Mark Young lives with his partner of eight years in London, England. In his spare time he likes to meditate, go to the gym and read, read, read. He also partakes in a bit of professional acting and singing from time to time. He’s a keeper of tropical fish and has two aquariums. And aspires to own a house with a garden and a family of cats and dogs thrown into the mix.
He is the author of the 13 Dark Fantasy & Horror Stories series. The Heartbreaker was his first publication back in 2018 and he is very excited to share its successor Coven this July.
Coven has thirteen diverse dark fantasy and horror stories, each one very different from the last. There are witches, aliens, zombies, demons, werewolves, and even a creepy-ass jungle bug. I never knew what was coming next and it was so much fun! Each story felt like it's own little gift, especially for me.
So, here is a list of the stories and a few, quick thoughts about each.
Coven: A historical look at a coven (in this case, a family) of witches. This was one of my favorite stories in the anthology, as it was entirely fleshed out and was an interesting take on these Pagan characters. No tired tropes here!
Silent Scream: This story made me tense in the very best way. As a parent, it really resonated. Such a nightmare scenario, and everything was tied beautifully together. Another favorite.
Bugs: Oh my Goddess, this made my skin crawl. So gross, so disturbing, and so AWESOME! The moral of this story was a highlight for me too.
The Girl With the Crooked Back: I'm not going to lie, despite the epic deaths and gore...this story ultimately made me sad. I love how much emotional depth Mark can bring to a classic horror story.
Showdown at the Lost Soul Cafe: This definitely wins the quirky award for Coven. I loved the oddball characters. I loved the setting. I loved the plot. And I loved the conclusion. Definitely another favorite for me.
Doing Time: As I was reading this, I was fascinated trying to figure out where Mark was going with this story. When the ending was revealed, I was shocked! Great misdirection here.
The Hunt: I love a good revenge/vengeance story, and this short, but super sweet story, satisfied that craving. Girl power!
Rage: I would have loved a bit more background, but this is still an incredibly entertaining story. It was was so evocatively written, I could actually feel the heat from the fire, taste the hot chocolate, and smell the cottage's secret scent.
The Choice: A very clever, disturbing story. Definitely a choice I would NOT want to be forced to make.
Guardians of the Grave: This was such a cool idea, and a refreshing take on zombies. I loved it! I even laughed out loud a couple times.
The Rorschack Effect: Seriously, dude, where do you come up with these amazing ideas? There are so many crazy nightmarish creatures in this book, and this story contains one of the craziest.
The Fallen: Alien stories are hit or miss with me, but this one was definitely a hit. Star was terrifying.
What the Eyes Can't See: I love stories which offer a glimpse into other-abled characters. In this story, we have a woman suffering from blindness...and I loved her. Even more, I loved her doggy, Timber. Another of my favorites.
I had the pleasure of reading Mark Young's previous short story collection, The Heartbreaker, which I absolutely loved and now with Coven, Mark has written 13 more delightful tales of horror and fantasy. Once again Mark has shown what a wonderfully diverse and talented writer he is. Each tale is so different from the next. The writing is fresh and exciting and keeps you turning the pages wanting to know what happens next. I loved each and every story, my absolute favourite being Coven, the first story and the book title's namesake. This story reminded me of the old gothics from the 70's that I love with it's descriptive passages of the old manor, but there was so much more to it than that, and I loved the wittiness to particular dialogue...I won't give too much away, you will just have to read it for yourselves. I enjoyed reading this book by the fire on these cold winter's nights. Such beautiful descriptive writing made the experience so immersive . Mark is such a talented writer and I can't recommend his books highly enough.