The Town That Feared Dusk – Calvin Demmer
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but last year I snagged The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer and promptly buried it in my TBR. Then at some point I started it and had to read it in two sittings. It was so astoundingly good. I could have read it in one sitting but I wanted each story to have room to breathe and marinate.
Demmer will end up being remembered long after all of us have passed away, as one of the best short story writers in dark fiction ever. That sounds lofty, but if you’ve read The Sea Was a Fair Master you’ll be nodding your head in agreement.
Calvin launched The Sea… and then appeared to hibernate. He released Trick or Death, a Halloween short and then total radio silence. We all held our collective breath waiting word on his next release.
While we haven’t been fortunate to have a full release (collection/novella/novel) Calvin kindly released The Town That Feared Dusk, which is the 17th book in the ‘Short Sharp Shocks!’ series.
Clocking in at 32 pages, I read this in one sitting and true to Demmer’s nature, it was thoroughly engrossing.
We follow reporter Sylvia Bernstein as she discovers a story her former colleague was tentatively researching, about a small town and its bridge. The bridge has been labelled “Suicide Bridge,” which catches her interest and she heads there, looking to uncover the truth behind the story.
Demmer introduces us to a few characters and does a great job building ‘controlled confusion’ regarding the what’s and the why’s of the back story.
The interesting thing here, for me at least, was that I felt the story would have been better served to either be shorter or longer. Demmer could have easily halved the page count and the story would have been just as punchy. On the other hand, this tale could have been easily 200-300 pages long, as we explore the different deaths and the sheriff’s back story, as well as more about the old lady and it would have been just as explosive.
At the end of the day, this tale does two things – makes you think about what the hell you just read, but also makes you long for more Demmer!
Definitely recommend checking this one out, and if you haven’t read any of his other work, get on it. He’s the rare mix of current star who’ll be a remembered author years from now.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
The Town That Feared Dusk
Sylvia Bernstein doesn’t want to end up on a dead-end path like a former journalism colleague. She begins searching the tabloid’s archives for a story that can get her career back on track. A strange bridge, with an abnormally high rate of suicides, seems like the perfect place to start. She journeys to the little town, eager to investigate, but encounters a tale far more sinister than she ever expected…
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas 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.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
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
The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
Something lurks just beyond.
Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.
Now the kids who reside near McConnell’s Forest live forever in fear.
Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.
Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.
But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.
She’s out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.
From the dark mind of Steve Stred, the author of Wagon Buddy, YURI and Invisible comes this fast-paced, seat of your pants coming-of-age tale. A quick, violent, bleak read, The Girl Who Hid In The Trees will make you think twice about those sounds you hear far off in the woods.