Never judge a book by its cover, or in the case of MIDNIGHT WALK, by its table of contents.
I admit to having a little trepidation, sitting down at my desk, as I cracked open the anthology for the first time and saw the names listed therein. With the exception of two authors, everyone else was completely foreign to me (which is more of an indictment on me and my lack of branching out than anything else). That being said, I quickly put aside my fears and dug right in, not wanting to get caught up in “name recognition” and instead wanting to enjoy the stories.
And how did it go?
Well…which story do I rave about first?
The book hits the ground running with Armand Constantine’s “Monsoon Devil”, a twisted little tale about a malignant holy man who grants wishes prior to the monsoon season in India. Even though people who seek his help get their wishes granted, they are ultimately attained through rather unorthodox means…
“The Measure of a Man” by George Willis tells the story of a Zulu clan and their battle with a horde of zombies that crash on their island. This may sound like a tired idea (do we really need more zombies?), but “The Measure of a Man” was actually my favorite piece in the book. While the attackers were zombies in this case, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things; the assault could have come from any foreign entity. What is important is the overarching theme of a young Zulu’s coming-of-age during the battle, and all the responsibilities that come with it. The story was very well-written and is a fine example of this type of story.
“Late Check-In” by Vince Churchill is about a traveler who checks in to a hotel that doesn’t appear to be what it seems. This is essentially a “haunted house” tale, but it has some genuinely frightening imagery -- reminiscent of scenes from Simon Clark’s VAMPYRRHIC -- that is quite effective.
Lisa Majewski’s “Inside Out” deals with a vain and arrogant model who manipulates people to get what he wants. He routinely strings women along, using them for sex and then abruptly dumping them. Unfortunately for him, his newly spurned girlfriend has something in store for him. Laced with a bit of dark humor, this one was a lot of fun.
Lisa Morton’s “Diana and the Goong-Si” centers around a British woman who is trying to find her missing husband, and the rumored creature who may have killed him. Set in 19th century Britain and China, the tale weaves history with horror, and will leave you with a smile on your face by the time it’s all over. Also, the story leaves itself open to a sequel, one I’m hoping we’ll see sometime down the road (if it isn’t out there already).
“The Svancara Supper Society” by Joey O’Bryan covers the touchy topic of cloning, describing a future in which scientists are attempting to find ways to produce more meat for the populace. While some parts of the ending are pretty transparent from the get-go, it is no less entertaining as a result. Humorous, repulsive, intelligent, horrific – this one has a little bit of everything, and was the perfect way to close out the anthology.
And while I didn’t mention all of the stories, the rest are pretty solid as well. I had a great time with MIDNIGHT WALK. Not only that, I’m now armed with a bevy of new writers to track down and read. So cozy up on the couch, lean against a stand up desk or recline in your favorite chair and have a very enjoyable and memorable read.
The book receives my hearty recommendation, receiving an 8 out of 10.
MIDNIGHT WALK is available from Darkhouse Publishing as a trade paperback for $15.95 or a Kindle download for $1.99.