Predatory eyes flicker in darkness, a legion of abominations seeking human destruction. Slashing claws and gnashing teeth, hungry for flesh, eager to kill. Clutch onto hope and pray for dawn. Creatures rule the night.
In Darkness, Delight is an original anthology series revealing the many faces of modern horror— shocking and quiet, pulp and literary, cold-hearted and heart-felt, weird tales of spiraling madness alongside full-throttle thrillers. Open these pages and unleash all-new terrors that consume from without and within.
The creatures are here. It’s now time to find . . . In Darkness, Delight.
Josh Malerman: One Thousand Words on a Tombstone – Bully Jack Jeff Strand: The Last Thing You Want to Be Ray Garton: A Survivor Richard Chizmar: Father Mary SanGiovanni: The Giant’s Table Tim Curran: White Rabbit Chris Motz: Scales Kev Harrison: Snap Evans Light: Gertrude Mikal Trimm: Infestation Mark Cassell: River of Nine Tails Mason Morgan: The People in the Toilet Andrew Lennon: Silent Scream Chad Lutzke: He Wears the Lake Adam Light: Valley of the Dunes Eddie Generous: The Newell Post Frank Oreto: The Worms Turn Gregor Xane: The Ugly Tree Kristopher Rufty: Hinkles Glenn Rolfe: Human Touch Curtis M. Lawson: The Green Man of Freetown
Andrew Lennon is the bestselling author of Every Twisted Thought and several other horror/thriller books. He has featured in various bestselling anthologies, and is successfully becoming a recognised name in horror and thriller writing.
His work has appeared alongside horror royalty such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Richard Chizmar, Clive Barker, and many more.
Andrew is a happily married man living in the North West of England with his wife Hazel & their children.
Short story collections almost always contain a few duds for me. It’s not the fault of the story (usually) but often a matter of taste. When you toss this many writers together one of them is bound to leave me wishing I had spent my time trimming the cat's nails or something but surprisingly that wasn’t the case here. I didn’t despise any of them and found most of them imaginative and entertaining, a few were sad making, several were humorous, and more than a few made my skin crawl. It helps that I’m a fan of monsters, creatures and other-worldly beasties and there were all kinds of them here. Beautiful monsters, ancient monsters, human monsters, gross-nasty monsters. If you like creature features in small doses, this one is for you!
I won’t review them all because that is exhausting for everyone but here are some of my favorites:
Human Touch by Glenn Rolfe
Rosie picks up a pathetic looking strange creature and brings it home because why wouldn’t she?! I mean, have a heart, will ya? The poor thing, though scraggly and strange, was wounded and helpless. Or so she thought! Mayhem soon ensues. Beautiful, gory mayhem which is the best kind of mayhem.
White Rabbit by Tim Curran
Ella awakens to find a 2’ stuffed rabbit in her home that she doesn’t remember putting there. Things only get weirder from there. This story was unnerving and disconcerting and has a horrifying conclusion. The best kind, am I right?
Scales by Christopher Motz
I’m a fan of body horror. Don’t ask me to explain it because I cannot. Body horror is always ewww-ick but I blame my enduring love for grossness on that cursed but still kinda sexy Jeff Goldblum Brundlefly and the twisted brothers in Dead Ringers. Nothing really is too gross for me (unless it involves poo and then I’m out). Scales starts out innocently enough, like they all do, with a fellow who has a relentlessly itchy toe. But it soon takes a turn and becomes incredibly disgusting and that’s why I loved it.
River of Nine Tails by Mark Cassell
This was an adventure tale filled with some gory fun and there were even some tentacles! You can’t ever go wrong with added tentacles if you ask me.
Gertrude by Evans Light
Gertrude made me laugh and for that it gets all the points. I probably wasn’t supposed to laugh but I am who I am and the ending was freaking perfect.
A Survivor by Ray Garton
Holy hell, trust me on this, if you are ever bitten by some strange animal “creature” that walks on more than four legs do yourself a favor and hightail it to the ER. Betty’s life begins to go to absolute poo after Ed comes home with a bite on his leg. Ed is too manly-man to see a doctor and Betty must use all of her survivor instincts to keep it together. Yikes, this story looks deeply into some dark corners and it does not flinch. It’s a wee bit shocking and that’s all I’m saying.
The Ugly Tree by Gregor Xane
Xane writes the weirdest, disturbing little stories that are beautifully filled with grotesque and horrifying images that’ll linger. The Ugly Tree is no exception and was one of my favorites.
Father by Richard Chizmar is pitch dark and potent and I loved it to pieces.
The Green Man of Freetown by Curtis M. Lawson
Damn this one was horrific and sad but worth the cost of admission. You must read it.
