Staring Into Darkness (Dark Short Story Collection) Kindle Edition
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- Publication date : June 18, 2016
- File size : 394 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 165 pages
- Publisher : TreClark, Inc. (June 18, 2016)
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B01H9LEPTY
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,393,148 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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So, in my humble opinion, this book is not going to make you run screaming into the streets or hide under the bed but these are good, fun, stories written by someone who seems to care about what they are doing instead of just trying to make a quick buck.
These are chilling, creepy, engrossing tales with a touch of surprise and humor, humor at least to my (twisted) mind. The people who inhabit these stories are almost recognizable. (Perhaps I have been associating with the wrong folks.) You may not be a fan of horror, but I'll bet you will like these strange, ghoulish, grisly stories. To some, they may even satisfy their lust for the macabre.
Oh, if you are out late at night after reading these tales don't look back. You never know what may be lurking in the darkness. However, to get their full impact read them on a dark night in a cemetery by flashlight. If there is an owl mournfully hooting, the effect is even better. (Can owls hoot mournfully?)
In their dark way, very enjoyable, well-written stories. Reviewed by the author of The Children's Story, About Good and Evil.
PS There is a picture of the author on the book's Amazon page. One wonders how the woman with the genteel look could uncork these stories. Hmm.
I firmly believe that the shorter a piece of fiction is, the more difficult it is to write successfully. Longer works allow the author more time to develop character, establish mood, and create plot complexities, and, if the author has a weak chapter here or there, there's plenty of time to recover. The short story, and especially the types of shorter stories that C.L. Clark has written in her new collection, "Staring into Darkness," don't allow much room for error, as I discovered. It's not a bad collection, but a few of the stories miss the mark, and the overall result is somewhat of a mixed bag.
Fittingly for a collection of horror tales, "Staring Into Darkness" contains 13 stories, although one of them is actually split into seven sections, each a page or two long, in separate locations in the book, forming a sort of serial. Most of the stories are under ten pages long, and a few qualify as short short, or flash fiction. The storylines vary considerably, although they all could more or less be classified as horror fiction. Some have supernatural elements, while others involve horribly depraved individuals, and a couple just involve some rather shocking things that happen to rather ordinary people.
The best story in the collection fits into that latter category. In “The Visitor,” one of the longest stories in “Staring Into Darkness,” a hospitalized man wearing a full body cast stares helplessly as a very large and nasty looking spider keeps making its way closer to him. It’s a simple story, but Clark is able to get inside the poor victim’s head and let the reader experience his growing panic. A similar story, at least in terms of structure, is “Side Effects,” a deliciously gruesome tale about what happens when a woman ignores a warning label about mixing her new medication with alcohol. Another good story is “Some Things You Keep,” which seems like it could have come from a 50’s pulp mystery anthology. A young boy whose mother will be moving away with him in a few days decides to go looking in the basement among all the carefully boxed up items for possible birthday presents. Naturally, he doesn’t find any presents, but what he does find is quite a surprise. This story features perhaps the best ending in the entire book.
Almost all the stories in the collection share certain strengths. Author Clark is quite good at establishing mood and character with some very descriptive and imaginative writing, and when the story is long enough to allow her to do so, as in “The Visitor,” the results are genuinely creepy. Unfortunately, some of the stories are just too short to be fully effective. As a result, attempts at twist endings don’t always work. A couple of the stories simply don’t work at all, like one about twin brothers with a supposedly shocking secret, a story that, instead of scaring winds up being both incredibly silly and internally illogical. One of the weaker efforts in the collection is the multi-part story. While it represents a novel concept in this type of collection to split a story in this fashion, the eventual payoff isn’t worth the wait, and the effect is like listening to a stand-up comic spend five minutes setting up a joke with a very weak punch line. Further, it proves to be one of three stories in the collection that are all essentially variations on the same them, one that becomes less effective with each repetition.
Overall, “Staring into Darkness” is an entertaining collection of stories that horror fans who don’t mind some rather gruesome content will enjoy. However, about one-third of the stories are duds or disappointments in one way or another. Fortunately, there are enough good stories in the collection to allow readers to move on quickly to something else that could well be genuinely unsettling. And, after reading one of the better stories, you won’t want to be doing any staring into darkness of your own, because something just might be staring back.