I’m a big fan of Keith Anthony Baird’s work. His two previous novels, The Jesus Man and Nexilexicon were thoroughly enjoyable, and pretty dark. So now he’s gone and released a collection of short stories. So the question is, can he write shorties as well as longies?
And a Dark Horse Dreamt of Nightmares (which is an awesome title) contains six stories, all very different from one another. You may be forgiven for thinking this was an anthology, although each tale carries a similar air of unease penned from the same dark and twisted mind.
There’s gore, ghosts, monsters, supernatural horror, and some definite ‘eww’ moments, all pulled off brilliantly.
The Sable Lane Catering Company introduces a chef who cooks with not your standard ingredients. It’s people on the menu tonight, folks. You can’t help but warm to this character, even though he undertakes some abhorrent acts. The ending to this was great, not what I was expecting at all. But of course, I’m saying no more.
A good old fashioned revenge tale follows, with John: Carpenter. This one had some great gore-splattered deaths and even though belief had to be somewhat suspended throughout, did nothing to take away the enjoyment. Think 80s splatterfest at its very best.
Skullcherry Orchard follows a group of supernatural enthusiasts as they travel to a creepy haunted house to find some real life (probably not the best term) ghosts. Tensions ignite between them as they spend the night in the house, hoping to capture some great footage. But this place is infamous for a very good reason. There’s a real sense of unease here that picks away at you while reading. You just know something bad’s going to happen but you’re powerless to stop it.
The conversational tone of What’s in the Box? hides, on the surface at least, the true terrors of a mysterious box that is found in different places throughout history. This read almost as an anecdotal horror story. But was exactly is in that box? Well, terrible things happen to those who try to find out.
Set in the Carpathian Mountains, Mother Rain and Father Wolf is the tale of a group on an archeological dig. When they find a sacred tomb, one that the locals are frightened to visit or even talk about, they celebrate like it’s 1999. But unbeknownst to the happy party-goers, they’ve just released a malevolent beast with a lust for blood.
The closer, Floor 9, has a great modern-day Lovecraftian feel to it. When a cop sees things not meant for human eyes, he tries to explain himself to Internal Affairs. The mystery revolving around these ‘things’ is enough to induce madness, though. The man is convinced no one will believe what he saw, but maybe they will.
These six stories are a great addition to the KAB Universe. If you haven’t already then go and pick this up. Then involve yourself in The Jesus Man and Nexilexicon, too.
Categories: book review