The Worms Turn by Frank Oreto Is a heartwarming tale about a lonely lady and the creature who lives across the way. It takes away all of the sadness left lingering after reading the previous story. It’ll warm even the coldest of hearts and leave you feeling all gooey and you’ll love it, you’ve gotta trust me on this, lol.
The Last Thing You Want to Be by Jeff Strand
I love Jeff Strand’s writing. HIs unapologetic sarcasm is in fine form here and I’m here for the sarcasm, always. A guy who likes to kill women because he doesn't like them has his latest victim in the trunk. But things go awry when he discovers she has some surprises in store for his murdering ass! This was such fun and I bet you’ll think so too if you’re a weirdo like me and I know you are if you’ve managed to read this far, haha!
Okay so apparently “some of my favorites” turned out to be most of the stories in the book. Oops. Anyhow, you can’t go wrong with this collection and I think all of you horror fans should give it a read because it is well-curated and it will take your mind off of whatever ails you for a little while and that never hurts anyone.
Just like the first volume, (IN DARKNESS DELIGHT: MASTERS OF MIDNIGHT), IN DARKNESS DELIGHT: CREATURES OF THE NIGHT is an impressive collection of tales!
Creature features are one of my very favorite sub-genres of horror and in this volume, nearly every single story worked for me. There were creatures of all kinds, both great and small, both real and imaginary, (though figuring out which was sometimes difficult!). I can't get into every story within, but the ones that stood out the most were:
WHITE RABBIT by Tim Curran.
SCALES by Christopher Motz
THE PEOPLE IN THE TOILET BY Mason Morgan. (What a way to kick of this anthology!)
SNAP by Kevin Harrison.
INFESTATION by Mikal Trimm. (Roaches! UGH!)
RIVER OF NINE TAILS by Mark Cassell (I got a BAD case of the heebie jeebies from this one.)
SURVIVOR by Ray Garton (Most surprising tale award!)
HINKLES by Kristopher Rufty
THE UGLY TREE by Gregor Xane (It's been a year since I read a story from this author. This one reminded me of how good he really is.)
THE GREEN MAN OF FREETOWN (It becomes clear at the end what the "creature" in this story was. When that happened, I wanted to cry. This was my favorite story in the book.)
THE WORMS TURN by Frank Oreto (This didn't turn out at all like I thought it would! Love when that happens.)
THE GIANT'S TABLE by Mary SanGiovanni. (The table doesn't belong to giants, but who it does belong to is scary as heck.)
I really wanted to write a little bit about each story, but time restraints are in play here. Even though I haven't listed every tale, (this isn't a table of contents, after all), that doesn't mean the ones that aren't listed weren't good. It's just that each of the those I've listed here were OUTSTANDING. I don't know how much more I can say except:
I really enjoyed the other two volumes in this "series" of anthologies (in fact, Volume 3 — In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future — is one of my favorite anthologies of all time!), but this one didn't work for me at all. I did find a few gems scattered throughout, with my favorite being 'Scales' by Christopher Motz. Aside from that and a couple of others that I enjoyed (but didn't quite love), I found myself wanting a lot more from the other pieces in this collection.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.
In Darkness, Delight: Creatures of the Night is a fantastic anthology of Extreme Horror tales. Although this installment of In Darkness Delight does have a theme—Creatures of the Night—the stories are impressively varied in premise and context and style. Some stories are more gruesome than others, some more graphic than others, some more psychologically violating than others, but I did not read one I didn’t enjoy.
That being said, I picked a few at random that begged commentary:
“The People in the Toilet” by Mason Morgan … well … that’s one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever read for every reason. That one struck a personal trigger. Congrats, Mason, you have freaked me the feck out.
“He Wears the Lake” by Chad Lutzke is a deep and disturbing tale, evocative and lingering.
“Snap” by Kev Harrison is one of those creepy stories that make you say “What the heck did I just read?” Out loud. To no one. And everyone.
“Gertrude” by Evans Light is absolutely perfect and perfectly horrifying. And I wish to God I had not been eating when I read it.
“Father” by Richard Chizmar is haunting, chilling, and powerful. That one lingers in your mind. And your nightmares.
This is an excellent, shelf-worthy collection for fans of Extreme Horror and Splatterpunk. Yes, Splatterpunk too. Some of these definitely have something to say while they warp your emotional stability.
This anthology was full of awesome stories! Not one boring one in the bunch and now I really want to read the other title in this series. These stories would make the coolest Tales From The Crypt episodes and or comics/graphic novels.
THE PEOPLE IN THE TOILET Mason Morgan. 2⭐️. Trigger warning: animal and child abuse. Too vague about what was in the toilet. The story was mainly focused on the abuse, and very little about title subject.
