Dark Screams: Volume Two

Dark Screams: Volume Two

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Robert McCammon, Norman Prentiss, Shawntelle Madison, Graham Masterton, and Richard Christian Matheson scale new heights of horror, suspense, and grimmest fantasy in Dark Screams: Volume Two, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the renowned Cemetery Dance Publications.
THE DEEP END by Robert McCammon
Everyone thinks the drowning death of Neil Calder in the local swimming pool was a tragic accident. Only his father knows better. Now, on the last night of summer, Neil returns in search of revenge.
INTERVAL by Norman Prentiss
Flight 1137 from St. Louis by way of Nashville has gone missing. As anxious friends and family gather around the gate, a ticket clerk finds herself eyewitness to a moment of inhuman evil.
IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK by Shawntelle Madison
Eleanor has come from New York City to prep an old Victorian house in Maine for America’s Mysterious Hotspots. Although she’s always thrown herself into her work, this job will take her places she’s never dreamed of going.
THE NIGHT HIDER by Graham Masterton
C. S. Lewis wrote about a portal that led to a world of magic and enchantment. But the wardrobe in Dawn’s room holds only death—until she solves its grisly mystery.
WHATEVER by Richard Christian Matheson
A 1970s rock ’n’ roll band that never was—in a world that is clearly our own . . . but perhaps isn’t, not anymore . . . or, at least, not yet—takes one hell of a trip.

Praise for Dark Screams: Volume Two
Dark Screams: Volume Two [is] a worthwhile read and a great entry to this series. If this upward trend in quality continues, we are sure to see amazing things in the volumes to come.”LitReactor
“[Brian James Freeman] and Richard Chizmar set themselves a high standard with the first volume, and it’s good to see that they have maintained that level of excellence. . . . If you like good, solid horror, check it out. I’ve found some new authors to read.”—Adventures Fantastic
“Five fun-to-read stories by top-notch horror scribes. How can you lose? The answer: you can’t.”—Atomic Fangirl
“Once I started this book, I didn’t want to read anything else.”—Carole’s Random Life

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804176620
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Series: Dark Screams Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 138
Sales rank: 130,462
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Brian James Freeman is the general manager of Cemetery Dance Publications and the author of The Echo of Memory, The Suicide Diary, The Halloween Children (with Norman Prentiss), The Painted Darkness, and Blue November Storms. He has edited several anthologies including Detours, Reading Stephen King, and Halloween Carnival, and with Richard Chizmar he co-edited Killer Crimes and the Dark Screams series. He is also the founder of Books to Benefit, a specialty press that works with bestselling authors to publish collectible limited-edition books to raise funds and awareness for good causes.
Richard Chizmar is the founder, publisher, and editor of Cemetery Dance magazine and Cemetery Dance Publications. He has edited more than a dozen anthologies, including The Best of Cemetery Dance, The Earth Strikes Back, Night Visions 10, October Dreams (with Robert Morrish), and the Shivers series.

Read an Excerpt

The Deep End

Robert R. McCammon

Summer was dying. The late-afternoon sky wept rain from low, hovering clouds, and Glenn Calder sat in his Chevy station wagon, staring at the swimming pool where his son had drowned two weeks ago.

Neil was just sixteen years old, Glenn thought. His lips were tight and gray, and the last of his summer tan had faded from his gaunt, hollowed face. Just sixteen. His hands tightened around the steering wheel, the knuckles bleaching white. It’s not fair. My son is dead—and you’re still alive. Oh, I know you’re there. I’ve figured it all out.

You think you’re so damned smart. You think you’ve got everybody fooled. But not me. Oh, no—not me.

He reached over the seat beside him and picked up his pack of Winstons, chose a cigarette and clamped the filter between his lips. Then he punched the cigarette lighter in and waited for it to heat up.

