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Darkest Hours

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  59 reviews
"In these sharply compelling stories Mike Thorn intertwines the bizarre and the quotidian to form seamless chronicles of personal disaster. The protagonist may not know the precise nature of the catastrophe heading his way, but you get the feeling he's been anticipating something bad—and inexorable—for a long time. This rueful wisdom, a product of youthful disappointment a ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published November 21st 2017 by Unnerving
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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On top of having this super cool cover, within these pages I discovered some of the best short, dark fiction I've read in a long while! Let's talk about it, shall we?

When I was young and couldn't afford bookstores, I often went to the library. (I still do, actually, because I love them, not because I have to.) I developed a love of horror back then, but our library's collection consisted of about two shelves. Once I read those, I started reading all of their anthologies and collections, in the
Janie C.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mike Thorn's debut collection impressed me. The author has the ability to summon dread from the physical realm and from psychological and otherworldly sources. This is clever work that runs the gamut from body horror to a slimy green blob that ingests a scholar and his books, coaxing the man to explain the written material. The stories are indeed dark, but not without hints of humor and irony. Many of the circumstances induce an inescapable feeling of helplessness, and there are several instance ...more
Leo Robertson
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dark, funny, entertaining, horrifying, clever, this book announces the arrival of a new frustratingly exceptional talent to the dark fiction scene ;) SO BUY
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Haunting, haunting, haunting, and good God, I don't know why this trauma belongs to me.

There's something that many lovers of horror literature have come to accept, which is the fact that a lot of horror authors aren't looking to promote any sort of deeper message or morals—they're simply putting out a spooky story and hoping it sticks, and there's nothing wrong with that. Every now and then, though, you find a horror author who can disarm and unsettle you while telling these incredibly mean
Sadie Hartmann
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Mike Thorn for sending this collection to me in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Mindi for the buddy read! Even though she blew through it like overnight or something and we only talked about the first story, Ha!

That first story!! Whoa! What a way to start a collection. These short stories show the author's incredible range and versatility. Some of these stories will give you the heebie-jeebies, some will make you cringe, others are slow and methodical-psychological; still o
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy Canadian Horror, Batman! First I read A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau, and now I've discovered Mike Thorn. Where have all these fantastic Canadian writers been hiding? I'm hooked.

This collection! My bestie Sadie and I have been buddy reading this one together and we both are so into it. Get ready for me to gush, because this collection is gory, gross-out, scary fun! I honestly don't think there is a single dud in the entire bunch, and that makes me so giddy. I love strong collections like
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
”Screaming doesn’t help. Whether you’re a young child yowling for candy or you’re among the hordes of slaughterhouse cattle swimming in their shit, whether you’re one of the uncountable many awaiting the machetes of genocide, or you’re chained up in the basement of a killer, it’s always the same. Stars will collapse and new lights will prick through the sky, and screaming will not help.”

OK, Mike Thorn has renewed my faith in the art of the short story. Not since reading Ray Bradbury’s collection
Cameron Chaney
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
A big thanks to the author for sending me this collection in exchange for an honest review! Full video review to come...

Anthologies and short story collections have always been my favorite thing to read, especially when those books have a theme, some kind of common thread that needles the stories together. That's what I did with my own book and that's what Mike Thorn does with his. Darkest Hours is the debut from Mike Thorn, containing sixteen weird, wild tales of horror and the supernatural. Wh
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
"You invited horror into your life...Now it's your chance to really embrace it."

Darkest Hours is an amazing collection. There are stories that are spooky, funny, mysterious, absolutely disgusting, and so much more. I truly enjoyed reading this collection.

Darkest Hours opens with a story called Hair, and Mike Thorn kicks you in the face with an introduction to the disturbing shit that is about to come. It was a bold choice to put as the first one, and it totally worked.

