Length - 216 Pages
Star Rating - 5
A burn victim in a convalescent home eagerly awaits to see the mysterious Dr. Spindle...A claustrophobic man falls prey to the wondrous powers of a magic hypnotist...A butcher vents his growing frustration of his boss and recent breakup...A man tries to protect his friend and exact revenge on the town jerk...A hemophiliac clown faces his worst fear of bleeding to death in costume... A shape-shifting mother and daughter conspire to take over the body of a celebrity actress to steal her identity and fame...A strange man owns parasites that can recreate people from from photographs...A young pop star gets more than he bargained for after he signs a contract...A room of strangers reveal their darkest secrets to a dangerous entity...A clockmaker pushes his skill to the very limits of reality and beyond. It's all brilliantly intertwined in this masterpiece where suspense and dementia come together as one seamless nightmare.
Author - Brett Matthew Graham
Length - 216 Pages
Star Rating - 5
6 incredible horror/dark fiction short stories by the Senior Editor of SNM Horror Mag, Steven Marshall. Section one: The Gently Series, 3 stories of haunting laments of heartbreak and tragedy. Section two: The Soulful Series: wayward apparitions, other worldly events channeling lost souls of the dead. Speculative horror combined with slowly unraveling mysteries. Works written in the contemporary wordsmith visionary tradition of Poe and Lovecraft. 220 pages, 56,000 words. 6 longer short stories.
Author - Steven N. Marshall
Length - 220 Pages
Star Rating - 5
When I read a book that makes me stop and think about the language that is used, I feel a sense of contentment. After all, isn't that why we read? In a dark fiction novel that contains some pretty intense scenes, perhaps the last thing you would be expecting is beautiful words, yet this is exactly what drew me in from the the very first story in this collection.
Gently Bleeding is a series of short stories and a screenplay that all share the same theme of death, a subject that has always baffled me. However it was a simple exchange between a couple that became my favourite moment. A bedtime conversation about the estrangement within their relationship, although simple, is devastating. The dialogue is real. The effect is enormous, a true testament to a great writer.
Steven N. Marshall has a knack for writing a great twisted story, yet the writing in Gently Bleeding goes beyond this. There are times when sentences must be re-read just to revisit the poetic language. The scenes set are unmissable. Realistic. Moments pass when you becomes lost in the world he paints with his pen.
As for the dark undertones, let's just say they are less 'undertone' and much more a main player throughout the stories. In fact, although I find myself quite receptive to intense scenes, some moments were indeed, unsettling, a wonderful cherry on top for those who enjoy the genre.
Overall, I really enjoyed this collection, right from the very first pages. Articulated sentences intertwined within tales that are not for the faint of heart, Gently Bleeding is a perfect read for lovers of dark fiction and horror.
The ultimate horror can be found in man...in the making of his inner monster. An overwhelming infestation of crows reveal a small European town’s hidden secret back in the The Dark Ages...A magician must choose between the love of his life or his work, but his decision may have come too late...Religion based on a false God proves treacherous for a couple in the wake of a Satanic cult that involves the entire town...A brand new beauty product attracts more than just the opposite sex: it creates a new pandemic inside a corporate conspiracy...A retired judge receives an unexpected visit from those she’s condemned to death row. Now she must confront her own judgment day...A father becomes the owner of a strange doll he bought for his daughter. The curse it comes with will make the doll his forever... A monster learns what it means to be human through “muscle memory.” But what happens when the side-effect of a monster develops a conscience and soul? A house collector comes across a rare find, and it wants him just as much as he wants it. First they must get to know each other -- inside and out...Twin brothers share a telepathic bond, but when one finds out the other is homicidal, he must choose between family and his morals in confronting the madness in his own blood...A pro-cyclist suffers a near-fatal accident and comes face-to-face with a hungry wolf. But that’s not all he will be confronted with in the clutches of death...An old urn holds much more than the ashes of the deceased. It comes with a curse passed on through generations...A man is marked for death by his own tattoo that comes to life in the form of The Grim Reaper. His living nightmares are about to become reality... Inside are a dozen nightmares, daydreams for insomniacs, that come to life and will stay with you long after the lights go out. So come, warm your bones By The Fireside. Let the warmth wash over your soul.
Author - John J. Barnes
Length - 230 Pages
Star Rating - 5
There's something to be said about a writer that can twist a story to surprise you or even send shivers down your spine. There's nothing like a story that can bring the setting of the book into your immediate surroundings. A crack of lightning. Darkness. Fear. If you're looking for something different; something out of the ordinary - and you're not too squeamish - then I highly recommend this collection of dark stories.
As a reviewer, I take notes while I read through the paragraphs and chapters to keep track of my immediate thoughts. Interestingly, when reading this collection of short stories, I simply documented these thoughts with single words. Creepy, Scenery, Dark, Captivating. Intriguing.
In a series of short stories, John J. Barnes weaves tales with punch. Tales that twist and turn and keep you guessing. The writing is intelligent. Bold. Intense. As I read the first story, Call of The Crows, I became enthralled; captivated by the poetic prose and descriptive paragraphs. I thought, what point is there to read any more when there is no possibility that this first story can be trumped? As I read on, the stories proved me wrong, each one as mesmerizing as the next.
This isn't your stereotypical horror. This is cleverly weaved words around dark and surprising story lines. The stories are felt, not told. Readers are offered the opportunity to escape into new worlds, as dark as they are, and lose themselves in something original.
Readers who've never read dark fiction, even if you're not a fan of horror, will love these stories.
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