His eyes, pale blue behind a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, remained fixed on the Olympic-sized public swimming pool beyond the high chain-link fence. A sign on the admissions gate said in big, cheerful red letters: closed for the season! see you next summer! Beyond the fence were bleachers and sundecks where people had lolled in the hot, sultry summer of north Alabama, and there was a bandstand where an occasional rock band had played at a pool party on a Saturday night. Steam rose from the glistening concrete around the pool and, in the silence between the patter of raindrops, with his windows rolled down and the moody smell of August’s last hours inside the car, he thought he could hear ghostly music from that bandstand, there under the red canopy where he himself had danced as a kid in the late fifties.

He imagined he could hear the shouts, squeals, and rowdy laughter of the generations of kids that had come to this pool, here in wooded Parnell Park, since it had been dug out and filled with water back in the mid-forties. He cocked his head to one side, listening, and he felt sure that one of these ghostly voices belonged to Neil, and Neil was speaking like a ripple of water down a drain, calling “Dad? Dad? It killed me, Dad! I didn’t drown! I was always a good swimmer, Dad! You know that, don’t you . . . ?”

“Yes,” Glenn answered softly, and tears filled his eyes. “I know that.”

The lighter popped out. Glenn got his cigarette going and returned the lighter to the dashboard. He stared at the swimming pool as a tear crept down his cheek. Neil’s voice ebbed and faded, joining the voices of the other ghosts that were forever young in Parnell Park.

If he had a dollar for every time he’d walked through that admissions gate he’d be a mighty rich man today. At least he’d have a lot more money, he mused, than running the Pet Center at Brookhill Mall paid him. But he’d always liked animals, so that was okay, though when he’d been young enough to dream he’d had plans of working for a zoo in a big city like Birmingham, traveling the world and collecting exotic animals. His father had died when he was a sophomore at the University of Alabama, and Glenn had returned to Barrimore Crossing and gone to work because his mother had been hanging on the edge of a nervous breakdown. He’d always planned on going back to college, but the spool of time just kept unwinding: He’d met Linda, and they’d fallen in love. And then they’d gotten married and Neil was born four years later, and . . .

Well, that was just the story of life, wasn’t it?

There were little flecks of rain on his glasses, caused when the drops ricocheted off the edge of the rolled-down window. Glenn took his glasses off to wipe the lenses with a handkerchief. Without the glasses, everything was kind of fuzzy, but he could still see all right.

His hands were trembling. He was afraid, but not terrified. Funny. He’d thought for sure he’d be scared shitless. Of course, it wasn’t time yet. Oh, no. Not yet. He put his glasses back on, drew deeply at his cigarette and let the smoke leak from his mouth. Then he touched the heavy-duty chain cutter that lay on the seat beside him.

Today—the last day of summer—he had brought his own admission ticket to the pool.

Underneath his trousers he was wearing his bathing suit—the red one, the one that Linda said he’d better not wear around the bull up in Howard Mackey’s pasture. Glenn smiled grimly. If he hadn’t had Linda these past two weeks it might’ve made him slip right off the deep end. She said they were strong, that they would go on and learn to live with Neil’s death, and Glenn had agreed—but that was before he’d started thinking. That was before he’d started reading and studying about the Parnell Park swimming pool.

That was before he knew.

After Neil had drowned, the town council had closed the pool and park. Neil had been its third victim of the summer; back in June a girl named Wanda Shackleford had died in the pool, and on the Fourth of July it had been Tom Dunnigan. Neil had known Wanda Shackleford. And Glenn remembered that they’d talked about the incident at home one night.

“Seventeen years old!” Glenn had said, reading from a copy of the Barrimore Crossing Courier. “What a waste!” He was sitting in his Barcalounger in the den, and Linda was on the sofa doing her needlepoint picture for Sue Ann Moore’s birthday. Neil was on the floor in a comfortable sprawl, putting together a plastic model of a spaceship he’d bought at Brookhill Mall that afternoon. “Says here that she and a boy named Paul Buckley decided to climb the fence and go swimming around midnight.” He glanced over at Linda. “Is that Alex Buckley’s boy? The football player?”

“I think so. Do you know, Neil?”

“Yeah. Paul Buckley’s a center for Grissom High.” Neil glued a triangular weapons turret together and put it aside to dry, then turned to face his father. Like Glenn, the boy was thin and lanky and wore glasses. “Wanda Shackleford was his girlfriend. She would’ve been a senior next year. What else does it say?”