My top 5 stories were Mic
Sci-Fi & Scary
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I rarely do short story collections, but Unnerving approached me about one they were getting ready to publish soon, and it looked just interesting enough that I decided to give it a try. (To be honest, I was also counting on the fact that I could foist it off on my short-story loving co-host if it failed to thrill me. ) Happily, the stories in Darkest Hours kept me engaged the majority of the time.

The writing style is consistent, actually overly consistent at times as certain phrases were used a
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
This was a great short story collection. There was a lot of variety in the kinds of short stories and types of horror that are explored. When it comes to favorites, there is no way I couldn't mention the story that opens up the collection, Hair. Let me just say, you'd be wise not to read that story while eating. Some other stories that I adored were: Mictian Diabolus, Fear and Grace, Satanic Panic, Fusion and Remembering Absence. I honestly didn't think there was a "dud" story in the collection. ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fantastic short story collection! It was dark, disturbing, creepy, psychological...honestly it was great, and has something for everyone! I look forward to seeing what Mike Thorn writes next!
Prepare for the dark, the horrific and the purely bizarre before you enter the twisted world of Mike Thorn’s short story collection, DARKEST HOURS. Think you cannot be shocked, want to gag or cringe? Think again, because you are about to read something far different than ever before!

Mike Thorn doesn’t flinch at creating horror of epic proportions, or of grabbing his readers by the throat with his words. Dark, unique and filled with the minutest of details, this is not reading for the faint of he
Marge Simon
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Take a dollop of Michael A. Arnzen and Brian Evenson’s quirky styles, and add a pinch of Mark Twain, stir well and let bubble, and you have a sense of Mike Thorn’s stories. I hope you’ll have the same pleasure as I did reading his new concoction of weird dark tales. Among my favorites, “Hair” is outstanding, not only because of the unusual plot, but also because of the style. “Longman”, “Fusion” and “Remembering Absence” were also favorites.

From Remembering Absence: “Don’t ask me how long it’s
Red Lace Reviews
With monsters that hunger for flesh, ghosts that lie in wait, and brutality at the hands of humanity - this collection certainly has it all. Delving into the satirical, chilling and downright disgusting, this is a must read for those that like a bit of horror in their lives.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Mike Thorn for giving me the opportunity!

This anthology has sixteen individual stories, each offering varying degree
The Grim Reader
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love short story collections, and Mike Thorn’s debut collection of dark fiction is chock full of unnerving tales (Ha! see what I did there?!). Darkest Hours starts very strongly indeed with the story Hair. I recently watched the movie Raw and Raw has a scene in it where a girl is choking and begins coughing up strands of hair. For me, it was easily the most disturbing scene in the entire movie. The first story in this collection reminded me of this, and similarly, I was almost gagging as I rea ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Randy Schroeder
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Smart, strange, slanted, and chilling. This is a box of horror gems, polished to a dark lustre. If you like intelligent horror that rewards attentive reading, you do not want to miss this book. If you don’t want to take my word for it, just take one look at all the wonderful buzz this work has received in the horror community.

Hopefully we’ll see more from Thorn very soon.
Daniel Barnett
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unique concepts meet a confident and fresh voice, with a good peppering of terror. A few stories felt as though they ended a bit short, but each one left me wanting more, and think that says a lot about the the strength of this collection. There’s an art to unsatisfaction, particularly when it comes to short fiction, and Thorn’s got that art down. I’ll be reading more by him, for sure.
Chris Cangiano
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Mike Thorn gives us a strong debut collection of short horror fiction. The stories, many involving students and professors trudging away in academia or misunderstood teens, are all well written and pack a decent scare in the end. The standouts in the collection for me were: Hair - a creepy tale of fetish gone too far; Party Time about a man being stalked by a violent shadow; The Auteur about the search for the latest indie horror movie and the consequences thereof; Long Man about a creature born ...more
Phillip Smith
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
When Mike Thorn is cooking, he's making some absolute freaky feasts like Long Man, Fear and Grace, Satanic Panic, and Fusion. Brutal, fun, frightening.

