Dark Celebrations: Calvin Demmer
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Is there really anyone out there who hasn’t yet read ‘The Sea Was a Fair Master’? Released in June, 2018, ‘The Sea…’ is a masterclass in flash fiction/short storytelling and as I said back then, really cemented Demmer’s status as the one to watch and one of the best short story writers out there.
KR: You can read the Kendall Review of The Sea Was A Fair Master HERE
Fast forward and Demmer returns with ‘Dark Celebrations.’ To be upfront, I will say that I had the honour of sharing a table of contents with Demmer in the ‘Horror Collection: Silver Edition’ just this past January and I’m still stunned to think that it actually happened, especially after reading this collection.
What I liked: I actually received the digital review copy yesterday and decided I’d read the first story before diving back into my other reads. Bad move on my part. I ended up reading the entire collection and each story was outstanding. If I had to pick two to really rave over, it would actually be the final two. ‘Unidentified Fatherly Object’ ticked all of my Area 51/UFO/Secret Government place boxes and the fact that it even alluded to all of the previous stories on a discovered bulletin board made me smile immensely. The final story ‘Independence Denied’ started out with an amazing storyline of earthquakes and tsunami’s as well as a Go-Pro on a Great White Shark, before suddenly blessing us with the gift of an old great one. Demmer is such a great writer when it comes to getting you involved quickly before turning on the fan and throwing everything at it.
What I didn’t like: There were a couple of stories that I enjoyed but didn’t love, but that was just my experience. As I typically say in reviews for collections/anthologies, the stories that weren’t my favourite will often be the favourites of others. That’s the beauty of each collection speaking to each reader’s experiences.
Why you should buy this: Did you not see who the author is? C-A-L-V-I-N D-E-M-M-E-R. Add a ‘freaking’ between first name and last name for added emphasis. The stories hum and crack with energy and you know full well something is going to happen. The opening story ‘Hungry Ghosts’ is a prime example of how the story will start in one direction before quickly taking a new route without even turning on a signal light. ‘Happy Dark Year’ gave us another reason to fear the water and ‘Thanks Sinning’ made sure that we were rightly distracted from what the real danger was.
Demmer is a must-read for me and this collection once again delivers the goods. Here’s hoping we see more from Calvin sooner than later!
Each year, people all over the world celebrate special festivals and days, shining light on what they wish to remember and revere. But sometimes, inhabitants of the dark arrive with the desire to disturb proceedings. Dark Celebrations is a collection of twelve short stories… and the holidays will never be the same.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here