“It’s got a few quotes from Paul Buckley and the policeman who pulled the girl’s body out. Paul says they’d had a six-pack and then decided to go swimming. He says he never even knew she was gone until he started calling her and she didn’t answer. He thought she was playing a trick on him.” He offered his son the paper.

“I can’t imagine wanting to swim in dark water,” Linda said. Her pleasant oval face was framed with pale blond hair, and her eyes were hazel, the same color as Neil’s. She concentrated on making a tricky stitch and then looked up. “That’s the first one.”

“The first one? What do you mean?”

Linda shrugged uneasily. “I don’t know. Just . . . well, they say things happen in threes.” She returned to her work.

“I think the city should fill in that swimming pool.”

“Fill in the pool?” There was alarm in Neil’s voice. “Why?”

“Because last June the Happer boy drowned in it, remember? It happened the first weekend school was out.

Thank God we weren’t there to see it. And two summers before that, the McCarrin girl drowned in four feet of water. The lifeguard didn’t even see her go down before somebody stepped on her.” She shivered and looked at Glenn. “Remember?”

Glenn drew on his cigarette, staring through the rain-streaked windshield at the pool. “Yes,” he said softly. “I remember.” But at the time, he’d told Linda that people—especially kids—drowned in pools, ponds, and lakes every summer. People even drown in their own bathtubs! he’d said. The city shouldn’t close Parnell Park pool and deprive the people of Barrimore Crossing, Leeds, Cooks Springs, and the other surrounding communities.

Without Parnell Park, folks would have to drive either to Birmingham or go swimming in the muddy waters of nearby Logan Martin Lake on a hot summer afternoon!

Still, he’d remembered that a man from Leeds had drowned in the deep end the summer before Gil McCarrin’s daughter died. And hadn’t two or three other people drowned there as well?

“You think you’re so damned smart,” Glenn whispered. “But I know. You killed my son, and by God you’re going to pay.”

A sullen breeze played over the pool, and Glenn imagined he could hear the water giggle. Off in the distance he was sure he heard Neil’s voice, floating to him through time and space: “It killed me, Dad! I didn’t drown . . . I didn’t drown . . . I didn’t . . . I—”

Glenn clamped a hand to his forehead and squeezed. Sometimes that made the ghostly voice go away, and this time it worked. He was getting a whopper of a headache, and he opened the glove compartment and took a half-full bottle of Excedrin from it. He popped it open, put a tablet on his tongue, and let it melt.

