Edited by Ross Warren
Published by Dark Minds Press, 2011
It’s always heartening to see a new publisher enter the horror arena. Dark Minds is the first publication from Dark Minds Press and if this is a sign of future quality then we should expect great things from this publisher in the future.
This anthology features 12 stories from a variety of dark fiction authors some well known, some not. We start off in impressive style with Gary McMahon’s The Ghost Of Rain, a poignant and bleak tale which, as with much of McMahon’s work, focuses very much on emotion and character. It’s a strong start but perhaps not quite as powerful as some of Gary McMahon’s recent masterpieces.
Other highlights for me include editor Ross Warren’s own tale, The Rat Catchers Apprentice. This trip into Victorian London is brimming with nasty historical detail and thoroughly enjoyable. The Anchorite’s Daughter by Shaun Hammel defies classification but if you wish, file it under very good, it’s a fine, dark trip into the occult. There’s deep emotion in stories by Stephen Bacon, The House Of Constant Shadow and Last Laugh by Colin Hersh.
The two standouts for me were The World Shall Know by Jason Whittle which combines fantasy and dark horror in a thought provoking piece which examines religion and its power and Bury The Truth by Carole Johnstone which is a very dark, deeply emotional piece looking at death, suicide and what lies beyond.
An excellent first collection, there are a few typos and minor layout issues but all of these are irrelevant when placed against the powerful collection of stories. Gary McMahon’s name appears on the front, back and spine and this could possibly give the impression that the other stories are only making up the numbers but this is not the case. McMahon’s story is good but several others match and a couple also surpass it in my mind and that only demonstrates the quality of the writing on offer.
I look forward to seeing more from Dark Minds Press in the future and hope they can maintain the quality of this excellent collection.
Rating 4 out of 5