Darkest Hours – Mike Thorn
Reviewed by Steve Stred
It’s funny sometimes how the world works. I picked up Darkest Hours in 2018, seeing a ton of praise for this collection. For 2019 I made it a priority to organize my TBR as I found I kept forgetting about, or skipping over books, simply because they weren’t front and centre every time I opened my Kindle. I made sure Darkest Hours was top of the heap for short story collections.
Then life gave me a funny occurrence. I got a notification on Facebook and looked to see what it was. It said Mike Thorn was interested in an event near you. That’s odd, I thought, why would he be interested in something near Edmonton? Well it turns out Mike leaves three hours south of me, in Calgary, AB. Even more hilarious is the fact that I lived in Calgary for almost two years. At the end of my time in Calgary was when I really made a push to start releasing my own stuff, and I wish I would have connected with him back then!
Darkest Hours is brutal. I mean that in the best way possible. The stories here range from cosmic horror to real horror and everything in between. I, myself, am a massive fan of heavy music and it was great seeing stories interjected with death and black metal imagery and references.
As for the stories themselves, I had a number of standouts.
Mike throws you directly into the deep end with the first story; Hair. We follow a record store owner who is obsessed with a deep desire to ingest hair. Things go downhill quickly.
Sabbatical was a great trip of a tail. Two college students head to a family members cabin to finish writing their dissertations. But something cosmic and horrendous might just be behind one of the guys writing ability.
The Long Man should become a full length. We all had fears as kids and seeing something grotesque in the mirror in your bedroom would be high up on that list. But finding out you weren’t the only one who sees it? Thorn brings it full circle.
Choo-choo was a great ride through King territory and not just because of the involvement of a train.
The Party was a great rip through the main character’s decent into depravity. Sure I take issue with him being named Steve, but my lawyers insist I have no legal recourse against Mike. I also don’t have any lawyers.
Mired was another great cosmic horror story, and The Auteur was a fun look into someone making their own extreme horror.
Those are just some of the amazing tales in there, but trust me when I say the other all are killer as well.
For a superb collection of fantastic tales, this was an easy 4.5/5.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4.5*
Because he’s Canadian and lives in the same province as me – 10/5 if that’s possible.
In the bleak landscape of Darkest Hours, people make decisions that lead them into extreme scenarios – sometimes bizarre, often horrific, always unexpected. Between this book’s covers you will find academics in distress; monsters abused by people; people terrorized by demons; ghostly reminiscences; resurrected trauma; and occult filmmaking. Ranging from satirical to dreadful, these stories share a distinct voice: urgent, sardonic, brutal, but always empathetic.
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.