Monday, June 10, 2013
REVIEW: For the Night is Dark
Editor: Ross Warren
Price: $5.99 (ebook)
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Emily Veinglory
The great strength of this anthology is the way the stories have a strong sense of place and convincing, realistic characters. Across all of the stories it begins to feel like the bogey monster of this day and age is the chav (or whatever your regional term for youths from the ghetto is), or the under-privileged world they are forced to grow up in and the destructive role of abusive parenting. Of particular note: 21 Brooklands by Carole Johnstone which will probably stick in my mind for some time. This Darkness by John Claude Smith is also notable, it feels somewhat like a parable about the redemption that can only be found by hitting bottom.
There were some stories with notably original elements. God May Pity All Weak Hearts by Daniel I. Russel retells the Dr. Crippen murder. On a Midnight Black Chessie by Kevin Lucia finds horror in a very unlikely place. And How the Dark Bleeds by Jasper Bark seems to effortlessly create a whole mythology around the layered story of the protagonist within just a few short pages.
If there is any criticism I would make it is that many of the stories don't quite close conclusively and give a feeling of resolution. Exceptions being the under-stated pathos in the conclusion of the zombie story Darker with the Day by Scott Nicholson and the tightly plotted A Snitch in Time by Robert W Walker.
Overall this collection represents what a good horror anthology should be. A somewhat uneven groups of stories but none that are without merit, misogynist or mindlessly gratuitous--traits that hobble many other publishers in this genre. At the center of almost all of these stories there is a fate that is genuinely horrific if contemplated, and that resonates with the horrors that do or could exist in the real world.