Archive for October, 2014

SuspendedInDusk

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Books of the Dead Press

Length: 293 Pages

Review copy provided by the editor in exchange for an honest review

Fall is finally here and it is my favorite season of all. I mean, I run a site called The Horror Bookshelf, so naturally October and Halloween are my favorite times of the year. Lately, I have been reading a lot of dark fiction anthologies, which make for perfect Halloween reading. My most recent review was for The New Black, a stellar anthology edited by Richard Thomas and longtime readers already know about my love of the anthologies published by Grey Matter Press. I am fairly new to the world of anthologies, but it seems like the format is becoming increasingly popular lately. Tons of new anthologies and collections are making their rise in the horror genre and television anthology series’ like American Horror Story and True Detective are generating a lot of discussion among viewers.

I was excited to dive right into Suspended In Dusk, an anthology edited by Simon Dewar, after seeing the creepy cover and seeing that the introduction was written by the legendary Jack Ketchum. Suspended In Dusk features 19 stories from some incredibly talented horror writers and is loosely themed around dusk, a time where daylight fades into night and where the evils lurking in the shadows are finally unleashed. Dewar has collected a pretty diverse selection of stories for Suspended In Dusk, so there is a little bit of everything contained within its pages that will appeal to horror fans. Every reader is sure to have their own list of favorites, as all of the stories are highly entertaining and well-written, but the following stories were the ones that captured my imagination right off the bat.

“Taming The Stars” by Anna Reith is a beautifully written story that follows the paths of Michele, a man who is thrust into a shady job by his friend Antoine and Esther, a woman with a dark secret. Their two seemingly separate paths finally converge in a blood-filled encounter at the gangster Radouane’s house and their lives are never the same.

“At Dusk They Come” by Armand Rosamilia is a dark tale that really stuck with me due to the choice of setting. I have lived in small towns . THe story opens with mysterious, dark figures that seem ripped straight from the stuff nightmares are made of. Glowing eyes and armed with sharp claws, these beings emerge from the woods with dark intentions and strike a deal with the narrator – offer up your neighbors and your family lives.

“Digging Deep”, a story from British horror master Ramsey Campbell, is a frightening tale of a man who realizes has greatest fear has come true – he has been buried alive. Campbell’s story perfectly captures the desperation and claustrophobic nature of a very terrifying scenario that will keep you flipping through the pages until you reach the story’s utterly chilling conclusion.

Rayne Hall’s “Burning” stood out to me because it was one of the few stories that didn’t focus on the unknown or supernatural, but rather the darkness that dwells in the hearts of every day people.

Karen Runge’s “Hope Is Here” follows Gary, a homeless man hears rumors of a sanctuary for those living on the street run by The Sunshine Group. They supposedly offer clean showers and hot meals in exchange for filling out a simple questionnaire that will help them assist homeless people in getting off the streets and rehabilitating their lives. Gary quickly learns that this supposedly “no strings attached” offer of assistance is too good to be true.

I am a huge fan of post-apocalyptic stories and Suspended In Dusk has a few excellent entries that cover that theme extremely well. Angela Slatter’s “The Way of All Flesh” is a chilling story that focuses on a small town in the aftermath of. Sweet Bobby Tate is a predator who comes to Wolf’s Briar, West Virginia in search of victims in order to combat his hunger. Sweet Bobby Tate thinks he has hit the jackpot when he stumbles across the home of sixteen-year-old Annabel Adams, but realizes much too late that he may be in over his head. This story seems to take place in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak, but the story focuses instead on how the events have changed everyday people and the lengths they must go to survive.

J.C. Michael’s “Reasons To Kill” follows a band of survivors who have built a small community and have been surviving in relative comfort until a stranger moves into the community. The stranger is a bit of a recluse and makes the townspeople uneasy, but they decide to leave him in peace since he is not bothering anyone. However, when children go missing, the leaders within the community begin to suspect their newest resident is hiding something. The group starts to become unhinged when they argue over how to handle the situation and when they finally decide to investigate the newcomer’s home, they make a series of horrifying discoveries that forever alters their community.

I loved Suspended In Dusk because while some of the authors that appear in the anthology are familiar to me, I was also treated to some new writers who I had never heard before. I think there is no better feeling than discovering new authors that capture everything you love in a story and Dewar’s stellar anthology offers up plenty of those opportunities to horror fans. This is Dewar’s first entry into the anthology world and I think he nailed it. He brought together an impressive cast of authors and crafted one hell of an anthology despite numerous setbacks along the path to publication. I will definitely be looking forward to Dewar’s work in the future, both as an editor and an author. I highly recommend picking up Suspended In Dusk and giving it a read!

