Dark Screams Volume 5
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
ebook only, $2.99
So this is the fifth volume of Dark Screams I’ve reviewed. I’d like to thank Hydra Books, Brian James Freeman, and Richard Chizmar for the review copy.
Once again, there are five stories in the volume. Unlike the previous installments in this series (long may it continue), not all of the stories were to my taste. They were all well-written, but I’m not the audience for all of them. Those of you who know my taste can use that as a guide as to whether you would enjoy the stories.
Here’s what you get:
“Everything You’ve Always Wanted” by Mick Garris is the longest story in the book, comprising 50% of the pages. It’s the story of a director who made a successful indie horror film 25 five years previously. Now he’s the guest of honor at a horror convention in Indianapolis. He finds that horrifying enough, but then he meets this one at a bar…I was enjoying the story up to this point, but then the description of the video she shows him plus the raw sex scene that followed weren’t my cup of tea. If this story were written by a lesser writer, I would have probably skipped to the next one. Garris’s prose kept me reading to the end, even as I was reaching for the brain bleach.
Kelan Patrick Burke’s “The Land of Sunshine” concerns a man’s guilt over his infidelity. It’s a dense piece of writing, but the payoff is worth it.
Del James’s “Mechanical Gratitude” concerns the two loves of a mans life, his wife and his Camaro. It’s a ghost story of sorts with a bittersweet ending.
J. Kenner takes us to voodoo haunted New Orleans for a very different, and darker, ghost story in “The One and Only”. Here a young man hits New Orleans with a couple of his buddies because the girl of his dreams dumped him just before he was going to proposed. He just wants to forget her and get laid. Then he sees a woman across a crowd, and it becomes an enchanted evening. Just not the kind of enchanted evening the classic song is about.
The final story is the strange entry “The Playhouse” by Bentley Little. Here a realtor discovered there’s something strange about the playhouse in the backyard of the repo she’s trying to sell. Maybe it has something to do with why the house was repossed…
Again, the editors have assembled a solid collection of new horror stories. While not all of the ones in this volume worked for me, all the others have. That’s a pretty good track record, and I’ll keep reading the Dark Screams anthologies as long they Hydra continues to publish them.