Publisher Hydra has really hit the mark with their anthology Dark Screams series. Though only the second collection, it fits a niche that hasn’t been properly tackled until now. Not quite a magazine, not a thick, daunting anthology, and so far only in electronic format to put on a Kindle or a Nook to have ready. And being less/more than a magazine or book, the price is right as well.
In this collection we have the following stories:
“The Deep End” by Robert McCammon. I recognize the McCammon name, and it’s possible (likely even) that I’ve read some by him many years ago, but I just can’t recall. This story, though, of a secret known only to a few about a drowning years ago, was powerful and had me caught up in the characters and experiencing the fear that McCammon laid out before us. This was a great way to start the collection!
“Interval” by Norman Prentiss. I’m not at all familiar with Norman Prentiss. This story took an unusual approach and brought to the reader the darkness of the human spirit in times of stress. I appreciated the different take on a dark story, but the tale itself didn’t quite move me.
“If These Walls Could Talk” by Shawtelle Madison. Madison is another author I am unfamiliar with and I really enjoy reading ‘new’ authors (new to me, at least). Madison appears to have taken a pretty standard horror setting and given us a twist on the old tale. Here we are exploring a haunted house, for a ‘reality’ show and experience something unexpected. Again, we have a really nice idea, but the characters didn’t draw me in and felt too much like I was really an outsider. Being an outsider, I just wasn’t invested in what the characters were experiencing. It was strong enough, though, that I would be delighted to read more works by Shawtelle Madison.
“The Night Hider” by Graham Masterson. Graham Masterson. Yes. I know that when I am going to read something by Graham Masterson that I will be reading something pretty powerful, and this story was no exception. Perhaps my favorite in the collection, I really loved how he connected this to a very popular book series. I look forward to reading this story again, now that I know the ending.
“Whatever” by Richard Christian Matheson. This last story was a disappointment. Richard Christian Matheson is another name that is familiar to anyone who is already acquainted with the genre. The story, set in the 1970’s around a rock band, is very unclear as to its direction and the story it is trying to tell. I love the era and the subject, but the story simply lost me.
Overall, this collection does well and offers a nice variety to the reader. The series itself is well on its way to becoming much sought-after for fans of the genre and I look forward to the next few, which are already in my Kindle.
Looking for a good book? Dark Screams: Volume Two is a nice short collection of dark stories that fans of the genre will enjoy.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
Dark Screams: Volume Two
editors: Brain James Freeman and Richard Chizmar
series: Dark Screams #2
Kindle Edition, 131 pages