Rating: 4.5/5

LINKS

Books of the Dead Press’ Official Website

Purchase Suspended In Dusk on Amazon 

savagebeasts

It’s been a little over two months since Grey Matter Press announced their open call for latest anthology, the music-inspired Savage Beasts. I know I am going to be a little early with this post as they have not announced the stories that have been accepted or a release date, but this is a book I am really excited about! Inspired by their upcoming release and my love of music, I have decided to put together a playlist of songs that I enjoy listening to while writing and/or have some connection to horror. It could be the song title, lyrics or music video, but a lot of these songs do have some connection to horror themes. I have created a Spotify playlist and provided a short explanation for each song I picked. The songs span a pretty wide variety of genres, so while you may not enjoy every song, hopefully there are a few you like. I had a ton of other songs that could have made the cut, so I may break these up in installments. Enjoy!

Tracklist

1. Mogwai “Now You’re Taken” – Mogwai is hands down one of my favorite post-rock bands and this is easily my favorite track by them. This is one of their few songs with vocals (provided by Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat) and is absolutely perfect for chilly fall evenings.

2. Early Day Miners “Errance” – I don’t know what it is about this song, but it has been on just about every playlist and mix CD I have ever made from high school all the way until I decided to make this playlist. “Errance” is a warm and atmospheric track that has accompanied a large bulk of everything I have ever written.

3. Gregor Samsa “Jeroen Van Aken”– Largely piano driven, Gregor Samsa’s “Jeroen Van Aken” is an absolutely beautiful song that utilizes its simplicity as its greatest strength. Haunting lyrics such as “it seems the devil’s got a grip on me” and the song’s allusion to writing make this track one that not only has roots to horror but writing as well.

4. Radiohead “Pyramid Song” – A haunting song by one of the most original bands around. No description I could give would do “Pyramid Song” justice, just know that it is alleged that Thom Yorke once called this song the best Radiohead ever recorded at the time.

5. Deerhunter “Fluorescent Grey” – A pretty catchy song that centers around death and obsession, this was one of the first songs that began my obsession with indie rock.

6. Snowden “No Words No More” – The only cover song to appear on this list, Snowden’s brilliant take on Love and Rockets “No Words No More” is an atmospheric track that somehow manages to feel both gloomy and beautiful at the same time.

7. Explosions In The Sky “Your Hand In Mine” – Explosions In The Sky’s lush and cinematic arrangements make for some excellent writing music and this is one of their best.

8. Converge ” You Fail Me” – “You Fail Me” is a dark and visceral track from the band’s critically acclaimed 2004 album You Fail Me. The churning, metallic guitars, Jacob Bannon’s throat-shredding vocals and track’s slow-burning menace conjures up images of an apocalyptic wasteland and made this a “no-brainer” selection for this playlist.

9. Interpol “NYC” – I have been a huge fan of Interpol and their take on post-punk since their landmark 2002 debut Turn On The Bright Lights. “NYC” used to be the perfect soundtrack to my late night walks back to my dorm room in college.

10. Soundgarden “Fell On Black Days” – This was always my favorite Soundgarden song and its appearance on one of my favorite TV shows, Supernatural, made it a natural pick for this playlist.

11. TV On The Radio “Wolf Like Me” – TV On The Radio is an incredible indie-rock band that can boast about the fact that David Bowie is one of their fans, which should really tell you all you need to know about how good this band is. I can’t speak about the true meaning behind the song, but based on the B-movie inspired music video for “Wolf Like Me”, it’s about turning into a werewolf. How could it not make this playlist? Check out the music video here.

12. The Rolling Stones “Sympathy For The Devil” – I don’t think this selection really needs any explanation!

13. Cloud Nothings “No Future/No Past” – I was blown away by this song the first time I heard it. I had never really listened to Cloud Nothings prior to this track, but they supposedly leaned more toward the pop side of indie-rock before deciding to record 2012’s Attack on Memory with Steve Albini and shifting to heavier sounding songs. The music video for the song was directed by John Ryan Manning and was what really makes this song stick in my mind. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but the video opens on a man seemingly being dragged by an unknown force just outside the camera’s view. It is one of the coolest and creepiest music videos I have seen in a while and I definitely recommend checking it out. I think this premise would have made an excellent short story.

14. Deftones “Change (In The House of Flies)” – Besides the fact that I just think this is an awesome song and one of the Deftones best, it gets its horror connection from being included in The Following and Dexter.

15. Young Widows “Kerosene Girl” – Young Widows is one of my favorite post-hardcore bands and this monolithic track is a must-listen for fans of heavy music.

16. Les Savy Fav “Adopduction” – One of my absolute favorite songs from the brilliant Les Savy Fav, the song is about a dream in which the narrator was kidnapped and slowly develops Stockholm Syndrome.