Thursday, September 6, 2018
Review: Doorbells at Dusk - edited by Evans Light
Finding a Halloween anthology at this time of year is the equivalent of finding a fun-size Snickers in your trick-or-treat bag. Finding a really good Halloween anthology is like getting the full-size candy bar. Doorbells at Dusk is definitely the full-size treat.
Fourteen scary stories to keep you up late and possibly give you a nightmare or two.
A Plague of Monsters by Charles Gramlich - What if you forgot it was Halloween and all these monsters started showing up at your house? What would you do? What if they weren't trick-or-treaters after all?
The Rye-Mother by Curtis M. Lawson - A delightful story of one boy's quest to return to the otherworld. "Candy and costumes were all well and good, but Halloween was about that breach between the worlds and the magic which poured in."
The Day of the Dead by Amber Fallon - A Day of the Dead celebration at Los Calavera's Cantina. Come in costume and drink for half-price. What happens next is anything but joyous. This is a good one. Nice to see Amber appearing in more and more anthologies
Rusty Husk by Evans Light - "Halloween was his favorite holiday, and each October for the last decade Rusty had made a new scarecrow." But, oh there is so much more to this story. An intense tale which I found truly frightening.
Adam's Bed by Josh Malerman - Halloween was Adam's fifth birthday. A story for every reader who, as a child, was ever afraid of what was hiding under their bed.
Keeping Up Appearances by Jason Parent - Robbing homes dressed for trick-or-treating. A delightfully macabre tale.
Vigil by Chad Lutzke - Mr. Lutzke has some genuine writing chops... "For a while, the talk was pure testosterone. A grill tends to do that. Mix it with trying to be strong around your woman while bodies are dug up across the street and you'll sprout hair on your chest just standing nearby."
Mr. Impossible by Gregor Xane - A new designer drug which makes the user believe they are the mask they wear. Distribute it to kids and adults at a Halloween block party. Things are sure to get crazy in this wonderfully well-crafted story.
Between by Iain Welke - Día de los muertos, 'shrooms, and Mr. In-Between might not be the best combination for making life-altering decisions.
The Friendly Man by Thomas Vaughn - "Mortal terror is an essential part of childhood development." It's one thing to get into the spirit of Halloween, but The Friendly Man may carry things a bit too far.
Many Carvings by Sean Eads & Joshua Viola - The darkest story in a collection of dark tales. About a midwife who is much more than what she seems.
Trick 'Em All by Adam Light - According to Travis Raines' parents sixteen is too old to trick-or-treat and too young to chaperone his siblings while they collect the goodies. So he gets to stay home and hand out the candy, but when his pumpkin starts telling him what to do things go bad. Very bad.
Masks by Lisa Lepovetsky - A twisted tale from the dark side of life and Halloween.
I love Halloween, and a collection like this is just the thing to get me into the spirit of the season. Like an elegant display of jack-o-lanterns, not everyone is perfect, but as a whole the effect is stunning.
Published by Corpus Press, Doorbells at Dusk is available in both paperback and e-book formats.