HUMAN TOUCH Glenn Rolfe. 3⭐️. Ok read. Wish there had been a little more back story on the creature. I appreciated the gore.
WHITE RABBIT Tim Curran. 2 ⭐️. Lacked consistency. Story begins with a description of the rabbit saying, "...its fur white and pristine". Then, several paragraphs later, she states that the rabbit is moth-eaten. She says the rabbit terrified her, but why, as she says a little later the she "... neither liked them nor disliked them" in reference to rabbits in general. So why scared of this stuffed rabbit? The rest of the story was confusing at times.
SCALES Christopher Motz. 5⭐️. Dearly loved the gore. Cringe fest!!
HE WEARS THE LAKE Chad Lutzke5⭐️. Always a fan of his writing!
THE NEWEL POST Eddie Generous. 1⭐️. I just didn't like the story. A piece of wood. I don't know. Just not an exciting story to me.
SNAP Kev Harrison. 1⭐️. There really was no story.
INFESTATION Mikal Trimm. 4⭐️. Aww. Well written, but sad.
RIVER OF NINE TAILS Mark Cassell. 3⭐️. Ok story. Moral of the story. Don't travel to other countries. Lol
GERTRUDE Evans Light. 4⭐️. Nice touch adding a "baby"!
A SURVIVOR Ray Garton. 5⭐️. Holy crap! She didn't! Oh yes she did!
HINKLES Kristopher Rufty. 5⭐️. I really liked the 🐵. Lol
THE UGLY TREE Gregor Xane. 2⭐️. Weird story.
SILENT SCREAM Andrew Lennon. 3⭐️. Nothing happened until the very end which was a little disappointing.
FATHER Richard Chizmar. 1⭐️. Not much to the story.
VALLEY OF THE DUNES Adam Light. 2⭐️. Eh
THE GREEN MAN OF FREETOWN Curtis M. Lawson 4⭐️. Not bad.
THE WORMS TURN Frank Oreto 5⭐️. Loved this story!!!
THE GIANT’S TABLE Mary SanGiovanni 5⭐️. I've never read anything by this author that I haven't liked. She's awesome!
THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO BE Jeff Strand 5⭐️. Loved it! Dearly love this author's work!!
ONE THOUSAND WORDS ON A TOMBSTONE Josh Malerman. 1⭐️. Didn't like this at all.
Full disclosure: I have a story (The Worms Turn) in this anthology.
I finished reading my contributor copy and can say it’s a fun and varied bunch of tales with something for everyone from ravenous gorehounds to monocle wearing aesthetes and all mixtures thereof. Some of my favorite stories were Mikal Trimm’s Infestation, Chad Lutzke’s “ He Wears the Lake”, and Kev Harrison’s “Snap”.
*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.*
In Darkness Delight Two: Creatures of the Night, an original anthology series revealing the many faces of modern horror- the shocking and quiet, pulp and literary, cold hearted and heartfelt, all weird tales of spiraling madness alongside full throttle thrillers. Open these pages and unleash all new terrors that consume from without and within.
This book didn't start or end very well. I had high expectations due to reading the first volume and the star studded line up this go around. The real fleshy parts that fed my blood lust, or at least the better stories were in the middle of the book. The not so good ones were really pretty ugly. A story about a toilet??!! And then there was Josh Malerman's ramblings on a tombstone started this volume off on a weak take off. But there were some really good ones, so let's get to the stories that stood out to me!
-The Newel Post by Eddie Generous- this story will make you think twice about using old lumber to build your house.
-River of Nine Tails by Mark Cassell- some tourists run into a river monster and some ritual sacrifice in Vietnam.
-The Green Man of Free Townby by Curtis M. Lawson- a man is up for parole after being convicted for the death of his family, who he believes were really killed by the legendary 'Green Man”.
Honorable Mentions to:
-Scales- well written and brought the gore.
-He wears the Lake- Chade Lutzke brings his subtle but effective horror skills to this one.
-Infestation by Mikal Trimm- extremely well done, but will smash your heart into a million pieces.
I really wanted to like this volume, especially with the monster factor combined with the author list heightened my expectations, but they were unfortunately too high. These stories were meant to be written to darken the day and bring creatures out of the shadows- creatures with blood lust- with torn pieces of flesh from their latest victim, still hanging from their razor sharp teeth, as they lay a long clawed paw on the edge of your chair. This is what I was hoping for, but few succeeded.
