Length - 184 Pages
Rating - 4 Stars
From the 2013 SNM Horror Mag Author of the Year, comes the most depraved and twisted horror novel ever published from SNM Horror Mag’s most published author. Entombed in this crypt are the 14 stories brought into daylight for the first time ever. Rob Black’s grimy appendages and macabre imagination have woven together what can only be called unapologetic horror, with dark and twisted characters, acting out the most taboo of indulgences that will shock and appall in the most horrific of ways. Not only is he SNM Horror Mag’s most published author in their seven year history, it features his 6 Stories of the Month. It’s the epitome of what true horror represents. And he pulled it off without using any vampires, werewolves or zombies in this book. Warning: This press is not responsible for the nightmares the reader will endure and, as such, cannot list what the stories contain publicly on the back jacket of this book. Read at your own risk and take comfort that this novel is listed under horror fiction. *You can scream all you want, but your God will not be listening while you read this...
Author - Rob Black
Length - 184 Pages
Rating - 4 Stars
At the core of it all...madness runs in the blood. At the core of it all, love lies bleeding inside the human heart. Murder is second nature, forever lying underneath the surface with humanity playing on both sides of good and evil. Addictions to fear awaken the dark, inner demons to one’s soul. Plagues ravage the country while a boy falls in love with a girl. Family heritages can be demonic curses in disguise over a lineage of time. Demons are summoned in seance rituals, causing terrible hallucinations. Homeless women are abducted by the rich who feed off of their very fears. Priests have dark sides and become tempted by evil and struggle to find a balance. Killing in the name of God results in more death than any others combined in history, while demonic forces test good verses evil. Ghosts dance like silhouettes in the mind and seem just as real as people. Demonic possession is real to some and psycho-somatic to others and priests may be the only viable salvation. Sanity teeters on the frayed ends of senility and leads to murder. Hidden discoveries in archaeology cost lives for those who seek power. And the cycle of life and death goes on forever... At the core of it all, the truth is ugly...and so is human nature.
Author - Vincent Sarnoff
Length - 168 Pages
Star Rating - 5
Dark fiction is a genre intended to make you quake in your boots, and Sarnoff achieves this with beautiful triumph. A detective, a doctor, an elderly woman, all characters in this collection of short stories that will make you question what is politically correct, in a good way.
I've always been a fan of dark fiction, and it's because of works like this one that make it so satisfying. I love books and stories that make me feel something, even if that feeling is anxiety or shock. If a writer can achieve a feeling so real, then they have done their job perfectly, just as Sarnoff has achieved this. The stories in this collection will draw you in and steal you away for as long as you will let it. It's bold. Daring. Brilliantly disturbing.
Tales of mythical sacrifice and disturbing personality traits accompany the vivid descriptive scenes set by this author. What makes these stories come to life is the admirable way the setting comes to life, whether it be a field of crops dancing in the wind, or a clinical steel table prepped for a lobotomy. If the stories themselves weren't creepy enough, feeling like you are there takes it up a notch, and it's wonderful.
For those playing at home, my absolute favourite was 'Behind the Mask', a dark, twisted tale that is not for the faint of heart. It has everything you want. A twist, darkness, suspense, and a killer ending.
If you're a fan of the genre; if you have a strong will, you will devour this series of stories in one sitting and wish for more.
Recent Blog Posts
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.
Would you like to request a review? Head to my contact page.