Freshly carved from Corpus Press and edited by Evans Light, Doorbells at Dusk dims the glow of other Halloween horror anthologies.
Frankly, this was one of the best books of 2018- so far. All the stories were unique and had such a personality of their own, all while maintaining the image of the Halloween season so many of us have in our mind’s eye. Ghouls, goblins, witches, and plenty of pumpkins haunt the pages of such creative tales. Some will make your eyes widen and your hands tighten on the covers (looking at you, “Adam’s Bed.”) I know my heart broke just a wee bit at the conclusion of “Vigil.” Others will make you smile more manically than the villains, and the rest offer up new horrors to think about when the leaves start to decay, especially “Rusty Husk.” “Mr. Impossible” will have you engrossed in adventure and mayhem so vivid that it could be your own memory.
It’s difficult to pinpoint a downside; even the order of the anthology is appropriate in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Like most anthologies, there are stories that didn’t resonate on a personal level quite like its compatriots. Some stories I had no connection with but still came out of entertained and filled with lore that I generally wouldn’t turn to during October (think fairies, Dia de los Muertos, alternative dimensions) and that was refreshing. Not to say that plastic pumpkins and gore are tired, but the insight of what others deem as eerie and magical was a treat. The extreme differences between some chapter’s themes was also oddly refreshing. Nothing is similar to the other, except maybe the delicious descriptions of autumnal sunsets and the starkness of the changing colors. A few aren’t as doused in the Halloween theme but have a sufficient amount of elements to call themselves a Halloween story. There’s a tale for every fan of horror in here, whether you are obsessed with the holiday or not.
It’s insane how much atmosphere is jam packed in this collection. If the only “fall” thing you do this year is settle down with hot cider and this book, you’ll be covered in terms of scares, spooks, and chilly feelings.
In short, these are some of the best god damn shorts I’ve read. They capture the essence of the season in wicked ways that I personally couldn’t have imagined.
Sweet ass cover art by Mikio Murakami
Doorbells at Dusk is available NOW for purchase here. Don’t miss out on a chance to pumpkin-spice up your October.