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Book Review: Midnight Abyss

January 13, 2014

Cover image for Midnight AbyssMidnight Abyss: A Collection of Darklings
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 268 pages

I’m impressed by how many different styles of writing and kinds of horror were represented in this anthology. And possibly how many times reading startled me and made me make rather high pitched noises of alarm, fright, all-out disgust. Demons, vampires, nasty psychological twists. Even, and this took me by surprise, a few nicely dark poems.

My favorite kind of scary story is the subtly chilly kind- I prefer psychological scares and ghost stories to gruesome tales. Stories that I found satisfyingly creepy included “Debt Collectors,” by Gregory K. Shipman; “Double Vision” by Anisa A. Claire. I also really liked the shadowy atmosphere of  the poem, “Requiem,” by Theresa Briscoe Tschetter. “Queen of the Night,” by Kelleigh Elizabeth Perry was both funny and spooky, which works for me. The detailed level of description in “Lily of the Valley” by Shaun Alexander made it almost too scary for me. But just this side of almost.

There were a couple of stories I found too gross and scary for my taste. Which is a recommendation, given how squeamish I am. I couldn’t finish “Vessels,” by Theresa Briscoe Tschetter. Some passages of “Eddie Zero,” by Doug Langile were really, really gross, so I admit I skimmed. It also took me a while to finish “Within These Walls,” by Kelleigh Elizabeth Perry. Brutal!

This anthology, a collaboration of writers who met on, covers an impressive range of scares.  I got my hands on it because I’ve been friends with one of the authors, Matthew X. Gomez, since we were freshmen in high school. I got a little hung up on making sure that I’m writing an objective review… so I’m saving his contributions: “Deal with a Devil,” and “Comes a Slayer,” to read after I’d read, and reviewed the other stories in the collection. So I haven’t read them yet, as they appear in this collection. But, based on reading other things Gomez has written, including some earlier versions of both of these, I know they’re going to be good.

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