Not as good as I expected, especially with the listed authors.... Redeems itself a bit in the second half but not by much. In the end this book was a middle of the range, average short story collection 😒
Generally decent stories from amateur authors...as with the first installment, there were many grammar issues that should have been caught. I read this book because it had Adam Light, Evans Light, and Gregor Xane. They did not disappoint. The rest were a mixed bag.
I was very excited to receive a copy of In Darkness Delight: Creatures of the Night because I very much liked the first one, Masters of Midnight. And while there were many good stories within the Creatures of the Night collection, overall, I didn’t find this collection as powerful as I expected it would be.
I did have a few favorite stories that stuck with me well after reading them.
The collection opens with “The People in the Toilet” by Mason Morgan. A young boy is convinced that there are bad people living in the toilet. The boy is more afraid of the toilet than he is of his abusive father that makes the lives of the boy and his mother a living hell. A strong way to open the collection, this story might have you think about toilets a little differently.
I also really liked “Scales” by Christopher Motz. This one made me cringe with the gruesome accounts of a horrible flesh-eating infection that starts in his foot. And plenty of maggots. I’m not one who easily cringes, but when I put myself in the main character’s position, I felt a little green. But then other lines had me laughing so hard, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I love to laugh, so if someone can mix humor with horror in a way I like, then I’m a fan.
“A Survivor” by Ray Garton totally blew me away. One night, Robby’s father was bitten by a weird animal. He said it’d had more than four legs and moved so quickly it was like a blur. Then his father started changing, acting distant and sinister. This story was expertly packed with a dark, foreboding feeling throughout the whole thing, and an unexpected ending that was hard to shake off.
“Hinkles” by Kristopher Rufty was another one I loved. I was hooked right away because the “creature” was an animate stuffed animal named Hinkles. I watched Chucky at a really young age, so any sort of toy or doll that can move on its own really freaks me out. We also always had sock monkeys growing up, so I just imagined one of our own stuffed animals coming to life, like in this short story. There was a great mix of creepiness, violence and humor in this one.
Other stories I liked were “Gertrude” by Evans Light and “The Worms Turn” by Frank Oreto.
All of the pieces included in the anthology were well-written, so the quality of writing/editing was there. They just didn’t resonate with me, personally. It could very well be that the theme of the collection might not have been for me, but I’d hoped for more frights and scares than I got from the book. It’s still worth checking out if you’re a fan of short story collections.
I absolutely ADORE anthologies but sometimes I really dislike reviewing them 😂. I don’t like leaving any of the authors out! 🙈😊. I do love seeing others reviews and seeing how different our picks were tho! But, alas, it is time. Here are some stand out stories from this collection that left an impression on me:
𝘚𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘰𝘵𝘻 - This was some kind of fun! Body horror that makes you want to scratch your own skin off! It also makes me glad we currently have free health care in Canada 😳. For now anyway 🙄.
𝘏𝘦 𝘞𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘣𝘺 𝘊𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘓𝘶𝘵𝘻𝘬𝘦 - Wow. This one packs a heartfelt punch, just when I finished putting down the tissues from my last Lutzke story 😭. I can’t explain it. You just have to read it...
𝘎𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘥𝘦 𝘣𝘺 𝘌𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 - A mans life with his symbiotic twin comes to a sudden end. I thought this was very original and had a tiny surprise at the end 😬.
𝘈 𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘺 𝘙𝘢𝘺 𝘎𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘰𝘯 - More body horror with a jaw dropping twist. Oh no she didn’t! 😱 . A man is bitten by something on his leg and as the wound is left to fester, so is he...
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘔𝘢𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘍𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘣𝘺 𝘊𝘶𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘴 𝘔. 𝘓𝘢𝘸𝘴𝘰𝘯 - Psychological horror at its finest! A man is up for parole for the murder of his wife and daughter, but was it him or the Green Man from the woods?
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘴 𝘛𝘶𝘳𝘯 𝘣𝘺 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘖𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘰 - I don’t even know what to say about this one... I absolutely loved it! More body horror, a love story, an angry ex-husband. It was basically dark AND delightful 😊.
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘞𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘉𝘦 𝘣𝘺 𝘑𝘦𝘧𝘧 𝘚𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘥 - I don’t usually swear when I do reviews but... fuck me! Lol 😂 😂😂 Jeff has a way of being disgusting and hilarious both at the same time, and when you learn the meaning of this title you will probably agree.. 🤢.
Also an honorable mention to 𝘚𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘚𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮 𝘣𝘺 𝘈𝘯𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘸 𝘓𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘯 . I know he said he was out of his comfort zone writing this one, but the ending of this one made me laugh my ass off 😂.
Overall a fantastic collection from Corpus Press! Doorbells as Dusk is one of my favorite collections and now I’m looking forward to reading In Darkness Delight Volume 1 and Screamscapes by Evans Light!