Customer Reviews

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Dark Screams: Volume Two 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
MrE_Reader More than 1 year ago
All these 'paid' reviews are bogus. They get the book free in exchange for an 'honest' review. Sad really as the whole review section is completely useless due to these fluff reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All good short stories except "Whatever".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of the stories made no sense. In fact, the only story that made sense to me was the intruder one. The other ones cut off before they could be scary. They set aa good tone though -TRC
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A definite must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bigbookgeek More than 1 year ago
Another stellar collection in this series! I enjoyed the first volume, and found myself liking the stories in the second volume even more!  We start out with "The Deep End" by Robert R. McCammon. To read a horror short by him was great, especially with recent news of his return to the genre! This was a chilling story about a father seeking revenge against a an unknown nemesis. Norman Prentiss' "Interval" was a great modern take on a common theme: beings who hang around to feed off of sorrow and loss. Next up was "If These Walls Could Talk" by Shawntelle Madison. The author is new to me, and I'm curious to read more of her work now, this story was a chilling tale of stalker madness! My favorite story in this collection was "The Night Hider" by Graham Masterton. Masterton never disappoints! In this tale, we have a haunted wardrobe linked to C.S. Lewis, the evil within consumed him and inspired Narnia, and how a woman decades later works with her lover to defeat the evil within! Finally, we have "Whatever" by Richard Christian Matheson: my least favorite of the bunch. I found the story tedious and until the very end, had no clue what was going on or where he was going.  All in all, this is a fantastic collection, and I cannot wait to read the third volume in the series!
The_Dragons_Roost More than 1 year ago
Once again, let me preface the review by stating that the copy I read was an ARC I received for free for the purpose of reviewing it. While I enjoyed Dark Screams: Volume Two, I found it a little disjointed. The stories did not mesh with each other as the stories in the first volume did (despite different topics, the tones were similar enough in the first volume that the book seemed more seamless). The second volume in the series contains five short stories by masters of the horror genre. "The Deep End" by Robert McCammon was by far my favorite in this volume.  The story of a shape-shifting creature living in a community pool, taking small children year after year, is full of tension and genuine fear.  There is an undertone of uncertainty as well.  Is any of this actually happening or has the protagonist been driven mad with grief? Norman Prentiss' "Interval" starts as a heart wrenching tale of loss and grief.  The build up of emotions is almost unbearable.  When it switches to a different type of story near the midpoint, the result is a totally different story, but one which is equally entertaining.  My only complaint is that the end seemed a bit as if it was the set-up for a series of related tales. "If These Walls Could Talk" is reminiscent of classic people-invited-to-explore-a-haunted-house stories like The Haunting of Hill House and Hell House, but with an ending twist from Mr. Poe.  Creepy and fun. In "The Night Hider," Graham Masterson poses the question: what if CS Lewis' Narnia series had a horribly dark inspiration?  The answer is a story of revenge and haunting which is fun, but a bit too long. The only story which I did not particularly care for was the last one, entitled "Whatever."  I am normally a huge fan of Richard Christian Matheson, but this history of a rock band, while intriguing, lacked any genuine scares.
mportnoy More than 1 year ago
A solid second volume, in fact I enjoyed it much more than the first. The Deep End – Love McCammon and missed him during his hiatus. This older story is classic McCammon combining real people you identify with along with that turn into somewhere else. Of course, a public pool is not really somewhere else… Interval – With recent news over the last couple of years, the venue for this story is particularly poignant. The villain of the piece is not a new concept, but this is the first time I’ve seen it spun in quite this way. Well done! If These Walls Could Talk – Maybe the weakest story of the quintet, or maybe my inability to get behind the protagonist. In either case, well written but without the punch I was expecting. The Night Hider – For me the biggest surprise in the book. Read a lot of Masterson, but never a home run hitter. The moment when I realized what was really going on made my jaw drop and my heart beat a little faster. I’d drop a hint or two… Whatever – I loved this tale of a band in the time when music, and the bands that crafted and performed that music mattered. It ended much too soon and I was sad when it did. If the third volume in the series continues along this vein, I will gladly spend the time and money.
klzinga More than 1 year ago
