CORPUS PRESS is a publisher that I've grown to love. Everything I've read from them looms large over the competition and IN DARKNESS, DELIGHT is no exception! Featuring authors like Josh Malerman, Patrick Lacey, John McNee and William Meikle, among others, how could this volume be anything but excellent?
I can't cover all the stories here or my review would be as long as the book itself because almost every tale in this book is good. What I'm going to focus on here are the ones that I found to be truly exceptional:
THE PIPE by Israel Finn: I had no idea where this story was going and when it got there, I felt...stunned ...just...stunned. I love short stories with a punch and this is definitely one of them! (His volume of short stories, DREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS, is now heading towards the top of my "to be read" list.
LETTERS by Michael Bray: Here's another tale it's hard for me to describe without giving anything away. It twists and turns into itself before it twists again. My emotions were so confused I felt absolutely wrung out by the time I finished. LOVED it!
ONE MILLION HITS by Evans Light: A group of teenagers on Halloween night concoct a scam to bring in as much candy as possible, and then they concoct another scam to get a million hits on their site. You already know things will go wrong, but just how wrong was a surprise to me.
VIOLET by Jason Parent: It's always hard to lose someone, and sometimes I think it's even worse when you lose a dear pet. After all, you're with your pets almost every single day of your life. Sometimes, you just don't want to listen to platitudes or the attempts of others to comfort you. Or worse yet, when they try to tell you what to do. I felt this one deep in my heart.
THE DOGSHIT GAUNTLET by John McNee. I chuckled at the title, I admit it. But the actual story was scary and sad, with the two being all wrapped up and twisted around each other. I was so happy for Paul...and then I felt so sorry for him. Read it and you'll see.
TATTOOED ALL IN BLACK by Mark Matthews: You might recognize the title from the Pearl Jam song BLACK. It's an excellent tune and this tale is excellent too. I've yet to read anything from Mark Matthews that I haven't enjoyed. At this point, I doubt I ever will. (P.S. Prepare to have your heart ripped out and then you can "be a sun in someone else's sky.")
REFUGE by William Meikle I came away from this story feeling that it was about forgiveness. I'm not sure my conclusion is correct, but I do know that holding a grudge can kill you. Let love rule instead.
PULSATE by Espe Kvlt: I've already cursed in this review with John McNee's title, so...all I can say about this one is: WTF? I'm not sure exactly what was going on, but I know I liked it! (I've done a search for this author on Goodreads and don't see anything else by them. That needs to change!)
As a long, long, long-time reader of horror anthologies, I like to think that I'm a good judge of them. There certainly are a lot more of them in this age of digital publishing and it can be difficult weeding out the good from the bad. I hope you feel that you can trust me when I say this will surely make my top ten of the year list, so DON'T MISS OUT!
*I received a paperback ARC from the editors, Evan Light and Andrew Lennon, in exchange for review consideration. I considered it, said HELL YEAH, and read the book!*
**Further, I have been friends online with a few of these authors for years and I think I should let you know that. Our relationships have not affected the honesty of this review.**