Clive Barker, Heather Graham, Lisa Morton, Ray Garton, and Ed Gorman lead readers down a twisted labyrinth of terror, horror, and suspense in Dark Screams: Volume Four, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the revered Cemetery Dance Publications.
THE DEPARTED by Clive Barker
On All Hallows’ Eve, a dead and disembodied mother yearns to touch her young son one last time. But will making contact destroy them both?
CREATURE FEATURE by Heather Graham
What could be better publicity for a horror convention than an honest-to-goodness curse? It’s only after lights out that the hype—and the Jack the Ripper mannequin—starts to feel a little too real.
THE NEW WAR by Lisa Morton
Mike Carson is a war hero and a decorated vet. He doesn’t deserve to be trapped in a hospital with some black thing sitting on his chest as patients die all around him. His only hope is to take out the nurse—before it’s his turn.
SAMMY COMES HOME by Ray Garton
It’s what every family prays for: a lost pet returning home. But when Sammy, the Hale family sheepdog, appears on their doorstep, he brings back something no parent would ever wish upon his or her child.
THE BRASHER GIRL by Ed Gorman
Cindy Marie Brasher is the prettiest girl in the Valley, and Spence just has to have her. Unfortunately, Cindy has a “friend” . . . a friend who tells her to do things . . . bad things.
Praise for Dark Screams: Volume Four
“Collectively, Volume Four constitutes the most cohesive, narratively enriching and entertaining Dark Screams entry to date. Be it the presence of genre icons Barker and Morton, stories from the lesser-known but equally talented Garton and Gorman, or the pure fun of Graham’s tale, fans of horror of every variety will find something to love in these pages.”—LitReactor
“The best of the bunch so far.”—Examiner.com
“Stacks up well with any of the other three books so far [with] a fairly good variety in the kinds of horror stories too . . . If you’re new to the series, this is a good jumping-on point.”—Wagging the Fox
“Dark Screams is one of the best values on the horror market. . . . Do yourself a favor, and pick it up.”—Adventures Fantastic
Freeman and Chizmar's fourth horror anthology contains five tales, which range from the gut-wrenching to the otherworldly. In Ray Garton's "Sammy Comes Home," a family's dog returns home with frightening physical changes. Extraterrestrials feature prominently in Ed Gorman's "The Brasher Girl," in which a young woman is controlled by something from another planet. Heather Graham's eerie "Creature Feature" is a classic horror page-turner, while Clive Barker's "The Departed" and Lisa Morton's "The New War" are more cerebral. All the characters must come to grips with their own uncertainties, fears, and emotional complexities, highlighting the human element amid fantastic and strange encounters. While this focus on the humanity in horror stands out in a gore-splashed genre, the creatures and phenomena in each story seem underdeveloped, so the various climaxes lose a little of their impact. The balance between horrific and introspective shifts toward the latter, and this collection, contrary to the series title, ignites curiosity rather than going for outright scares.
Customer ReviewsSee All
An excellent collection by some well known names.
This is the fourth volume and they are beginning to remind me of the horror collections I used get back in the 1980s edited by Charles Grant. You'd know at least half the stories that would knock your socks off and after this latest book, I was barefoot again.
Clive Barker has always been one of my favorites and here he provides an interesting and heartbreaking look at The Departed and where they go. Or don't.
I loved Lisa Morton's Monster's of LA, and was excited to see her work included here. The New War is a solid story of a veteran who finds out that war is constant, and some enemies can't be beaten, only denied.
Ray Garton's Sammy Comes Home was one of the best surprises I've had in a long time. The title alone screamed 'Pet Sematary'' to my hind brain but that wasn't even close. I'd say more, but that would ruin it, and it would be wrong.
Ed Gorman's The Brasher Girl was a cool mix of Stephen King's earlier work like Carrie or Christine, mushed together with a 1960s scifi 'B' movie. Kind of. He describes it as a King homage (or theft) but I'll stick with the former. It is a fun ride, though I had the ending before I got there.
The final entry, Heather Graham's Creature Feature, didn't work for me at all. Not sure if the venue or the subject didn't ring true, or was just too far out of tune for me ever to have a chance. Oh well, four out five ain't bad!
Another great addition to this anthology series.
I received an advance reader copy (arc) of this book for the purpose of providing an honest review.
I continue to enjoy this anthology series and this one merely whets one's appetite for the next installments. As such, I was looking forward to this fourth installment. The author line-up for this volume is quite impressive.
I found each of the stories to be entertaining for different reasons. I don't believe that I had any disappointments with any of them … not quote as positive a feeling as some of the earlier volumes.
This anthology includes these stories:
—The Departed, by Clive Barker. A very emotionally charged and touching story. Certainly not horrific and not what I expected from The Clive Barker, yet thoroughly enjoyable. 3.5 stars
—The New War, by Lisa Morton, A tale that is frightening in that we will all be in Mike's place eventually ... with the black waiting patiently. 3.5 stars
—Sammy Comes Home, by Ray Garton, Man's best friend? A quick-moving gruesome tale. 3.0 stars
—The Brasher Girl, by Ed Gorman, Murder, mayhem and mischief ... Oh my! This story has everything: love, broken hearts, intrigue, mystery, murder and aliens! And, no ... It's not hokey at all. It's a very quickly paced thrill ride ... come on in and try it! 4.5 stars
—Creature Feature, by Heather Graham, A real-life Universal monsters-type horror movie. Quite action-packed and exciting for a short story. Quite entertaining. 4.0 stars