Suspended In Dusk II: Edited by Simon Dewar
Reviewed by Brian Bogart
Simon Dewar’s second instalment of the series really delivers. There. That’s my review. Deal with it.
Ah, who the hell am I kidding? There is plenty to talk about between the covers. So much so, I fear I may be suspended in my own nightmare of everlasting dusk if I reviewed every single tale. But, I am definitely going to touch on some high points, because this collection has thrown together a multitude of quality writing that begs to be read.
It kicks off with a wonderful introduction by Angela Slatter and sets the tone for this dark anthology. Even for those who skip intros, I suggest you read it. It’s moody and spot-on for this series.
Karen Runge kicks us off with Angeline, the tale of a sad and broken woman with a not-so-subtle fascination and fetish, finding hope and love in the fantasy. This story is a hell of a way to get started- a quick slap to the senses to get the ball rolling. The world can be a harsh mistress, especially for those blinded by obsession.
Damien Angelica Walters creeps up on you with Sundowners, a horror tale that many of us fear and have known personally. I am one of them. Sometimes, the strangers in your house are more than simple ghosts. That face in the window is only there to remind you, if you are willing to listen.
If you want something more difficult to pin down and even harder to describe, Paul Tremblay goes a little “far out” with There’s No Light Between Floors. I think this story handles the uneasiness of perspective in an interesting manner, built from some hints of Lovecraftian shades of grey and conjured up from the depths of a disaster.
Whew. That’s only three? Okay. I’m going to have to narrow this review down some. Almost feel ashamed I’m not reviewing each one individually. The shadows creeping in the corners of my vision are warning me not to. Perhaps I shall give some more highlights, instead.
Letitia Trent and Gwendolyn Kiste offer up superb tales, as does Christopher Golden and Alan Baxter. Stephen Graham Jones hooks you from his opening line and reels you along. His Love Is A Cavity I Can’t Stop Touching is a fantastic title and one I foolishly began before bed. I couldn’t go to sleep because his was a story I couldn’t stop reading.
Ramsey Campbell really shines with Another World. Bracken MacLeod’s contribution gets high marks in my opinion and I loved Sarah Read’s Still Life with Natalie. It paints a subtle and beautifully worded piece that dances between the gravestones of both pleasure and poison. Like all art.
Many of these stories are not straight-up horror. Impressively, cheap horror thrills are mostly avoided in these tales. If it is not in-your-face, then rest assured there is darkness in the margins of each page, smudges of black ink threatening to swallow the reader when they aren’t expecting.
Fiction ranging from rabid children to Moari demons, to the Dark Web and the 9th Circle of Hell- this anthology traverses many dark miles as you keep turning the pages.
This is one of the most diverse group of authors, men and women, religious and not, from a wide array of cultures and backgrounds. Grey Matter Press should be proud of this series for that. And even more proud to have joined them all together in one damn fine collection.
Sign me up for another Dusk excursion any time. While the shifting of the light may bring on the dark, sometimes the in-between times shine the brightest.
Star Rating (out of 5): 5*
Life is change. Change forces us into the light or the dark. Dusk is the time in between. It defends the light from the dark. It’s the tipping point. Where things go well. Or where thy go very, very bad. Confront change. But you must first survive dusk.
Suspended in Dusk II continues the legacy of editor Simon Dewar’s anthology series. The second volume is introduced by Angela Slatter and includes fiction from Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Graham Jones, Bracken MacLeod, Damien Angelica Walters, Alan Baxter, Paul Tremblay, Sarah Read, Christopher Golden, Nerine Dorman, Dan Rabarts, Gwendolyn Kiste, Benjamin Knox, Annie Neugebauer, J.C. Michael, Letitia Trent, Paul Michael Anderson and Karen Runge.
Brian Bogart is an American author of dark fiction and horror/fantasy. He has written stories most of his life and has been a fan of the genre since the age of seven. His approach to storytelling is a tad macabre at times but tries to capture the nuances of the humanity and sometimes, inhumanity, beneath the surface. He supports the horror community with bloodied open arms and demonic vigor.
Dream Darkly and Keep Writing.
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