Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell are the first contributors to a mind-bending new series of short-story collections that push the boundaries of horror and dark suspense to the bleeding edge. From Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the acclaimed Cemetery Dance Publications, Dark Screams: Volume One reaches across genres to take readers beyond the precipice of mortal toil and into the glimmering void of irreality and beyond.
WEEDS by Stephen King
When a meteorite lands on his property, Jordy Verrill envisions an easy payday. Unfortunately for Jordy, this is no ordinary rock—and the uncompromising force inside has found its first target.
THE PRICE YOU PAY by Kelley Armstrong
Never pay more than you owe. Sounds like easy advice to follow. But for Kara and her childhood friend Ingrid, some debts can never be repaid . . . especially those tendered in blood.
MAGIC EYES by Bill Pronzini
Edward James Tolliver has found a weary sort of asylum among the insane. He knows he’s not one of them—but how can he tell anyone about the invaders without sounding that way?
MURDER IN CHAINS by Simon Clark
Imagine awaking to find yourself in an underground vault, chained by the neck to a murderous lunatic, a grunting goliath who seems more animal than man. What would you do to save yourself?
THE WATCHED by Ramsey Campbell
Little Jimmy gets a glimpse of the cold truth when he finds out that it’s not always what you see that can get you into trouble; it’s who knows what you see.
Praise for Dark Screams: Volume One
“A wicked treat [featuring] some of the genre’s best . . . Dark Screams: Volume One is a strong start to what looks to be an outstanding series.”—Hellnotes
“A solid collection of quick reads, a nice selection of appetizers that represent the horror genre and many of its incarnations well.”—October Country
“These tales are well written, fun to read, and a great way to kill a winter afternoon. Recommended for fans of short-story collections and dark fiction!”—Horror After Dark
“If Volume One is any indication of quality, I’m all in for the rest of the series.”—Not Too Terrible
“The editors have set themselves a high bar to meet in future volumes. . . . It’s going to be a solid series.”—Adventures Fantastic
This short anthology includes five captivating tales of horror from great contemporary writers, including Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, and Ramsey Campbell. The tales are bound together by a theme of captivity in either a literal or metaphorical way. All of the stories including King's, about bodily invasion by aliens, and Clark's, about being chained to a giant madman seize upon the concept of freedom in haunting and eerie ways. Though previously published, these tales will keep listeners locked to their earphones, especially with reader Daniels's skillful narration. His deep voice grips listeners and demands their attention throughout the collection. He combines emphasis and timing for the maximum anxiety-inducing effects, while also managing to capture personalities of the different characters in each story. A Hydra e-book .
5 great stories, 5 great authors!
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of Cemetery Dance Publications have teamed up to edit Dark Screams for Hydra (sold through Random House). In this case, 5 authors’ stories were selected by Freeman & Chizmar, and then edited into a wonderful compilation. I love to read…anything! But my favorite genre is “horror”, “supernatural”, “occult”, sci-fy…whatever word you wish to use…to me, they all run together. I was pleased with the beginning story, “Weeds”, a VERY early short story by Stephen King. I read it many, many years ago and it was fun to re-visit Jordy Verrill, a lunkhead who has the usually good luck of having a meteorite land on his property. Of course, this is Stephen King, and Jordy is an idiot. Bad things happen to most idiots in King stories! While the story is actually kind of funny…I still shiver when reading the very gruesome things Jordy experiences.
The remaining 4 stories, all written by highly published authors, are new stories and many people interested in this collection will have likely as not, read Weeds (or seen the screen adaptation in the original Creepshow movie in which Stephen King himself, played the part of Jordy Verrill…and a perfect casting it was!) but may not be as familiar with some of these authors but they are good at their craft.
“The Price You Pay” by Kelly Armstrong is a great twisting story of how to get away from an old “friend” who is nothing but trouble. Some plans don’t work out the way they are intended.
“Magic Eyes” by Bill Pronzini is an awesomely written story that will forever be the benchmark I use to determine if I’ve gone completely nuts!
“Murder in Chains” by Simon Clark is something of an even more brutal version of the Hunger Games. Being a short story, he gets right to the brutality and you will flip your virtual pages and be finished before you know what hit you (did HE hit you?).
“The Watched” by Ramsey Campbell is the last story and it’s placed there for good reason…Freeman and Chizmar wanted to start you off with a potentially familiar but disturbing story and they wanted you to lay you e-reader down before bed and have trouble sleeping. This, in my opinion, is one of the scariest short stories I’ve ever read. Jimmy, a young boy deals with a (person, ghost, ghoul, all 3?) who seems to live or at least “hang out a great deal” in a bird hide along a canal across from his home. Of course, Jimmy has to walk past this hide quite often and being a kid, is extremely curious. The protagonist gets Jimmy involved in way more than the poor kid bargained for and what he deals with is truly frightening in a relatively nonviolent way which made my skin crawl and my feet come off the floor. Terrific writing by Campbell.
For the price of this e-book, you can’t go wrong. It’s an easy evening read (make sure you finish it just before you turn off the lights for a good (or not so good?) night’s sleep)!
BTW, I never leave 5 star reviews because so many people don’t read them. I myself typically read only 2, 3 or 4 star reviews but this is easily a 4+!!