Horror is such a broad term, it is a term that despite years of work from some of the best writers working today, one that carriers so many misconceptions. Horror is so much more than hormonal girls and angsty vampires. Horror is about heart, it's about emotions, it's about feelings, it is about man’s struggle to find his way in the world and understand the mysteries of life, love fear and death.
Horror has the ability to make the reader take a look themselves, it challenges us ponder on our place in the universe, and it challenges us on what makes us, us.
Daniel Mills' The Lord Came At Twilight, is a short story collection that takes the reader on a deeply emotional journey into the darkest regions of our souls.
The Lord Came At Twilight, almost feels like a book out of time, you can feel the ghosts of the past masters looking over the shoulder of Mills as he created this wonderful anthology. There are subtle and sometimes not so subtle influences of Poe, Lovecraft, and Blackwood permeating throughout this book. This is a haunting book that almost feels as though it should discovered in an old chest, such is the wonderful sense of time and place. Mills writing perfectly captures a proper sense of time and place, where the stories feel right. . If an author isn't able to get this sense of period and place correct it throws the reader out of the story. The Lord Came At Twilight is full of stories that transport you straight into the worlds in which they are set.
Many readers also believe that all stories should have nicely wrapped up resolutions, where the evil is vanquished, or they all live happily ever after. Don't read this book if this what you want from a story. Many of the stories here are open ended, some of them are perplexing and leave you with more questions than were answered, but they all have the perfect conclusion for their narrative. Mills has created a collection that manages to be challenging and yet accessible at the same time. His evocative writing style will take you in its grasp and lead you through some poignant tales.
The collection starts off with beautiful melancholia in the short story The Hollow. This is deeply moving story where the protagonists sense of loneliness and abandonment is handled with some beautiful writing, and contains one of the best closing paragraphs to a short story I have ever left. This is one of those stories that goes beyond mere storytelling it gets into the readers mind a deeply moving story that cannot help but stir the emotions of the reader.
"We live, we die, and still the land remembers"
It is always a gamble to start a collection with such a strong entry, as you set the benchmark by which all the other the stories have to reach. So it is a good thing that Daniel is up to the task. Not all of the stories here have the same emotional punch as The Hollow, however even when these stories don't pack the same emotional punch they do share a common parentage of fabulous writing and stunning world building.
Some of the stories take a wry look at the genre, in particular MS Found In A Chicago Hotel Room. Taking its cues from the classic The King In Yellow, this story takes us on a mind bending trip that peeks at the vastness of the cosmic world as our protagonist goes in search of the mysterious and alluring Camilla.
Dust From A dark Flower is one of the more standard stories here, a mysterious growth is extending its influence in the village of Falmouth, and it is up to the village's Doctor, Hosea Edwards to unravel the mystery surrounding it. Despite knowing the fate Edwards, Mills still manages to conjure up feelings of shock and despair as story closes. A creepy story that slowly builds up the levels of foreboding.
Other stand out stories in this collection included the title story The Lord Came At Midnight. Is another fantastic period piece. The story itself while directly related to Ligotti's The Mystics of Muelenberg, still strongly maintains Mills' wonderful narrative voice. This is another story that really gets into the reader's mind with its deep, dark narrative.
"And so it was that the Appointed Day came to Muelenberg, arriving in our city like a thief in the night - and then, having robbed us of all hope and contentment, did not linger, and in departing left no sign of itself, ..."
For sheer intense storytelling The Falling Dark, is probably the most intensive story in the whole collection, centered around one man's fascination with a girl, this story twists the readers mind into one overtightened spring, will his obsession over her lead him to nefarious acts, or will he find a way to salvation.
"The opening seethes and pulses, exuding the blankness of nightmare, the no-life for which he has always been fated"
This is one of those books that makes you want to go and read everything else the author has written. Full of hauntingly ethereal prose this is a book that traverses the spaces beyond the genre to deliver a book that will chill you while leaving you with a great sense of awe and wonder.
