I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dark Screams Volume Two by Brian James Freeman, Richard Chizmar
Series: Dark Screams #2
Published by Hydra on March 3, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Psychological Suspense, Thriller
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Robert McCammon, Norman Prentiss, Shawntelle Madison, Graham Masterton, and Richard Christian Matheson scale new heights of horror, suspense, and grimmest fantasy in Dark Screams: Volume Two, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the renowned Cemetery Dance Publications.
THE DEEP END by Robert McCammon
Everyone thinks the drowning death of Neil Calder in the local swimming pool was a tragic accident. Only his father knows better. Now, on the last night of summer, Neil returns in search of revenge.
INTERVAL by Norman Prentiss
Flight 1137 from St. Louis by way of Nashville has gone missing. As anxious friends and family gather around the gate, a ticket clerk finds herself eyewitness to a moment of inhuman evil.
IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK by Shawntelle Madison
Eleanor has come from New York City to prep an old Victorian house in Maine for America’s Mysterious Hotspots. Although she’s always thrown herself into her work, this job will take her places she’s never dreamed of going.
THE NIGHT HIDER by Graham Masterton
C. S. Lewis wrote about a portal that led to a world of magic and enchantment. But the wardrobe in Dawn’s room holds only death—until she solves its grisly mystery.
WHATEVER by Richard Christian Matheson
A 1970s rock ’n’ roll band that never was—in a world that is clearly our own . . . but perhaps isn’t, not anymore . . . or, at least, not yet—takes one hell of a trip.
Dark Screams: Volume Three (Amazon / Goodreads)
by Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Brian James Freeman(Editor), Richard Chizmar (Editor)
Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge contribute five gloomy, disturbing tales of madness and horror to Dark Screams: Volume Three, edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the celebrated Cemetery Dance Publications.
THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub
A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life . . . and seems to predict his death.
GROUP OF THIRTY by Jack Ketchum
When an award-winning horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he’s got nothing to lose. He couldn’t be more wrong.
NANCY by Darynda Jones
Though she’s adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists—and people—are seldom what they seem.
I LOVE YOU, CHARLIE PEARSON by Jacquelyn Frank
Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. She has no idea. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him—even if he has to kill her to make her say it.
THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY by Brian Hodge
When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it’s tonic or toxic is another matter.
Anthologies are tricky things to pull off and do well, and horror is an especially hard genre to get right. The Dark Screams volumes has collected stories from some extremely talented and well-known authors, and I was definitely excited to see what they came up with.
Volume Two’s shining star to me was The Deep End by Robert McCammon. This story about a man who lost his son in a drowning death at the public pool is so emotional, so heartfelt, but so mind-twistingly heart-lifting because he won’t let his son’s death go–but not for the reasons that you think. He’s going to get whatever took his 16 year old son away from him. I also really enjoyed If These Walls Could Talk by Shawntelle Madison and The Night Hider by Graham Masterson. If These Walls Could Talk plays on claustrophobia and being buried alive as a means of revenge, so be warned. The Night Hider showcases an interesting take on how spirits can be attached to earthly things. I just couldn’t get into Whatever by Richard Christian Masterton.
My favorite story and the one that I was definitely excited to read in Volume III was Nancy by Darynda Jones. The new girl in town (proudly known as the most haunted town) is taken in by the popular girls, but when the new girl gets the idea to befriend the school freaky girl Nancy, she doesn’t see that it might not be such a good idea to be so nice until it’s too late. I’ve read Darynda Jones Charley Davidson series, so it was nice to see that her trademark wit carried over to this young adult paranormal short story. The Collected Short Stories Of Freddie Prothero by Peter Straub was something that I just couldn’t get into or finish since it was nearly unreadable as it was written in the style of a child. It was nearly impossible to decipher. I did enjoy the other three stories, Group Of Thirty by Jack Ketchum (which dragged a little to me) , I Love You, Charlie Pearson by Jacquelyn Frank (nice take on a stalker story), and The Lone And Level Sands Stretch Far Away by Brian Hodge (a bit slow too).
Overall, I give the two volumes together a four out of five. I really enjoyed Volume Two more than Volume III, and the stories by Darynda Jones and Robert McCammon were my favorites. The writing from all of the writers whose stories that I finished was solid. These are fun anthologies, and hopefully Volume IV picks up a little.