I’m not generally a short story reader. I prefer to curl up with a novel-length work, but when a friend lets you know his story is in an anthology, what do you do? Well, if you’re me, you buy it.
[easyazon-link asin=”B00IU6MHOS” locale=”us”]Fear of the Dark: An Anthology of Dark Fiction[/easyazon-link], published by Horror Bound, is an anthology of 20 stories with the theme of, well, like the title says, fear of the dark. Some of the stories match the theme better than others, but, with just a few exceptions, the stories were excellent.
“Dark Horse” was my favorite, since it is the story written by Martin Rose, my friend, and it’s an interesting take on the multiple meanings of the word nightmare. It’s creepy and shiver-inducing, all in a good way.
I was surprised by the other three stories I liked best: “The Doll in the Window,” “Spy Glass Hill,” and “Crack O’ Doom.” All three involved dolls, which aren’t usually my thing, but I thoroughly enjoyed all these stories.
Be prepared for some disturbing imagery. This is dark fiction, after all, and while some of the stories use subtle means to get across the creeps, a few, like “Daughters of the Night” and “Lullaby of the Grotesque” are more overt in their imagery and use of blood. It wasn’t much of a problem for me, but I thought I’d pass along the warning. I made the mistake of reading “Daughters of the Night” while eating lunch, and it might not have been the best idea.
My two least favorites were “Keeper of the Night” and “She’s Not There.” “Keeper of the Night” felt like the seed of a longer work, and while I did like the premise, I would have liked to see more of it. “She’s Not There” just didn’t capture my attention.
If you’re a fan of dark fiction, this one is well worth the read.