Dark Renaissance Books is very proud to announce the first book in its Victorian imprint: THE LORD CAME AT TWILIGHT by Daniel Mills. The front cover book is stamped in gold with a beautiful Victorian border with a medallion in the center. The end sheets for both the deluxe and signed and numbered edition sport full color art by Daniele Serra. The book is lavishly illustrated by M. Wayne Miller, and includes a full color frontis piece and every story has an illustration. The deluxe is leather, and signed by the artists Daniele Serra, M. Wayne Miller, and the author Daniel Mills. The deluxe edition contains two extra stories not found in the signed and numbered edition, and also includes a beautiful slip case to protect your leather bound edition. The signed and numbered edition has a different, but beautiful Victorian border and medallion stamped on its front cover, and the edition is signed by the author Daniel Mills. Both editions include an introduction by Simon Strantzas, and both editions are designed with a Victorian flair in mind. I also think the fiction in this collection is excellent and representative of classic horror fiction written in the past. Please take a look at the below blurbs. Dark Renaissance Books is very pleased to offer this excellent short story collection to collectors. I feel this book will sell out quickly, and I recommend you order now while they are available.
Watch for the next collection in the Victorian imprint PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: THE KEW Growths AND OTHER STORIES by William Meikle. This will be another beautifully designed book for your collection. Coming this May – June 2014!
I know them, these hills.
In the foothills of the Green Mountains, a child grows up in an abandoned village, haunted by memories of his absent parents. In a wayside tavern, a murderous innkeeper raises a young girl among the ghosts of his past victims. Elsewhere the village of Whistler’s Gore is swept up in the tumult of religious fervor, while in rural Falmouth, the souls of the buried dead fall prey to a fungal infestation.
This is New England as it was once envisioned by Hawthorne and Lovecraft, a twilit country of wild hills and barren farmland where madness and repression abound. The Lord Came at Twilight presents 14 stories of doubt and despair, haunter and haunted, the deranged and the devout.
Praise for Daniel Mills
“The Lord Came at Twilight is silk-smooth and as dark as the shaft of an off boarded-over mine. Mills takes us to that place and drops us in. He’s kind enough to flash the lamp light down upon us now and again, so we can glimpse the claw-marks on rock, the bones, the moving shadows…A terrifically affecting collection.” Laird Barron
“A collection of short stories by a Vermont writer with a very New England flavor. Most of them are small town horrors, although more in the vein of Shirley Jackson than Stephen King, although there’s a touch of both as well as a hint of Lovecraft. Themes include obsessive guilt, abandonment, bizarre imagery, religious mania, insanity, repression, and hidden secrets. The stories almost assemble themselves into a kind of tapestry like Winesburg, Ohio. “The Hollow,” “Dust from a Dark Flower,: “The Wayside Voices,” “The Falling Dark,” and the title story are all excellent. One of the better horror writers you probably have never heard of. This is a very fine collection and there are several excellent illustrations by M. Wayne Miller.” Don D’Amassa, author of Critical Mass
“The stories in Daniel Mills’s excellent collection have their roots in the grand tradition of the American Gothic that begins in Poe and Hawthorne and flows through such descendents as Chambers and Ligotti. Tales in the truest sense of the word, these narratives range through the styles and conventions of their predecessors, but in a way that is distinct from mere pastiche, however loving. Instead, these stories inhabit the modes of the past as a means to approaching a profound darkness, one physical and metaphysical. A pleasure to read, Daniel Mills’s fiction would draw approving nods from any of the austere presences in whose literary footsteps he is following.” John Langan, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies
“Reading the stories in this wonderful debut collection from Daniel Mills is like waking into an older, haunted America. The God of the Puritans holds sway, with terrible power and terrible beauty. The night is wondrous with spirits. Though these stories bear the influence of Hawthorne, Lovecraft, and Palliser, the numinous dread that fills them is his alone. Mills recalls to us America’s own Dark Wood, and it is lovely to behold.” Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters
“Elegant and subtle, Daniel Mills’ remarkable debut Revenants was a gift, and with The Lord Came at Twilight, he returns with a collection of graceful hauntings that bring the full range of his eerie and deeply unsettling literary powers to bear. You, lucky reader, are about to be taken on a journey with a true Lord of Twilight… I envy you.” Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., author of The Orphan Palace
“Daniel Mills is the Janus of supernatural fiction. His gaze is fixed on both the genre’s past masters and on realms never before explored. The tales in this book are haunting and are woven with a most eloquent darkness.” Richard Gavin, author of At Fear’s Altar
“Stunning … Otherworldly fiction from a promising new talent.” Booklist