Short stories, I just can't seem to escape from them these days. Hot on the heels of yesterdays review comes this one for Nicholas Vince's Other Peoples Darkness. Which is kind of fitting as I read both books at the same time, that's the curse of getting two books that are so good at the same time. You give each book a quick five minutes to get a feel for it then suddenly find yourself hooked on each one.
Other People's Darkness is one of those books that surreptitiously gets its hooks into your brain and refuse to let go until you turn the final page......
Some horror books are what I like to call blockbusters, you know the sort they are the ones that, like the big summer film are fun to read but ultimately lean on substance. Don't get me wrong I love those books, but every now and then I like to immerse myself in a book that has a little bit more substance. Other People's Darkness is one of these books.
There are a number of common these to the stories in this wonderful intimate collection of horror. Love, relationships, passion and jealousy all intertwine their way through this collection to produce a tapestry of terror that will shock you, bring you to tears and linger in your subconscious for days.
My three personal favourites are
The dark foreboding terror of the title story, where the aftermath of a tragic accident involving two schoolboy friends and the following breakdown of relationships due to jealousy and anger. Sees the story's narrator left with the ability to perceive Other People's Darkness leads him on a haunting quest for answers. The world hasn't ended yet but it's coming. This is probably my favourite story in the collection. The dynamics between the three main leads is electrifying. The love and sense of helplessness that Scott feels towards his girlfriend and his best friend is almost tangible, and the tragedies that follow are both shocking and heartbreaking. This is intimate horror at it's best. A deeply personal story caught up in the oncoming apocalypse.
Having Once Turned Around is another story filled with passion and emotional depth. What begins as a simple tale of murder and passion, takes a right turn into weirdness halfway through. Torn between a loveless marriage and the the love of his life Gregory takes a secret trip to the country with his lover Alex. But after a near fatal accident on a deserted country road and dark mysterious house and an even darker and mysterious occupant will leave Gregory with nothing but the taste of jam doughnuts.
Where this story excels is in its portrayal of Gregory, when we are first introduced to him we feel sorry for this sadsack of a man. Yes he wants to kill his wife, but we can't help but feel sorry for him. Trapped in a marriage with this harpy of a woman, who even has a tracking app installed on his phone so she knows where he is at all times. However as the story unwinds sympathy is slowly replaced anger, this man is a coward, unable to face up to his life and what he faces during the stories right turn into madness. And then once again at the stories conclusion we feel nothing but pity, at what he has lost. And unless you have a heart of stone you'll shed a tear at this story of lost love.
This Too Solid Flesh is a fantastic tale of murderous urges, ghosts, and haunted food. Caroline is Tanya's best friend and room mate, only problem is Caroline hates Tanya, so much so that she wants to kill her. They are polar opposites, Caroline the frumpy one who no one really notices, and Tanya the gregarious career power woman, who is not afraid to use and abuse anyone to get what she wants. Hell let's cut to the chase she is a bitch.
So when Caroline becomes haunted by the ghost of Tanya's recently departed boyfriend who wants her to complete her plans to kill Tanya.
It's not often that I come across a ghost story that takes me by surprise. This Too Solid Flesh is a wonderfully unique take on the tried and tested ghost story. Dark twisted with a killer ending this one one very special story.
Other People's Darkness is an exquisite look into the dark heart of mankind's deepest emotions. Powerful, and moving this is perfect for those looking for something more than your run of the mill horror story.
Nicholas Vince played The Chatterer Cenobite in Clive Barker's Hellraiser and Hellraiser II: Hellbound. He also played Kinski in Barker's Nightbreed, which has found a new audience through 'The Cabal Cut'; a restoration version much closer to Barker's original vision for the film.
After working on the movies, Nicholas contributed stories to the Hellraiser and Nightbreed comics published by Marvel. He wrote the Marvel UK comic ‘Warheads’. He was Chairman of the Comics Creators Guild from 1992-93.
He contributed short stories and articles to ‘Fear’ and ‘Skeleton Crew’ magazines, and for the latter created the series of interviews ‘The Luggage in the Crypt’. This featured interviews with Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale and Clive Barker.
In 2012, after working in the IT industry for sixteen years, he returned to writing with the publication of his short story anthology, 'What Monsters Do'. He dramatised two of the stories, Tunes From the Music Hall and Green Eyes, for the London Horror Festival 2013. These gained two 4/5 star reviews.
Current projects include:
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