I’ve read a handful of shorts by Dona Fox including Pearly’s Smokin’ Cotton Candy Heart from Floppy Shoes Apocalypse and Shypoke’s Tears from Ghosts: Revenge. These short stories left me wanting more and this led me to choose Dark Tales from the Den for the Spotlighting Women in Horror feature on The Scary Reviews. I needed to have more of her words invade my head and take me on a longer horror ride than I had been on before, I knew this was the book to fill this need and it was a great collection of short stories.
Dark Tales from the Den by Dona Fox is filled with twisted short stories and the first one, Smoky Martini, had my head spinning. What better way to start a book than to leave me shaking my head wondering what is real and what isn’t while blurring the lines of reality. The stories continue to be dark in ‘Leaf Craft’ and ‘The Bones of the Last Bridesmaid’, both stories revolve around children who have issues with their parents. I don’t read very many stories with a child as the main character but when they do I know it will be very creepy and twist my stomach into knots. Children are supposed to be sweet and innocent, but you can forget this notion and enjoy where Dona Fox takes us with these tales. Evil children, creepy dolls, and an evil stepmother are all waiting for you.
Dona pulls you through the horrors in Tales from the Dark with eerie descriptions of minds gone wrong, characters who are all haunted and unsure of what is real. The writing is to the point and not a word is out-of-place, every sentence moves you toward an ending with a turn that takes you by surprise and ‘Doubly Dead’ is this kind of story. If you’re like me and find dolls creepy then you’ll love ‘Crawl Space’. The ramblings of a mad women and her doll were enough to give me goose bumps on my arms… dolls, why is it always dolls with their constant staring and their blank faces. I’ve never cared for them as I’m sure many others don’t and Dona Fox uses this to add to her advantage.
One of my favorite stories ‘Scent of Dogwood’ takes us from the nightmares of childhood right to the horrors of adulthood, and all of the years aren’t enough to out run the nightmares in this tale. From one tale to the next Dona tells us stories filled with dark twists, death, and hints of sadness. ‘The Blackberry Wine’, ‘Shypoke’s Tears’ and ‘The Serial Magician’ fill us with a multitude of emotions and are wonderfully put together. Many of the stories in Dark Tales from the Den have a common thread, children, and in many of her stories she writes from their view-point and transports you back to your own childhood. Maybe this was her childhood, one of a vivid imagination as most children have, one of escape or endless days spent wondering all about the ‘what if’s’ of life. This is what makes great stories and a book that was a very enjoyable read and a great kick off to the Women in Horror feature. Well done to the wonderful Dona Fox and the dark places of her mind that brings us these fine short stories.
Length: 177 Pages
Publisher: James Ward Kirk Publishing
Release date: April 11, 2015
Blurb: Find within seventeen unsettling tales that will ooze under your skin, cozy little tales that twist slowly strange and violent-delightfully dark. There’s a mean doll, a box full of bones-and newspaper clippings, a bank robbery gone horribly wrong-for almost everyone. Daddy’s last train, and the train Uncle Frank catches again and again, a haunted carousel that sparks up the night, an alien abduction, a meeting with the evil Lilith. Foxes. A girl you wouldn’t want to meet in a bar-if you value your ink, a drug of the future with certain finality about it. Many graves dug, barns to die in, and ghosts and more ghosts. Seep into this book.
Dona Fox, Biography-
Bio: Dona Fox has published stories and poems in Eldritch Tales, Haunts, The Nightmare Express, Terror Time Again, Thin Ice, Cemetery Dance (Issue #1), Beyond, and New Blood magazines. You can also find many of her stories in James Ward Kirk, J Ellington Ashton Press, and Horrified Press anthologies. She has also released a first single author collection of short stories, Dark Tales from the Den.
Connect with Dona Fox at the following links