However, I didn't quite have the same connection with some of the others. Still, Long Man was an absolute gem of an urban legend story.
Alex (The Bookubus)
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

The stand out story for me was The Auteur which is about a horror fan who goes over to a co-workers place so she can show him some of her own horror films. Super dark and creepy and wonderful! I loved everything about it.

A few of my other favourites were: Hair, A New Kind of Drug, Fear and Grace, and Long Man. All excellently written and each had their own flavour of horror.

The rest of the collection was a mixture of some good and some that I didn't really care for (as is usually the ca
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a single dud

Usually when I read collections, I find at least a couple I hate or just don't like enough to finish reading. In this collection, I can't pick a favorite because I enjoyed every last one. Thorn's voice is consistent across the board, although each story is different, ranging from quiet horror to full on weird and grotesque. I think I was most impressed by his skill with dialogue, though, which is often a deal breaker for me as a reader. I look forward to reading more from this au
Steve Stred
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
** Edited as Review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

It’s funny sometimes how the world works. I picked up Darkest Hours in 2018, seeing a ton of praise for this collection. For 2019 I made it a priority to organize my TBR as I found I kept forgetting about, or skipping over books, simply because they weren’t front and centre every time I opened my Kindle. I made sure Darkest Hours was top of the heap for short story collections.

Then life gave me a funny occurrence. I got a notification on Face
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't often find collections where the stories feel so purposeful and where the stories remain in my memory. But Darkest Hours was full of unique and creative ideas and immersive settings. I found the concision and vividness of each story to be very impressive. I'll provide my thoughts on a few of the stories that stuck out to me most.

A New Kind of Drug: This is the story that truly sold me on the collection. The first few stories were cool and I was invested. But after this story I couldn't p
Sunshine Somerville
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It might be odd to call a collection of horror/noir short stories “beautiful,” but that is the impression I’m left with. These are incredibly well-crafted, well-written stories from an author I quickly grew to respect. Thorn’s mastery of prose is an absolute delight to read. His creativity is refreshing. His subtle ability to make the horror sneak up on the reader is a gift. I compared these stories many times to my favorites from Poe, and they indeed share the chilling truth that the worst mons ...more
Romi || Romi Reads
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks, review-copies
First of all, let’s admire this awesome cover shall we? I love it when books already have a “well-read” (or watched in this case?) look to it, although it’s new.

What’s behind the cover is maybe even more awesome – I thoroughly enjoyed reading Thorn’s short story. This collection started off with a big bang, called “Hair”. It creeped me out and had me pulling weird faces during my break at work because of the weird fetish the main character has. The second story was really different from the firs
Stacey Kondla
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This is a solid collection of horror stories and I look forward to reading more by Mike Thorn in the future. The stories range within the horror spectrum from gory to disturbing to scary and disgusting. Each story has a distinct voice and atmosphere. The story that scared me was "Fear and Grace" - psychological and kind of freaky! I also really liked "The Long Man" - monsters in mirrors are hard not to like. I wanted to be grossed out more by "Hair," but since I've read a couple books by Carlton ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A bloody fantastic collection. Gag-inducing (the first story made me want to hurl), unsettling, and cleverly written. Loved the variety in terms of "types" of horror represented here. Certainly enjoyed the metal references! They're all great, but if I had to pick a fave, I think it would be the gruesome occult/slasher story "Miction Diabolus"- I want to read an entire novel about Principal "Peeler"-soooooo MESSED UP! ...more
Adrian Coombe
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb horror story collection

Brief review from my mobile:
Something for everyone but some standout stories in the collection. Never boring; never overcooked. Genuine tension and intrigue. Loved it.
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Mike Thorn is the author of the novel Shelter for the Damned and the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast and Tales to Terrify.

His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, Seventh Row and Vague Visages.

Visit his website. Connect with him

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