The Mind’s Plague And Other Bites Of Brutality: Morgan K. Tanner
Reviewed By Steve Stred
“There was a bang on the front door.”
I’ve come to know Morgan K. Tanner through Twitter and over the course of our time together, we’ve developed a good friendship. Whether it’s been chatting about similar work experiences (we both are in a similar health profession, just in different countries), or through our love of all things heavy metal, we’ve connected and it’s been a joy.
When Morgan first announced his debut release ‘Army of Skin’ I jumped at the chance to review it and was pleasantly rewarded. Morgan’s had a number of short stories released before, but this was my first time reading his work and it was already apparently he had a confident writing voice.
KR: You can read the Army Of Skin Kendall Review here
When he announced his first collection of short stories recently, I was super excited to see just what he had in store for us.
The Mind’s Plague and Other Bites of Brutality takes a similar writing style as Army of Skin but then attacks each story with excitement. It contains 10 short stories and I had a great time with 8 of the stories. It shows Morgan tackling a variety of horror landscapes and a few of them were simply phenomenal.
The collection opens up with the title story, ‘The Mind’s Plague.’ If you’ve ever spent time on Youtube watching Top 10 Creepy Videos or Mysterious Video countdowns, this story will be right up your alley. Three friends get together, with the goal to get drunk and watch a horror movie. When no movie is available, Henry – the brash, aggressive one of the trio suggests they try and find the online video that apparently made a kid kill his family after watching it. Things ramp up from there. This was a 4-star story for me, I think it could have benefitted from another 500 words or so.
Next up is ‘An Abhorrent Act’ which, for me personally, was the pinnacle for all the stories here. A horrific homage to Barker and Lovecraft, I would love to see Tanner make this world into a full length. Just outstanding. I don’t want to give too much away, but wow. Easy 5-star story.
Following that was another outstanding story – ‘For David.’ This was a claustrophobic tale about one fan’s obsessive love of a former movie star. Tanner made sure to twist this thing into pure revulsion and I love it all the more because of that! Another 5-star story.
The next story is one that all metal fans will dig. ‘Conflagration Desecration’ tells the story of Steve (wahoo!) the drummer, who answers a mystery ad for a band seeking a new drummer. Once he starts the journey down the black metal path, he can’t stop and by the end, he gets a firm understanding of just what he’s signed up for. Outstanding and another 5-star story.
After this is ‘The Price of Fame.’ Sadly for me, this was a decent story but a bit of a miss. I found the story to be far too similar to ‘For David.’ Maybe if the collection had another five or six stories in it, it wouldn’t have felt so repetitive so soon, but as such, I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. 3 stars.
Following ‘…Fame,’ was another slight miss for me with ‘Reluctant Bloodlust.’ A zombie tale that just slogged along. I didn’t mind it, but it’s tough for me to connect to anything zombie lately. 3 stars.
Tanner rights the ship with the next story – ‘Thieves.’ This story reminded me so much of the episode ‘The Harrowing’ from the first series of Inside No. 9 in the best way possible. Two thieves break into a house expecting to be able to make a quick score. Little do they know the horrors that await. 4 stars.
‘Grieving’ (4 stars), ‘As Good As Dead’ (3.5 stars), and ‘Room 405’ (4 stars) were three creepy stories to finish the collection off, making for a solid release from Tanner. I read this in one sitting and had a blast, even with the few stories that didn’t connect with me as much as they might with others.
If you’ve read ‘Army of Skin,’ this will be a great addition to your collection and will keep Tanner’s growing fan base happy, if this is your first introduction to his work, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised time and time again.
I’m excited to see just what Morgan has planned for the future and can’t wait to check out his next releases.
The Mind’s Plague
Three friends search for an infamous internet video of an urban legend with devastating consequences;
a passionate drummer joins the band of his dreams, or perhaps his nightmares;
a man tries to find fame in a world where the mundane call the shots;
and a grieving father loses his grip on reality.
These ten stories delve into a world of darkness and suffering, where the terrors are more vivid than they may appear.
Blood is spilt, minds are destroyed, as madness ultimately reigns victorious.
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
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…