last Breath is a large book dimension-wise (although at only 115 pages, not in length), clocking in at ten inches in height and seven inches in width. This larger size makes us savor the amazing images even more.
I think A Last Breath would be a welcome addition into anyone’s book collection, not just for the novelty of possessing such an unusual book, but also because it is so very engrossing. A reader may think that it is a slim volume, but once the cover is opened, I guarantee that the reader will spend a lot of time involved with the contents. This is a book worth savoring the images and contemplating the verbiage.
It is a deep book full of tales and superstitions, of legends and stories, and of images beautifully rendered. I highly recommend A Last Breath by J. E. Richards. Once you see it, you will understand.
You can buy the book HERE
About the author
J. E. Richards
John Richards was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 7th, 1966. He grew up with three siblings. Like most children, he began to draw pictures at an early age and has never stopped. His older brother Kerry was an avid fan of the classic black and white horror films, and was instrumental in the development of Johns’ artistic interests. A major point in this influence was the year 1975 when Kerry purchased a copy of The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta. The stark use of black and white ink drawings that Frazetta utilized was the call that John has since answered.
At the age of twelve, John and his family moved from the city to an antiquated farm-stead on the edge of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The house had been built in 1904, and the property had a number of much older out-buildings: a cavernous hay barn, a weathered chicken coop, two grain silos, the original house, a well shed, and a double door maintenance building, all of which sat upon a hill surrounded by rolling farm land to the north and west, but bordered by intermingled forest and marshland to the east.
It was during this time that he would explore the dark and unfamiliar surroundings of this rural environment, at first the mysterious structures on this seven acre plot, then later into the nearby hills and dark woods.
His book A LAST BREATh is the culmination of many years spent amongst those shadows of imagination. He knew what lived in those out-buildings, the bogs and the endless forests. And this is his work.
John is a self taught illustrator, and aspires to establish an art center for talented children and young adults who think and dream beyond what they have been told.
About the reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others. Her novel Pestilence: A Medieval Tale of Plague is released by The Horror Zine books.