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Darkest Hours Paperback – November 20, 2017
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The collection kicks off with Hair. This story thoroughly grossed me out. It's about a guy named Theodore who has a fetish for his own hair, which he ingests.
Mictian Diabolus is a scary read. "Mictian Diabolus... Mictian Diabolus..." The chanting grew louder, the squishy skinless feet stepping nearer and nearer. I can still picture this story in my mind.
A New Kind of Drug freaked me out. The imagery alone is enough to please any horror fan. The story has teen angst throughout. It's long on dread. The story is told from the girlfriend's point of view, which makes it even better.
Party Time surprised me! I didn't see it coming!
Mired contains a blob. Great throwback to the classics.
The Auteur is about black magic and horror filmmaking.
Choo-Choo is about two friends who go to the local train yard.
To me, Fear and Grace is the weakest story in the collection.
Long Man genuinely scared me. I had to cover a mirror while reading the story. There was something like a man in the mirror.
Economy These Days is about a brutal workplace. The company gives their employees the opportunity to make a good living, but it comes at a terrible price.
Sabbatical is great. The details in this story are great. The knobby spine scene reminds me of the sister from Pet Sematary. Also, there is a trippy scene where the characters are not as they seem.
Satanic Panic is very much a creature feature. A great creature feature. That ending has it all!
Speaking of Ghosts is an excellent ghost story.
Lucio Schluter is about creating art in the most sinister way.
Fusion is about a camping trip gone terribly wrong. The campers try to get at the root of the situation.
Remembering Absence is about a guy who recollects his own untimely death.
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut collection by Mike Thorn. Each story is different, which makes it that much better. He brings academia and different types of horror together. I had never heard of Mike Thorn before reading this collection. He has a bright future in horrorr and I can't wait to read his forthcoming work. The pages are filled with tentacles and other monstrosities. The stories are clever and witty. The characters are all too real. The monstrosities are smart. The dialogue is great. Mike Thorn's writing style is solid as well.
5/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Later in the collection, Sabbatical proves to be another highlight and I’m starting to recognize how Thorn likes doing nasty things to academics! There are some really unsettling scenes in this one, particularly towards the end. Similarly with the story Fusion, a body horror tale that is like a mash-up of Carpenter’s The Thing and Cabin Fever! I love body horror and this one certainly scratched that itch.
You can tell Thorn is a music fan and that he shares a love for music at the heavier end of the spectrum. Mayhem and Godflesh both get mentions as do numerous others. For a debut short story collection, Darkest Hours is a varied and hugely enjoyable gathering of dark fiction. There is more than enough talent showcased within these pages to suggest that Mike Thorn’s journey has only just begun. I look forward to seeing where he goes from here.
4/5 well-written research papers from the Grim Reader.