Book Review: Pass With Care Through Pinebox

Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
Edited by Matt M. McElroy
12 to Midnight, 2009

Big fish lurk beneath the waters of Lake Greystone in Pinebox, Texas. Really big fish. But I will warn against a fishing trip, if you value your life. In fact, I will warn you to pass carefully through the little East Texas town.

Sure, it seems a friendly enough place with mom and pop shops and a state college.  You might stop for pie at Mom’s Diner or admire the architecture of the Golan County courthouse. Still, I recommend you pass on through, because Mayberry this town is not.

Strange things happen in Pinebox. And some of its strangest lore is collected in Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas. Besides an unusual amount of deaths by alligator attack — though alligators are rarely seen — in Pinebox people disappear mysteriously, rumors fly of a creature known as the Piney Devil lurking in the  woods around town, old ladies get accused of witchcraft, and criminals . . . well, let’s just say justice gets served.

The thirteen stories in the collection range from transcripts left by a travel writer who mysteriously disappeared to Preston DuBose’s “The One That Got Away,” a campy story that’s sort of a cross between Call of Cthulhu and a Jeff Foxworthy routine, to Ed Wetterman’s “The Witch of Linda Lane,” a tale of young boys who suspect their friend’s death may have been caused by a witch. The stories are capped off by a series of Headlines, newspaper clippings recounting the strange happenings in the town and surrounding county.

This collection is a fun read, some good horror stories for this time of year. But beware . . . if you stay too long in Pinebox . . . well, as one local says, “‘Gators do funny things, sometimes’.”


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