Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror Review

Dark StarsGenre: Horror
Length: 368 Pages
Publisher: Nightfire
Release date: March 22, 2022
Synopsis: Within these pages you’ll find tales of dead men walking, an insidious secret summer fling, an island harboring unspeakable power, and a dark hallway that beckons. You’ll encounter terrible monsters―both human and supernatural―and be forever changed. The stories in Dark Stars run the gamut from traditional to modern, from dark fantasy to neo-noir, from explorations of beloved horror tropes to the unknown―possibly unknowable―threats.

It’s all in here because it’s all out there, now, in horror.

Dark Stars features all-new stories from the following award-winning authors and up-and-coming voices: Chesya Burke, Ramsey Campbell, Gemma Files, Stephen Graham Jones, Alma Katsu, Caroline Kepnes, John Langan, Livia Llewellyn, Josh Malerman, Usman T. Malik, Priya Sharma, and John F.D. Taff.

Created as an homage to the 1980 classic horror anthology Dark Forces, edited by Kirby McCauley, Dark Stars also features an introduction by Josh Malerman and an afterword from original contributor Ramsey Campbell a poignant finale to this bone-chilling collection.

Link to purchase Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review

This collection truly has something for everyone. I’ve been a horror fan for more than forty years, and a reviewer of the genre for going on ten. Dark Stars has several stories birthed from the corners of the genre I have yet to fully understand. The genre has changed significantly since I first fell in love with it. All the chest tightening, anxiety inducing moments, grab your seat scenes and everything else horror fans love is present, plus several stories set in newly emerging sub genres. The horror genre has been stretched, widened, and morphed out of new perspectives giving Dark Stars a larger feel. With a dozen stories to cover, I’ve decide to touch on a few that really left an impression on me.

When I see John F.D. Taff in a TOC or in any way connected to a book, I’m all in. The King of Pain brings it in this collection, as he consistently has for me since I discovered his short story collection, Little Deaths. (my review is here) His story, Swim in the Blood of a Curious Dream, hit me square in the feels. It’s a tightly written story that leaves you filled with uncertainty and anxiety in the small space of that rest stop.

Another heavy hitter for me in Dark Stars was from Josh Malerman, another author I’ve become a fan of over the past three years or so. Mrs. Addison’s Nest was a mind bending tale. One page into the story and I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew it was worth reading to find out. His quartet of characters made for great story telling from multiple views. Josh Malerman does what he does so well in his stories, quickly creating a world and tipping it off it’s axis.

Last, but certainly not least for me was the story, All the Things He Called Memories, by Stephen Graham Jones. This was so tightly done it was claustrophobic. It was creepy and it had me looking over my shoulder hoping not to see what might be. I dug the way he put the reader in the story. I could feel the tension rolling off the protagonist while living in the pandemic, and his day to day life in a small apartment.

I can’t say enough about the quality of writing in Dark Stars. This is a must read for anyone needing a different take on the horror genre.


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