Darkest Hours by Mike Thorn

The Darkest Hours_Mike Thorn.jpg
Darkest Hours
By Mike Thorn

Publisher: Unnerving | Release Date: Nov. 20, 2017 | Pages: 254 pages

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When picking up a copy of Mike Thorn's Darkest Hours, the cover art itself (which looks like an old, beat up, VHS tape) gives the reader a clear sense foreboding that they are about to enter into a dark, disturbing, and wonderfully horrific abyss. This collection of short stories covers many of the sub-genres of horror. Ranging from the terrifying to the tongue in-cheek, this is a read that is not to be missed!

Darkest Hours is a collection of sixteen horror shorts, covering sub- genres from bizarro and satirical to body horror and everything in between. The reader witnesses regular people making decisions that lead them unknowingly into extreme scenarios. Sometimes odd, sometimes creepy, but always unpredictable. There are people terrorized by demons, occult film making and, of course, some ghosts. All of which are told by Mike Thorn's distinct, intelligent, empathetic voice.

I absolutely loved this unique collection by Mike Thorn. The title, Darkest Hours, is quite appropriate due to the fact that you are taken into some very shadowy, murky places. Thorn wastes no time setting the tone for the book with his first tale titled “Hair”. You will get a taste, no pun intended, of what you are in for after this first story. And what are you in for? You have absolutely no clue! And that is fantastic! Because whatever you thought you were getting into, I guarantee you that you will be completely thrown off by this first story. From there on, you will have no idea what to expect with each story, one always distinct, and different from the last.

As “Hair” wasn't exactly my favorite, putting it at the beginning was, I believe, an intentionally skilled move for the reasons I've already delved into. So to my favorites. “Satanic Panic”- a bit of a creature feature and of course, demons. The ending made me laugh out loud! “Miction Diabolus”- a slasher tale with an '80's vibe. “Lucio Sluter”- an art student becomes a bit too involved with his favorite artist's new piece. “Economy These Days”- a bloody and violent fight club-esque musing on how far people will go to stay employed. And  “The Auteur”- about a student film maker that is a bit more progressive than her friend anticipated.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. It is evident through his writing that Thorn has a true love for the horror genre. Each of the stories were distinct and well thought out. He can write subtle horror and then switch to something weird and morbid. He masterfully uses imagery to make his fictional work all that more realistic and disturbing. But he also leaves a lot up to the readers own imagination, which doesn't always work, but in this case it was beautifully executed

Mike Thorn's Darkest Hours takes the unimaginable and makes it terrifyingly real with his beautifully grotesque sentences that lure you deeper into his dark world. Thorn skillfully shows in these sixteen short stories, that some of the best horror can evoke many other emotions than just fear. Horror can conjure empathy, sympathy, understanding, and anger, to name just a few. And Mike Thorn proves this unequivocally with this unsettling, clever, and extremely imaginative assortment of tales. This is a solid compilation of horror that every fan of the genre should read.