Peel Back And See: Mike Thorn
Reviewed By Steve Stred
By now you probably have seen I’m a fan of Mike Thorn’s writing. Be it his debut novel ‘Shelter for the Damned’, his short stories or his previous collection ‘Darkest Hours,’ Mike crafts fantastic, dark stories that have great characters and plots that are riveting and engaging.
Mike seems to be hitting his stride here, and with his next release coming through JournalStone, it’s an exciting time to see his fiction shared wide and far. ‘Peel Back and See’ features some new stories written specifically for this collection, as well as some previously released fiction.
What I liked: The stories within all focus around dark and terrible moments in people’s lives, but Mike does such an amazing job of having us readers remain engaged and wanting to know what happens, even when we know for a fact that there’s not going to be rainbows and sunshine by the time we read ‘The End.’
Highlights for me were numerous.
‘Havoc’ the opening story was a splendid piece of dark fiction that brought to mind Trevor Henderson’s creatures and the CreepyPasta world.
‘Mini McDonagh Manor’ was a favorite of mine from the ‘Prairie Gothic Anthology’ and still felt fresh and vital when rereading. A creepy story and Mike essentially created an entire haunted house novel within a short story.
His Demain duology is also in here. It was great revisiting ‘Dreams of Lake Drukka’ and ‘Exhumation.’ Both stories were dread and tension-filled and I loved seeing the sisters once again from ‘Drukka.’
‘The Finger Collectors’ was absolutely my favorite story within this collection. Following a young man who takes on a job he’s not too sure about, it spiralled into a debaucherous tale that had me smiling.
‘The Furnace Room Mutant’ had a very ‘on-the-nose’ title and it felt like a glorious B-movie come to life.
And ‘Virus’ was a fantastic story that brought up themes of if we’re living in a simulation and how creepy our webcams really are.
Mike writes with joy and gusto, you know he has a blast crafting these dark pieces and that leaps off of each and every page.
What I didn’t like: In a collection like this, not every piece will be a home run. Personally, I loved each one, some a bit more than others, but as always this will be a case of readers’ own tastes dictating which stories work for them.
Why you should buy this: Mike Thorn has delivered another fantastic collection, one made up of fresh, vibrant pieces and ones showcasing just how great of a writer he has been since arriving some years ago. I’m always excited to see what he has created and with the story notes at the end, we get to see how he came up with each story. Loved this one.
Peel Back And See
In spaces both familiar and strange, unknowable horrors lurk.
From the recesses of the Internet, where cosmic terror shows its face on an endless live feed, to a museum celebrating the sordid legacy of an occultist painter, this chilling collection of sixteen short stories will plunge you into the eerie, pessimistic imagination of Mike Thorn.
Peel Back and See urges its readers to look closer, to push past surface-level appearances and face the things that stir below.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.
Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.
He is an active member of the HWA.
He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here