When the Night Comes Down: Sixteen Tales of Darkness Descending

Edited by Bill Breedlove

Dark Arts Books

ISBN: 978-0-9779686-5-7

2010; $19.95

After I slid Dark Arts Books sixth trade paperback collection out of a manila envelope and saw those four names all neatly stacked under the title, “When the Night Comes Down,” and I peeked inside to find that ten of the sixteen titles were first publications, I sat down and began to read the first story almost immediately. I was anxious to see if these four authors had delivered like their past works promised they would.

British Author Joseph D’Lacey opens the collection with five tales that display his wide range of imagination and storytelling skill. In “The Unwrapping of Alastair Perry” he explores the notion that inside each unsatisfied man lurks a woman with desires, and an insect with needs. “Etoile’s Tree,” in both style and idea, reeks of Bradbury. And the stories “Introscopy” and “The Quiet Ones” both show the extremes to which he believes that a government can and will go to remain in control over its people when it feels threatened. My favorite part of these D’Lacey tales, other than the fact that no matter how bizarre they become he has an uncanny way of making them read like undeniable fact, is the dark undertones in many of them that left me thinking long after I’d finished reading.

Next Bev Vincent, renowned for his non-fiction guides to the works of Stephen King, tells four tales with a straightforward style that pulls readers immediately into his world. In two of his new stories, “Silvery Moon” and “Knock’em Dead,” he takes the clichéd topics of werewolves and struggling writers, respectively, and adds a twist here and turn there that makes them new no matter how many similar stories you’ve read. “Something In Store” was my favorite of the four because it is everything I like in a short story wrapped into one: easy to read, whimsical, fantastical, dark, erotic, and just the perfect amount of vague. Vincent definitely knows how to keep you on edge, excited, eager, and wanting more.

For those of you who haven’t read Robert. E. Weinberg, Google him and you’ll find that you literally have years of reading to catch up on. I don’t have the time or space to tell you even a fraction of his achievements so I’ll get to these stories. In the only new tale, “The One Answer That Really Matters,” Weinberg sends his most popular protagonist, Sid Taine (a psychic detective), on a search to answer a mythical question that every human should ask or has asked themselves at one time or another. I can’t tell you what the question is, you’ll have to read the story to find out. The two reprints, “Elevator Girl” (the first story I read of his and was glad to see in print again) and “Maze,” both reminded me of his honed ability to deliver memorable characters using witty, engaging, real dialogue. If you’re familiar with him and like his work, you won’t be disappointed. If not, welcome to the club.

I had read three of Nate Kenyon’s books but never his short stories until these four. In these he, as in his books, shows his ability to open up a reader’s senses with his descriptions so that you really feel surrounded by the story rather than watching it from the outside. In “Gravedigger” he puts his own gritty spin on how to handle (or not handle) a zombie. “Breeding Demons” explores the dark heart of an artist and the possibilities and ramifications that can arise when that darkness is truly believed in and unleashed. “One With the Music” was my favorite of the four because with this one Kenyon showed his diversity by stepping away from the grotesque horror story and using a more subtle, quiet style that made my inner demon smile. Over all, and especially with his final tale about a distraught, deranged detective, “The Buzz of a Thousand Wings,” reading Kenyon’s short stuff was like riding a roller coaster that blasts off like a rocket and ends with a sudden jerk.

Dark Arts Books claims to celebrate both the power of the imagination and the endless variations of what truly constitutes a horror story with their titles, and this latest collection proves them true on both accounts. I highly encourage anyone who wants to travel into a diverse realm of darkness where you can be both pleasantly fascinated and disturbed on the same page to get your hands on a copy of this book.

Copies can be purchased at various stores as well as direct at http://www.darkartsbooks.com

– Reviewed by Jeremy Hepler

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~ by darkdiscoveries on April 7, 2010.

5 Responses to “When the Night Comes Down: Sixteen Tales of Darkness Descending”

  1. […] there was the one at Monster Librarian. Today we were written up by Famous Monsters of Filmland and Dark Discoveries. FMoF liked my story “Purgatory Noir” and the DD previewer dug “Something in […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bev Vincent. Bev Vincent said: Dark Discoveries reviews When the Night Comes Down: Vincent…knows how to keep you on edge, excited, eager. http://tinyurl.com/ybffolw […]

  3. No. But now i will. Thanks for that.

  4. Message for Jeremy Hepler – are you aware that Nick Pacione printed one of your stories in Ethereal Gazette issue 10? several writers in that issue were completely unaware they had been printed. I’m wondering if you were one of them.

  5. […] Read the full review at http://www.darkdiscoveriesreviews.wordpress.com. […]

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