Grey Matter Press’ “Dark Visions – Volume Two” Review

Posted: June 7, 2014 in Reviews
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darkvisions2

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Grey Matter Press

Length: 320 Pages

Dark Visions – Volume Two is the companion piece to the 2013 Stoker Award nominated Dark Visions – Volume One and features 14 more stories that explore the dark corners of the imagination . Now, if you have already read my reviews for the stellar first volume and Ominous Realities, you already know that I am a huge fan of Grey Matter Press and the anthologies they have released. I decided to dive into Dark Visions – Volume Two the same way I approached the other anthologies in Grey Matter Press’ impressive library of dark fiction – completely in the dark and avoiding the individual story summaries that give clues as to what to expect. The main thing I love about these anthologies is each story begins in a very realistic manner, drawing the reader in with the comfort of the familiar. As you read each story, however, you just know something terrifying is lurking in the shadows and the blind journey into each story’s dark twist is an exhilarating thrill-ride.

If you would like to follow the same journey, all you need to know is that Dark Visions – Volume Two is a diverse collection of highly entertaining and well-written dark fiction that comes with my highest recommendation and will be a welcome addition to your horror library. That being said, if you are the type of reader who can’t resist flipping ahead in a book and skimming a few passages before you start reading, allow me to introduce you to my favorite stories from this excellent collection!

“Moonlighting” by Chad McKee is the story of two New York City stockbrokers who seemingly have everything they could ever want, yet they feel bored by the mundane routines of their everyday lives. That all changes with the introduction of “The Game”; a dark series of objectives that begin with little more than a location and a time. “The Game” adds the jolt of excitement the two characters have been chasing, but at what cost?

“Moonlighting” is a thrilling story that while utilizing a mysterious group, focuses more on the evil that lurks within the characters. I loved the intricacies that went into building the background of “The Game” and the group known as “The Men With No Faces”. I expected the organization as being the main source of evil, but McKee’s portrayal of the participants and their motives make the story even more frightening. Sure, they are given instructions and monitored by guards at first, but the participants ultimately make their own choices and those choices are the sources of horror that drive “Moonlighting”.

“The Elementals and I” by C.M. Saunders is a unique story told from the perspective of an executive for a  pharmaceutical company who manufactures drugs that are supposed to combat psychological illnesses. His company develops a drug called Pirifinil, a drug which was supposed to improve cognitive function and reduce fatigue. The drug had all the makings of a huge financial breakthrough because who can resist the allure of becoming a better version of themselves? However, the human trials uncover a side effect of Pirifinil that has horrifying consequences for those who take the drug.

I was absolutely riveted by Saunders’ story of psychological horror and immediately thought of all the drug commercials that list side effects that seem as bad, if not worse, than the ailments they are supposed to prevent. Saunders takes this unsettling side of the pharmaceutical industry and uses it to create a truly creepy story that blurs the line between what is real and what is being caused by the drug. There is one question that has been nagging me since I finished “The Elementals and I”: I wonder what it would take to convince Saunders to reveal The Elementals’ explanation of what killed the dinosaurs!

David Murphy’s “Water, Some Of It Deep” is an atmospheric tale that derives its strength from Murphy’s excellent characterization and depiction of the rocky friendship between the narrator and Henry. “Water, Some Of It Deep” is a chilling read because it serves as a reminder that evil is not always easy to detect, sometimes it lurks within the person you would least expect.

Grey Matter Press editors Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson once again use their uncanny ability to discover engaging stories that have a universal appeal to dark fiction readers. Keep an eye out for their upcoming releases The End In All Beginnings (a collection of five new novellas from John F.D. Taff) and the recently announced Equilibrium Overturned anthology, you won’t want to miss these titles!

Rating: 5/5

Grey Matter Press’ Official Website

List of authors and stories featured in Dark Visions – Volume Two

Purchase Dark Visions – Volume Two on Amazon

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