Monday, 26 October 2015

Book review - Dark Hallows - Mark Parker

Any fan of horror literature will probably agree that Halloween is an exciting time of year. There are always going to be a number of special releases for readers to feast their eyes upon. Why not opt for a fantastic short story collection with a Halloween theme?This new collection is one  for readers who love short, chilling stories.

The book is a collection of ten dark tales from authors that are well established, and more than capable of giving the reader a fright. If, like me, you enjoy Halloween this is the perfect book for you to help you get in that mood.

I would really recommend this book to anyone. It has everything that a good collection needs; Dark twists, macabre characters and scares galore. The fantastic cover immediately grabs your attention and each story is presented with a unique image relating to the tale and a great foreword by Mark.

The stories;

Mister Parker – A story about Benjamin Parker. A man that lived a simple life; he has no wife, no kids, he is a teacher at the local school. He has two things in life that he loves – books and astronomy. He absolutely hates Halloween because of a previous incident involving his father. He arrives home on Halloween evening feeling unwell, he goes to bed with a book. He is awoken when someone rings the doorbell. Is it the local juvenile’s playing pranks, or something more sinister?

The Maze – Four friends visit a local attraction, a corn maze run by the mysterious Miss Mackenzie. Follow Dozelle, Adam, Sean and Ashley in their journey through the corn. Ancient Celts believed that the evil ‘Sidh’ return for sacrifice during Samhain. This is an incredibly tense, creepy story.

Monster Night – Jonathan’s mom takes pride every year in making his Halloween costume. His mom’s friend tells him the story of the ‘pumpkin eater.’ Not a man that likes to consume pumpkins, somewhat the opposite.

Johnny Halloween – The sheriff of a small town comes across a convenience store where the clerk has been murdered. Two eye witnesses claim that they saw the killer – a man in a mask. He begins to recall his first shooting as the story unfolds with a fantastic twist.

All Souls Day – A unique, dark tale about the town of Orangefield as viewed from the perspective of a hawk. Three lives must be given in a tribute to the dark one every Halloween, taken by the hawk. But what happens when someone kills the bird?

Starting Early – The story of a woman - Miss Maggie. A woman who is preparing for Halloween. She must get the preparation done early along with the help of her little friend Cecily and her trusty iphone. Upon returning home one night she thinks that she has been burgled. Watch for another superb twist.

Freight Train Tommy – A horror story set in rural Austrialia about a boy – Luke. Luke visits the local librarian after being bullied at school by Sammy because of his super hero costume. She gives him a blank page from a book to read when, claiming that he will know when it is the right time to read. As the freight train thunders into town, so does Tommy. A very creepy little number.

There Are Corners In The World Where Lost Things Gather – Possibly my favourite story of the collection. A story about two brothers growing through life together, gaining the interest of girls and experimenting with things that they shouldn’t be. Its Halloween, they decide begrudgingly to try trick or treating. Bored, they decide to up the ante by heading to the Draeger House. A fantastic story - Imagine Stand By Me, mixed with The Frighteners.

The Under the Tutelage of Mr Trueheart – Ten year old schoolboy Warren Enck strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly gentleman; Mr Trueheart, after helping him out through the cubs. Mr Trueheart has a gift. A gift to see people as they really are.  Its Halloween, Warren is on the way to the old man’s house, his face painted in white greasepaint. Between themselves they are on a mission to save the world, Mr Truehart is to entrust Warren with two items of great value.

The Darkest Night Of The Year – Roeselyn Saunders awakes early one morning, its nearly dawn. She shudders as she remembers that tomorrow is Halloween. She hates what her Mother refers to as ‘the dark holiday’ following a fright that she suffered at a young age - the result of a cruel prank. She wakes the next morning feeling shaky from a bad dream. She decides to head out and run some chores. She looks forward to getting home and locking herself away in her bedroom with a good book. When she gets back she has a shock when she finds a makeshift grave, complete with headstone in for front garden. Shaking with dread she runs to bed, a few hours later she hears a knock at her door. When she looks out of her window to investigate, what she sees makes her pass out with fear.

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