The Dead Boxes Archive - Book Review
The Dead Boxes Archive - John F. Leonard (2020)
Reviewed by Yvonne Miller
The Dead Boxes Archive is a work of sinister proportions and literacy entanglement. Have you ever wished you could get rid of your enemies with the creation of a story? Were you bred ultimately for greatness only for it to skip a generation? Or have you wished a device could point you in the right direction of strange occurrences happening right under your nose? John F. Leonard has delved feet first into topics that lie dormant in the back of our psyche and only he has the key to unlock the cage to our darkest fears. Only he has the power to make the unthinkable totally and utterly realistic.
My favourite short story within the collection was 'A Plague of Pages'. Now, it's no secret that I love horror stories that delve into the world of supernatural horror. Haven’t we all come across people that wish us ill harm and wished upon a star that we could get even somehow? Well, in Plague of Pages, it becomes more than a mere thought. In this story your abusers can run into a little ‘accident’. Anthony Eames has been cheated on by his wife and best friend, they’ve inflicted mental abuse and ran off into the sunset together, never to be seen again. They are a couple with little conscience. Anthony pours his feelings out onto paper and somehow manages to wish their lives away as the ink dries on the page.
John F. Leonard has fast become one of my favourite horror writers. I first became aware of his work in the NHS charity anthology, Diabolica Britannica. His ability to set the tone of his work is second to none. No beating around the bush, he hits you with that block of wood until you start paying attention.
The story focuses on all manner of dark themes - jealousy, envy, pain and grief. These emotions lurk in the corner of our consciousness and clamour for attention but how often do we try to put out the flames that they crave? See, this is why the author is just so sublime at making your brain go into overdrive, he kickstarts your imagination and you either chase after it or get left behind.
The Dead Boxes Archive is another stellar addition to John F. Leonard’s arsenal. A collection that overflows with tension, narrative mastery and is so tightly plotted it could cut your throat. A strong and powerful voice in British Horror.
John F. Leonard messes around with words for a living. He was born in England and grew up in the industrial Midlands. That was where he learned to love scrawny cats, the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains. Purchase The Dead Boxes Archive here