First off, ignore reviews that are posted anonymously. It's too easy to trash something if you know nobody will know who is posting. This book was just as good as Vol.1. This is a collection of some of the best in the business. It doesn't get any better than this. I enjoy reading their shorter stories where they get a chance to experiment with some of their ideas that may not rise to full length novels. The only thing that kept me for rating this 5 stars was the story by Masterson. It was an interesting piece on its own. But I didn't think it belonged in this anthology. Ironically, he writes in the story that his editors said not to write it! But, that should not stop you from picking up this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totally disapointed in this. Barely made it through the first story, and could not get into the second story. I have number three on pre order, but am now afraid to go ahead with it, since I was so unhappy with the first two. I hate wasting books that I pay for. I am starting to believe that Good Horror is a thing of the past. IMHO
catloverAD More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Volume I a little bit better than this one, however this was a good read. Some of the stories were a little bit 'out there.' "The Deep End," by McCammon was one of my favorites. It is a great tale of emotion and had a different approach to it. Fresh. "Interval," by Prentiss. I enjoyed this story and the way the story played out was excellent. Not to mention, I read it on a flight! "The Night Hider," by Masterson. This too was a favorite. "If These Walls Could Talk," by Madison. This was my first time reading Madison and I was not disappointed! "Whatever," by Matheson is where I fell apart. I found myself placing where the story was and the timeline. I felt like the story could have been a better read if only it was written differently. I do look forward to the next in the series! ARC through NetGalley
SilverMetal More than 1 year ago
This series just keeps it coming one story after another.  I very much enjoy reading these tales that make me feel like I am right there with the characters as they go through their shall I say adventure.  I am usually a full length novel reader but this series has been capturing my attention with each and leaving an impact in my mind I will not soon forget. The only story that was a little out there for my style preference is "Whatever".   I have seen some other reviews on this story and I feel like it just has to find the right audience but it is still a well laid out story.
Jennercatz More than 1 year ago
I received this book as an advance copy and, in return, I was asked to provide an honest review. On the whole, I enjoyed it much less than I did Volume One. 1. “The Deep End” by Robert McCammon: This was the best story in the collection. Mr. McCammon is one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled to find something of his that I had not previously read. The story was well-done and, even though it wasn’t very scary, I enjoyed it very much. 2. “Interval” by Norman Prentice: It was also very well-written. I wish that we could have gotten a better visualization of the demon itself, but the suspense was engaging and the ending was satisfying (though not for the heroine of the story!). 3. “If These Walls Could Talk” by Shawntelle Madison: This was a disappointment. I I received Dark Screams Volume Two as an advance copy. In return, I was asked to provide an would rather have had the story be supernatural. Having a human villain would have been more appropriate in a thriller novel, not in a collection of horror stories. 4. “The Night Hider” by Graham Masterson: This was one of my favorites. It was a very interesting take on the Chronicles of Narnia and it kept my interest to the end. Mr. Masterson is an excellent writer. 5. “Whatever” by Richard Christian Matheson: This story was terrible. Mr. Matheson is usually a very good writer but I just couldn’t get the point. I’m surprised I managed to read it to the end. The only reason I did so was because I had promised I would read the entire book in order to give a review. All in all, I don’t feel I can give this book more than three stars. I also wish future volumes had more current stories. Even though I had never read Mr. McCammon’s piece 20 or 30 years ago (and enjoyed reading it now), I feel that these collections should include works by authors that are contemporary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series really is hitting its stride.  These stories are awesome and compliment each other very well.  Be prepared to lose a day over this book.  
bill_t_cat More than 1 year ago
I received an advance reader copy (arc) of this book for the purpose of providing an honest review. My excitement for this anthology series continues as I embark on the dark horror train that is Dark Screams: Volume Two. I was mostly as impressed with the content of this volume as I had been with the previous volume, with one glaring exception detailed below. There also seemed to be more of a theme tying the first four of these tales together … the idea of a dark and sinister force lurking just outside of our senses. This anthology includes these stories: —The Deep End, by Robert McCammon. The lead-off story for this collection set a dark tone of horror. While this story was a reprint, I had never read it and it was an on-the-edge-of-your-seat horror story about a father's revenge against the swimming pool that took his son's life. 4.5 Stars —Interval, by Norman Prentiss. Long and slow build-up to a great twist ending. Very reminiscent of the Final Destination movies. Very entertaining. 4 Stars —If These Walls Could Talk, by Shawntelle Madison. Almost seemed to be a typical haunted house story. Then, it almost seemed like a reality Ghost Hunters story. The completely unexpected twist is very reminiscent of Poe and drew to a close an extremely readable and enjoyable tale. 4 Stars —The Night Hider, by Graham Masterton. Possibly the second best story in the collection with an unexpected connection to C.S. Lewis and Narnia. The ending seemed contrived and unnecessary. 3.5 Stars —Whatever, by Richard Christian Matheson. The title of this story says it all: "Whatever." This disjointed story chronicles the rise and fall of the rock band Whatever through a mishmash of articles, interviews, notes and letters. I found it to be a laborious chore to trudge through and found it to be a wholly disappointing closing to a truly enjoyable anthology. 1 Star Overall, even with the final story dragging the anthology down for me, I found this volume to be as enjoyable as the first. I have high hopes for the remaining volumes in this anthology series.
