Dark Screams: Volume 1
ebook, 98 pages
Cemetery Dance Publications
Brian Freeman's horror short-story collection contains five short stories, written by Stephen King, Kelly Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell. This is to be the first of several, and if this is the case, he's off to a strong start.
This book was incredibly short - less than 100 pages - and was a very quick read. I easily clocked less than an hour of reading time with this one. The Stephen King story "Weeds" (also known as "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill") was one he wrote in the 70s and was featured in the second Creepshow film. It tells the tale of Jordy, a farmer who believes the meteor that lands in his backyard will bring him some fast cash, but sadly causes him more trouble than he anticipates. It was an almost humorous story, as Jordy continues to make things worse for himself until the sad end.
Most of the stories were good, but I have to confess that I believed the story by King to be the best (no surprise to me there). I was actually disappointed that Bill Pronzini's story, Magic Eyes, was a short story. After reading it, I wished it had been a whole novel, it was so enjoyable. The fourth story, Murder in Chains, felt as though it were a scene from the middle of a story and was a little too scattered in terms of plot for my liking, though it was more action-packed than the others. The fifth story, The Watched, was my least favorite. It had a good premise, but the execution just wasn't there.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to fans of the genre, people who enjoy short story collections, or anyone interested in giving these authors a try for the first time without the commitment of reading a novel.
(I received a copy of this book from Cemetery Dance Publications, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)