The Daylight Will Not Save You: Mark Allan Gunnells
Reviewed By Steve Stred
- Paperback: 226 pages
- Publisher: Unnerving (22 Aug. 2019)
“Are You Ready to Begin?”
With that little quote from the first story ‘The Cursed Anthology,’ Mark Allan Gunnells starts his collection off and boy does it start off with a bang.
The collection itself features 27 stories of varying lengths; some as short as 2 pages, others pushing closer to 50, but not once does Gunnells make anything feel rushed or pushed. Even in a concise story, you feel fulfilled with what he’s delivered. I’m a bit annoyed at myself that this is my first go-around with Gunnells writing. I rectified that while reading this collection, snagging a few of his other releases.
I’ve seen a picture of his writing on social media and I can’t help but see him sitting there, batting these ideas out with rapid keystrokes. He played the emotional game with this reader, creating the horror-sad sandwich time and again.
Stories such as ‘Redman (A Jack Ketchum Tribute),’ ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘Life/Story’ will have you reaching for the tissue time and time again. But then Gunnells makes sure to swing the pendulum with the ding of his typewriter – going from devastating to creepy to scared as the stories flow from the pages. Tales like ‘Mutation,’ ‘Dead Boy,’ ‘Out of Time’ & ‘Red Wave’ make sure to keep you riveted as the growing sense of dread continues.
KR: Mark has very kindly shared Unfinished Business with Kendall Reviews for you to sample. Please click here
There were a few outliers when reading this, but not in a bad way.
‘Good Guys with Guns’ was an incredible tale of a teacher deciding to react during a school shooting. It is such a topical story, but with the current state of affairs in the US, sadly this is one story that will continue to remain relevant for years to come.
‘Perversion Therapy’ and ‘Pink Applesauce’ will make the squeamish gag as the stories unfold. I know that when each one was done I had a deranged smile on my face with how fantastically awful the twists were.
If I had to pick two stories though to really convince you to pick up this collection, I’d have to choose ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ and ‘A Rain of Autumn Leaves.’
‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ is one of those stories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. We follow a man and his husband on their last hike together. One of them is dealing with the ravages of Cancer. During the hike, they stumble upon a long deserted graveyard. From there Gunnells ensures that the waterworks will burst forth. I’m almost angry at him for writing such a devastatingly sad, haunting story and not warning me beforehand.
‘A Rain of Autumn Leaves’ is the final story in the collection. If this was an album this story could easily be the leadoff single or in this case one of the strongest album closers in recent memory.
I love when an author gives us an amazing twist on apocalyptic occurrences and this one is a great new look.
The story follows a single mom and her son on what should be a normal fall day. The mother finds her son looking outside, standing on the couch. She’s surprised because normally he’d be plonked down in front of the TV. “What’re you doing?” She casually asks. “Watching the leaves fall,” he replies. The mom thinks that’s odd – they have no trees near them.
Then the leaves keep raining down from the heavens above. Outstanding.
Mark Allan Gunnells has delivered a home run here, or throw out whatever other clichés we use to try and tell you just how amazing this is; a touchdown, a gold medal etc. I’m just blown away by what I read and truthfully, while I went in completely blind, I was expecting this to be dark/horror fiction for the most part. To experience such emotions was an amazing gift.
Kudos Mr Gunnells, well done.
The Daylight Will Not Save You
You may have been warned to beware the things that go bump in the night…but do not let this lull you into a false sense of security during the daylight hours.
In this collection, you will find that many horrors await you even in the glaring illumination of the sun.
A would-be hero who makes a tragedy even worse.
A young mother whose thirst for attention leads her to commit an unspeakable act.
A grieving widower who tries to hold on to his lost love.
A jealous ex who seeks revenge in an unusual way.
These and many other characters you’ll encounter within these pages, and they will teach you the lesson that THE DAYLIGHT WILL NOT SAVE YOU…
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st 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 visit Steve’s Official website here