MPTwentyTwo More than 1 year ago
Dark Screams Volume II. I was definitely looking forward to this book coming out. I read the collection in Volume I and enjoyed most of that book. Volume II upped the ante by starting out with McCammon's story the "Deep End". That was followed by the "Interval" written by Prentiss. Both of these stories and the next two, "If the Walls could talk" by Madison and the "Night Hider" by Masterson take you to places within the writers imagination that are dark and unnatural. The ride is enjoyable. The fifth story is titled "Whatever" and I agree with that title, whatever. So once again I enjoyed 4 out of 5 stories in this book. I could elaborate on them but they are short stories so any description would give away the story. Therefore read them for your own enjoyment. Suffice it to say before I get my Swimming trunks out of the closet I will judge that interval while staring at the paintings in the room. I look forward to other collections by the editors Chizmar and Freeman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About a month or so ago my 7yr old grandson was here and I let him pick out a few books under the KID section.Now in the SHOP overviews most of the selectons are for teens.Very few are for adults.I thought everybody's choices were the same.I'm hoping I can get back to the way it was.So aggrevateing.Just thought I would share this with you. Granny B.
misspider More than 1 year ago
While the first Dark Screams volume was a wild mixture of stories without a recognizable common theme, this second collection seems better tuned. It presents stories of dark things lurking in completely unobtrusive places. A swimming pool, walls in a house, or even a wardrobe - suddenly they reveal a hidden evil which bereaves them of their inconspicuousness. The Deep End (Robert McCammon) Very straightforward and uncomplicated. My only criticism would be the unnecessary 'epilogue'. I guess this one is my favorite. 4 stars. Interval (Norman Prentiss) The first part really gave me the creeps because of its realistic subject. Unfortunately, the author added some supernatural element which didn't work out for me, but add confusion to an otherwise great story. 3 stars If These Walls Could Talk (Shawntelle Madison) Nice one with an unexpected twist that caught me by surprise and made me shudder. I loved the detail with the fox eye. 4 stars The Night Hider (Graham Masterton) Great reference to the author C.S. Lewis, though I would have preferred something more fantastic in the line of his work. The ending was not as climactic as expected and Jerry's sacrifice seemed unnecessary. 4 stars Whatever (Richard Matheson) A collection of song lyrics, interview snippets and articles, loosely connected into a story about a rock band. Dragged on and on without getting anywhere. Sorry, this was not my cup of tea. 1 star A nice collection with some great authors, perfect to pass some time. (I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
Kaedmunson More than 1 year ago
This second volume of Dark Screams is as impressive as the first. All of the stories are well-written and each has its own take on horror. Robert McCammon's leadoff tale, "The Deep End" is an old fashioned, satisfying horror story of grief and revenge. The chills mount as the murkiness of pool waters close in on the hunter and when the climax occurs it is quick and pulse pounding. Like the King story in the first volume, there is just enough sf to remind older readers of Saturday afternoon matinees of 57 to 68 minute chillers. This reprint from Night Visions IV (1987) was well-worth resurrecting. Norman Prentiss is a really fine writer. "Interval" is a tale in which the horror seems to be unfolding in a specific direction and then takes a sharp turn from real, mundane horror into the supernatural. Well done and creepy. With the atmospheric depictions of the Foster farmhouse, I was expecting Shawntelle Madison's "If These Walls Could Talk" to be a haunted house story, even though she deftly dropped little clues that there was something else going on. When Eleanor finally realizes that the oddness is really deadly the tale suddenly moves from hauntings to a human based horror that is quite Poesque. Graham Masterton's "The Night Hider" is a story of the dark origins of a children's fantastic masterwork. This tale has revenge at its heart but there is pathos in the revelation. And there is real horror in the final scene. "Whatever" by Richard Christian Masterson is a reprint from Douglas Winter's 1997 themed anthology Revelations. This longish story is told piecemeal, using interviews, magazine excerpts, song lyrics, journal entries, and a non-sequential timeline to describe the slow death of a 70s rock group. While some might scratch their heads trying to find the horror element in this tale it essentially is a depiction of the horror that is human in nature. Of all the stories in this volume this is the one I want to reread. The quality of the stories in this volume bodes well for future releases in the series. Disclosure: I received an uncorrected proof of this e-book from NetGallery for an honest review.
