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 Four by Clive Barker, Ed Gorman, Heather Graham, Lisa Morton, Ray Garton
Series: Dark Screams #4
Published by Hydra on August 4, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Science Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Buy on Amazon
Clive Barker, Heather Graham, Lisa Morton, Ray Garton, and Ed Gorman lead readers down a twisted labyrinth of terror, horror, and suspense in Dark Screams: Volume Four, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the revered Cemetery Dance Publications.
THE DEPARTED by Clive Barker
On All Hallows’ Eve, a dead and disembodied mother yearns to touch her young son one last time. But will making contact destroy them both?
CREATURE FEATURE by Heather Graham
What could be better publicity for a horror convention than an honest-to-goodness curse? It’s only after lights out that the hype—and the Jack the Ripper mannequin—starts to feel a little too real.
THE NEW WAR by Lisa Morton
Mike Carson is a war hero and a decorated vet. He doesn’t deserve to be trapped in a hospital with some black thing sitting on his chest as patients die all around him. His only hope is to take out the nurse—before it’s his turn.
SAMMY COMES HOME by Ray Garton
It’s what every family prays for: a lost pet returning home. But when Sammy, the Hale family sheepdog, appears on their doorstep, he brings back something no parent would ever wish upon his or her child.
THE BRASHER GIRL by Ed Gorman
Cindy Marie Brasher is the prettiest girl in the Valley, and Spence just has to have her. Unfortunately, Cindy has a “friend” . . . a friend who tells her to do things . . . bad things.
Praise for Dark Screams: Volume Four
“Collectively, Volume Four constitutes the most cohesive, narratively enriching and entertaining Dark Screams entry to date. Be it the presence of genre icons Barker and Morton, stories from the lesser-known but equally talented Garton and Gorman, or the pure fun of Graham’s tale, fans of horror of every variety will find something to love in these pages.”—LitReactor
“The best of the bunch so far.”—Examiner.com
“Stacks up well with any of the other three books so far [with] a fairly good variety in the kinds of horror stories too . . . If you’re new to the series, this is a good jumping-on point.”—Wagging the Fox
“Dark Screams is one of the best values on the horror market. . . . Do yourself a favor, and pick it up.”—Adventures Fantastic
The Dark Screams anthologies edited by Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman have been pretty solid in terms of great short horror stories, but Dark Screams Volume Four is the first one where I enjoyed every single story in the volume. Horror heavy hitters such as Clive Barker and Heather Graham are featured and aren’t new to me and contributed solid efforts, but new-to-me authors Lisa Morton, Ray Garton, and Ed Gorman also wrote very interested stories that have me curious about their other works.
In Clive Barker’s The Departed, a recently deceased and now ghostly mother gets the opportunity to see her young son one last time on Halloween. She also gets to see her ex-husband who was always a deadbeat dad when she was alive but is now trying for father of the year, but will she scare the bejesus out of both the ex and her son or does love transcend death? Clive Barker’s story really tugged at my heartstrings since I have a younger son and I fear leaving him behind prematurely, but the author also plays on your fear on death and what comes afterwards. Solid writing, great emotional buildup and connection, all in such a short passage.
Lisa Morton deals with dementia and leaving your loved one in a nursing home in The New War. Elderly Mike Carson has entered a nursing home to recover from hip surgery, but a malevolent black presence seems to be sucking the life out of the residents one by one. With his war experience and ever increasing confusion, he decides the presence is linked to his nurse, so he needs to take her out. This is an interesting take from Mike’s point of view as he tries to survive in the home and clear his head.
In Sammy Comes Home, Ray Garton plays with every pet owner’s worse fear: their beloved family pet goes missing. But Sammy the dog doesn’t stay gone for good here, he comes back with a disgusting growth on his side–one that moves and pulsates until it pops. Great emotional buildup and a bit gory, this one left me wanting to know more about what would come next.
Ed Gorman’s The Brasher Girl made me wonder what kind of dopes fall for the crazy girls, but Cindy didn’t seem all that nuts until Spence finally gets to have her–and learns about her special friend that tells her to do bad things. This one is a little Bonnie and Clyde-ish coming of age story-meets mind control by something you wouldn’t expect, and it’s quite fun to read.
Heather Graham’s Creature Feature is a short story set in her Krewe of Hunters world, with search and rescue worker-turned hunter Mo and her hunter boyfriend Aiden (from her book The Betrayed) visit Mo’s friend Chelsea’s monster artist exhibition. When one of the features comes to life and turns to murder, Mo and Chelsea are forced to fight for their lives while Aiden has to find his way to them, with a little help from a murdered woman. This is a well-developed short that made me really want another book featuring Mo and Aiden.
I give Dark Screams Volume Four a 4.5 out of 5. There’s a little bit of something in here for everyone, and the stories aren’t really all that scary or creepy, so they are enough to get you to want to read more by these authors. This is a quick, fun read that new and classic horror fans will enjoy.
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