Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
This is my first experience reading M.J. Pack, this being her debut and all. Sometimes you get lucky and find early work from a writer and it’s good, sometimes it’s not. Certain Dark Things was fantastic right from the first story in the collection. The first story Alive is filled to the max with emotion. It is about a man who is out chicked, his wife is out of his league, and one day she disappears in a crowd. The man is of course devastated, then the story turns a nice shade of dark before stabbing you in the back. Revenge only solves the problem temporarily and leaves you worse for the ware. M.J. doesn’t give you a chance to recover before her next story. The writing flows so well and the images it brings forth take you to the forgotten corners of your past. The Prom Queen is Dead is satisfying as hell and makes you wonder what happens when you’re gone. I loved the fast paced storytelling in this short and the way M.J. Pack isn’t afraid to say what she thinks.
The storytelling is emotional, the subjects are dark and the characters latch on and don’t let go. I found that these stories remained me of the dark stories I fell in love with when I read Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. Yes I know, that is a tall comparison but these short stories are that good, in fact they are great. M.J. Pack mentions the fact that the stories have sharp teeth, she couldn’t be more correct. The sharp teeth are the kind that are found in remembering your own dark past filled with the things we all try to forget. Childhoods that were painful and long forgotten, friendships we can’t remember why no longer exist. No subject or topic is off-limits in this collection, be warned and enjoy the ride. M.J. Pack takes on subjects with no hesitation and will make you squirm. Stories of office mass shootings, rape and murder, and some good old-fashioned ghost stories.
M.J. Pack filled Certain Dark Things with something for everyone and did it with exacting skill. The stories and fast paced and gave me the chills. These are the kind of stories the reader can relate to and as dark as they were I couldn’t do anything but love them. It’s books like this that make it obviously apparent that this is an author to follow. M.J. Pack has written one great collection for her debut and I plan on reading her work again as soon as it’s available. This is a very easy book to tell others about and that it’s something more than worth your time.
Length: 222 Pages
Publisher: Thought Catalog Books
Release date: October 23, 2015
What grotesque surprises will you find in the secret place between the shadow and the soul?
In her debut short story collection, M.J. Pack offers up a new breed of terror sure to delight any true horror fan. Don’t miss out on tales of telepathic twins, a campfire ghost story gone terribly wrong, pills that induce life-threatening nightmares, and the disturbing new sideshow at Coney Island: Lady Alligator. Take a haunting trip down infamous Bubblehead Road and follow Danny around the country as he’s pursued by unseen (and unrelenting) creatures.
Prepare yourself, you’re about to indulge in some certain dark things…
M.J. Pack, biography
M.J. Pack is a horror fiction writer for Creepy Catalog. She has been featured in multiple anthologies, including “The Grotesquerie”, “AMOK!”, “Ghosts: An Anthology Of Horror From Beyond”, and “Beyond The Nightlight”. Several of her pieces have also been featured on the award-winning NoSleep Podcast.
Her debut short story collection, “Certain Dark Things”, was published in October of 2015. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, her dog, and her dreams of becoming the next Stephen King.