Book Review: Darkest Hours

Mike Thorn's Darkest Hours is a diverse collection of stories, that, at its best reminds me of Graham Masterton, less in style, more in terms of subject matter and gore. Some of the stories (for instance collection opener, "Hair") were a little stomach churning for my taste, but Thorn is a talented writer even when going for the gross-out.

Animal lovers like myself might want to skip "Fear and Grace" and "Satanic Panic" (although the latter has a standout ending). I also found the cruelty to the creature, although it really wasn't by strict definition an animal, in "A New Kind of Drug" hard to take.

Many of the stories in this collection concern the topics of academia (with academics being alternately portrayed as buffoonish or somewhat sinister) and drinking/drunkenness; the two are most amusingly combined in the clever "Speaking of Ghosts."

"Long Man," concerning the titular creature that haunts children's mirrors, was probably my personal favorite, although the collection's second story, "Mictian Diabolus" with its teenager skinning serial killer and Lovecraftian monster, was a close second.

I know Thorn just came out with a novel, Shelter for the Damned, and I will definitely be checking that out, as well as any future collections he may publish. He's got talent, and Darkest Hours was an excellent, entertaining introduction to his work.

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