Dark Missives: Dan Howarth
Reviewed By Simon Paul Wilson
Although the beginning of 2021 hasn’t been that great, I’ve been very lucky when it comes to picking books. I’ve read some brilliant titles over the last few months, and I’ve been keeping my digits crossed that my luck will continue for a good while yet.
So, when DARK MISSIVES came up for review, I thought I’d have a look, as it sounded like my kind of thing.
I’m going to cut to the chase here and say, without a doubt, that this collection of horrors is going to be in my top five books of the year.
Yes, it’s that bloody good.
DARK MISSIVES is the debut collection from Dan Howarth, containing eleven tales of horror, all of them absolutely killer. Seriously, I devoured this book and had to go back to a few of the stories, just so I could enjoy them again.
The collection gets off to a great start with Dustin, a short shocker about murders at a holiday camp. As I was reading, I thought this would make an excellent episode of Inside No. 9, as would a few of the other tales in this book.
When I reached the third story, Hide, Go Seek, I knew luck was still with me and I’d definitely chosen another great book. The ending of this story really creeped me out. I don’t want to give any major spoilers, but when the family returns home and enters their living room…
That scene was utterly chilling and will stay with me for a good while.
Thanks for that!
As I’ve previously said, this collection has no weak links. Every story on offer has something, whether it be a splash of cosmic horror, or the vibe of American Psycho. I enjoyed each and every page of DARK MISSIVES. It’s excellently written and certainly leaves you eager for more.
Of course, there are always stories that stand out from the others. Favourites that people will mention when recommending the book to others.
Aside from the extremely creepy Hide, Go Seek, there were two other stories that had me saying ‘Bloody Hell!’ out loud, much to the amusement of my wife and son.
The first is From The Ground Up. Read this and then scrub those plans you had for buying your dream house. Oh, and gardening. Forget that also.
I’d just like to say that this story made me think of the Hammer House of Horror series. I hope this is taken as a huge compliment, as it’s certainly meant to be.
The second is Collaboration.
Wow. What a way to finish. This twisted, dark tale was just brilliant.
For me, DARK MISSIVES scores a whopping eleven out of ten, and I don’t say that lightly. Excellent work, Mr. Howarth. Also, top marks for including story notes at the end of the book. I love it when authors do that.
Simply put, If you are a fan of horror, you need this book.
Go get it.
DARK MISSIVES is the debut collection from author Dan Howarth, bringing together 11 stories that encompass the full range of horror.
A holiday camp employee finds himself in the middle of a murder spree. A band’s biggest fan discovers just how far he will go for new music. A detective investigating a series of murders gets pulled into the seedy underbelly of the city. A delivery driver gives in to temptation and opens a suspicious package. The owner of a gallery is determined to leave his own legacy on the art world.
Let DARK MISSIVES take you on a tour of the roads less travelled in Northern England to explore what truly lies in the shadows.
Simon Paul Wilson
Simon Paul Wilson is a U.K. based writer of horror and science fiction.
He is currently writing a cyberpunk horror trilogy, the first of which is GhostCityGirl and was published by Not A Pipe publishing in 2020.
Click this link for more info: Ghost City Girl
There now follows a list of writers who have influenced his reading tastes and writing style:
James Herbert. Stephen King, Shaun Hutson, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami, Carlton Mellick III, Brian Keene, and Adam Nevill.
Simon lives somewhere in the middle of England with his wonderful family. He likes to listen to post-rock and progressive rock at loud volumes. He also plays a mean air bass.
Follow him on Twitter: @spwzen