Darkest Hours by Mike Thorn #BookReview

Title: Darkest Hours | Author: Mike Thorn | Publisher: Unnerving Magazine | Pub. Date: 2017-11-21 | Pages: 252 | ISBN13: 9780995975354 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Er… read at your own risk. | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy from the publisher for review consideration


Darkest Hours

In the bleak landscape of Darkest Hours, people make decisions that lead them into extreme scenarios – sometimes bizarre, often horrific, always unexpected. Between this book’s covers you will find academics in distress; monsters abused by people; people terrorized by demons; ghostly reminiscences; resurrected trauma; and occult filmmaking. Ranging from satirical to dreadful, these stories share a distinct voice: urgent, sardonic, brutal, but always empathetic.

Book cover for Darkest Hours

Darkest Hours Review

I rarely do short story collections, but Unnerving approached me about one they were getting ready to publish soon, and it looked just interesting enough that I decided to give it a try. (To be honest, I was also counting on the fact that I could foist it off on my short-story loving co-host if it failed to thrill me. ) Happily, the stories in Darkest Hours kept me engaged the majority of the time.

The writing style is consistent, actually overly consistent at times as certain phrases were used a little too regularly across the stories. The ‘type’ of horror is not, however. The author appears to enjoy turning his attention to different ways to disgust or disturb. There is everything from the mundane fetish (Hair) to the supernatural night visitor (Long Man), and from the ridiculous satirical (Satanic Panic) to the not easily classifiable (Party Time) in Darkest Hours.

There are 15 stories in the collection. My favorites were Sabbatical, Long Man, and Hair. (Hair makes the list just because it utterly disgusted me. I admire any story that can make me have to resist the urge to gag when reading OR talking about it.) Most of the stories received a three or four star rating.  There was only one story that I outright didn’t like, which was Fear and Grace.  One, Economy These Days, was interesting because although I could see how it could be labeled as a certain type of horror short, I found it to be simply thought-provoking.

Although the stories vary dramatically in chosen subject, by the end of the collection, certain things make themselves known time and again. Specifically, smoking, heavy metal, and – oddly enough – academics.  I’m sure people who are more into the literary dissection side of things will have fun picking apart the stories contained in Darkest Hours. I’m not one for doing that, though.

Mike Thorn’s Darkest Hours is contains the most diverse selection of stories that I’ve ever read from a single author.  The story order was well chosen, providing a whirlwind of an experience. You could never really be sure what you were going to read next.  Overall, if you’re a fan of horror short stories, you need to give Darkest Hours a try. You might very well just be missing out if you don’t.

Buy Link: Amazon

Shine on the Path by Eddie Generous

As part of promoting Horror during October, we’ve asked authors to talk about a horror book or author that has made an impact on them. This first entry comes from Eddie Generous, who operates Unnerving Magazine.


Shine on the Path

 

I’d never read a Stephen King book until about five years ago, maybe closer to six. My jokey motto was that I hadn’t gotten to contemporary books because there was so much old stuff to read. Have you read Sherlock Holmes? It wasn’t just Mr. Conan Doyle, I was heavy into Dostoevsky, I read some Tolstoy, got halfway through Gogol’s stuff, and into a smidge of Turgenev, plus a ton of one offs. There’s a long explanation as to how this came about, but that’s a different story altogether.

This fascination in classics, primarily Russian, existed and thrived despite the fact I’d grown up reading from between the bumpy covers of Goosebumps books and was absolutely hooked on horror flicks. The tendency to reach beyond classics began a year after I wrote my first utter piece of trash novel. I really hadn’t read much of anything contemporary in a decade and in general was not reading nearly enough to be writing, these facts eventually gnawed at the idea that maybe my novel was shit (though still clinging to that absurd rookie author notion of inherit abilities).

I was broke. I was in the midst of a thinning streak of temp jobs and short-term laboring spots, as well as more than fifty unanswered resume submissions. Huzzah to the market crash!

A fully-fledged melancholy desperation had its grips on me. I was selling off hobby items and shedding social expectations; still drinking my face off fairly regularly, but alone. My wife had a good position and was the only reason I didn’t have to head west to the oil fields. A good position meant going into debt a little bit more every month instead of a lot more.

I was down to my last things of easy value (hockey collectables). In the case of this anecdote, it was limited edition Montreal Canadiens stamps. There were no money offers for the stamps, but there was a reply. This dude told me his ex (a woman who had jetted on him in 1990) left hardcovers behind, if I wanted to swap. I went to his house. He was little guy, pudgy with yellow skin, wearing a flannel with the buttons open, clean grey joggers. He said I could take any fifteen books from the shelf. Most were water damaged, but what did I care? I needed to get more writing in me. I halfway saw reading as a chore back then.

Eddie Generous holding his copy of The Shining
Eddie Generous holding his copy of The Shining

Several weeks later I’d read five of the books: Bachman’s Thinner, a couple Koontz yarns, a Mary Higgins-Clark, and some other god-awful crime thriller, and then I opened The Shining. It’s said that sometimes books find you and that really seems like what happened.

Here was something I’d never read before. An uncannily realistic, screaming, arm-busting daddy (a character I had in the household cast growing up) in the midst of breakdown, suffering the burden of being useless to society, drinking his family to pieces (art imitates life and life repeats itself with a new set of players every day).

It was winter, in the midst of cold-snap like I’d never experienced, there were dead cars in lots and on the sides of streets, ice forming around the interior of our window frames, news of homeless succumbing all over the province, and there I was, stuck in this story with these people who felt real to me on so many levels.

I finally understood the full power of the right book.

I was there at the Overlook.

I was Jack.

I was Danny.

The world outside was a desolate winter wonderland and the hedges were aiming to get me.

I read it over two days (I’m not an especially quick reader) and ever since, I’ve been chasing the feeling The Shining gave me, chasing a Shine of my own.

I’ve tried to grasp and pass on what I experienced within those pages with new horrors and old horrors re-told. The Shining was the first step to today and all the words I’ve strung together, it’s how I eventually came to open and manage Unnerving. It’s how I learned there truly are the right books just waiting to be picked up.


Eddie Generous is a Canadian living on the Pacific coast with his wife and their cats. He operates a fledgling literary horror outfit aptly named Unnerving. An anthology he’s compiled and edited, Hardened Hearts, is due out in December. In 2018, Hellbound Books is releasing a collection of his novelettes titled Dead is Dead, but Not Always.

Social Media:

Twitter@GenerousEd @UnnervingMag

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Websitehttp://www.unnervingmagazine.com/

Issue 4 of Unnerving Magazine

Synopsis: Issue #4 of Unnerving Magazine is the biggest yet, loaded with monsters, devils, ghosts, the undead, rotten sons ‘o… and so much more. Gwendolyn Kiste offers up literary Halloween costume ideas while Stephen Graham Jones and Mark Allan Gunnells chat life’s most important holiday.