Russki Dread: Artyom Dereschuk
Reviewed by Steve Stred
Artyom Dereschuk came onto my radar innocently enough, last year.
I had recently received a Kindle as an early father’s day gift and as I was cruising through the free Amazon horror listings, a stunning cover caught my eye. ‘Master of the Forest’ still has one of my favourite covers ever, and once I read it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. From there, I snagged ‘Hate The Sin’ from Netgalley, and while the book was decent, I was left wanting a bit more.
Then out of the blue – I received a message from Dereschuk himself on Goodreads. Was it cryptic? You be the judge.
I opened up my inbox to this as the subject line; “How about round three?”
We chatted and he kindly sent me his newest collection – ‘Russki Dread.’
Look, I’ve waxed about it before in my reviews and on social media, just how much I love winter/wilderness/Siberia/Russian based horror stuff – there was no chance I was going to pass this up.
‘Russki Dread’ tackles a lot in a short page count. Dereschuk himself opens up the collection with a brief foreword mentioning how this collection is based on everyday life as well as a lot of the fears that many people dealt with in Russia in the ’90s.
I absolutely enjoyed this collection. Dereschuk’s writing has improved significantly with each release, and while I found some of ‘Master of the Forest’ stumbling on some English phrases, Dereschuk has eliminated any of those issues.
The collection opens up with ‘The Housing Issue’ a creepy story about a man living in a complex. One day his friends simply move without telling anyone. The individuals who move in – not so nice. This thing unfurls into a fantastic occult based-type story and Dereschuk delivered a powerful ending.
Next up we are treated to the story ‘The Cellar.’ This one had a very Mike Mignola-BPRD feeling to it and once again I was floored with how the story continued to twist and turn.
‘Nadezhda’ was a horrific story about an amulet and a pregnant woman, which was followed up by the masterful ‘Project Lidiya.’
Probably my favourite story in this collection was ‘What kind of Dendy do you have?’ I’d never heard of a Dendy machine before and with the help of Google, I found it was exactly as Dereschuk described – a cheap, Nintendo knock off that was manufactured to fill that gaming gap in Russia. The story follows some friends who are given a mysterious game for their console and from there, things take a dark turn.
Two final stories wrap up the collection; one about a man who has been trying to publish his poetry for decades and one about a town that gets flooded. Both of these were fantastic and while the one following a man who tries to get published was creepy, the town getting flooded was a straight-up creature feature, which was a great way to end things.
I’ve really grown to love Dereschuk’s style. He has a very unique perspective, which we don’t see a lot of – from the wilderness of Russia. I’m excited to see where he goes from here, so far he’s continued to surprise.
The voices coming from an old apartment below conspire to kill you.
The flood in a small village brings something wicked from the forbidden forest.
A game cartridge for a pirated Russian gaming console is not what it seems.
“RUSSKI DREAD” brings you short horror stories set in Russia. Stories that could happen only in one place, where the otherworldly terrors are just another layer of dread that looms over the endless state. Whatever kind of horror you desire, from paranormal tales of suspense to brutal slasher flicks – Russia has them all.
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