Nikki_Mansfield More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in this ebook only series that collects five short horror stories by popular authors.  Two of the stories in this collection are previously published with the other three being printed for the first time.  In the first book, I knew all the authors, this time I only know two of them.  However, my favourite story in the collection was by a new-to-me author, Shawntelle Madison. 1. The Deep End by Robert McCammon (1987) - This collection starts with a previously published story by master genre writer McCammon. A typical alien/monster story. Entertaining, I liked it, but the ending was a bit lacklustre. (3/5) 2. Interval by Norman Prentiss (2015) - Starting with a missing plane, which is such a current fear these days, the story progresses into a dark and morbid story of a visit by a demon to those who are going through grief. A genuinely morbid story, well told. (4/5) 3. If These Walls Could Talk by Shawntelle Madison (2015) - I can't say much about this as the story slowly builds up in tension and reveals it's plot at the chilling end. However it deals with a creepy Gothic mansion and one of most people's darkest fears, certainly one of mine. Never heard of this author before. Great story! (5/5) 4. The Night Hider by Graham Masterton (2015) - This was a fun haunting story. A bit creepy but more scary in a fun way, if you kwim. Here we have a haunted wardrobe and not just any wardrobe, but CS Lewis' original wardrobe that inspired the Narnia books! (4/5) 5. Whatever by Richard Christian Matheson (1997) - The second previously published story in this collection and by far, the longest.  This is not a horror story by any means, but it is on the dark side.  I'm not sure I feel like it really even belongs in the collection.  Written as a series of recorded conversations/interviews, magazine articles and the narrator's personal notes this is the story of the rise and fall of a rock band during the span of the seventies.  The letters/articles are partly chronological with the occasional one coming in from further ahead in time letting us know how some things turned out at the same time as the story is being told.  This story honestly brings the collection to a unsatisfying ending, but I did enjoy it a bit. (3/5) Looking forward to seeing wo the line-up of authors are for Volume 3!
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
4 Stars! Anthologies can be very tough to rate. I find that most anthologies have some stories that I like and some that don't work for me. This group of stories was surprisingly good. I loved a couple of the stories, liked a couple, and disliked only one story. I picked this short book up because I was in the mood for something a little different and I had planned to just read one story at a time in between other books. Once I started this book, I didn't want to read anything else - so much for my plan. "The Deep End" by Robert McCammon - 4.5 Stars I probably shouldn't admit that I haven't read anything by Robert McCammon before I read this story. I loved his writing. This story was such a great introduction to this anthology. I felt for the main character and was actually afraid for him. Such an original and interesting idea. I definitely need to read more from Robert McCammon soon. "Interval" by Norman Prentiss - 3.5 Stars Norman Prentiss is another author that I haven't had a chance to read. The focus of the families at the airport was so compelling. I was immediately pulled into this story but I must admit that I was a bit let down as the story ended. "If These Walls Could Talk" by Shawtelle Madison - 5 Stars I have read Shawntelle Madison's debut novel, Under My Skin, and absolutely loved it so I was really looking forward to this story in the grouping. I was not disappointed. It took a little time for everything to fall into place but as soon as things started happening in this story it was non-stop. The way this one ended really was creepy for me. "The Night Hider" by Graham Masterson - 4 Stars This is the first chance that I have had to read anything by Graham Masterson and I really enjoyed this story. I probably shouldn't admit that I have never read the Narnia series but I think fans of that series will be very interested in this story. I loved how he built on a basic, well known plot and made it so incredibly interesting. "Whatever" by Richard Christian Matheson - 1 Star I didn't care for this story at all. I found it to be confusing and pointless. I am still not really sure what happened. This is the longest story in the group and it was told in the most original way with lots of letters, songs, interviews, and memos. I quickly lost interest and felt confused for most of the story. I love to sample the writing of authors I haven't had a chance to read by reading anthologies. I would definitely pick up a book by most of these authors after reading this compilation of stories. Some of the copyrights on the stories go back a few years but all of the stories were new to me and I really enjoyed the book as a whole. In fact, I actually liked this one better than the first volume, Dark Screams: Volume One. I would definitely recommend this book to others. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Hydra via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago