Dark Screams
Kelley Armstrong, Stewart O’Nan, Taylor Grant, Jonathan Moore, Peter Straub, and Lee Thomas weave six hair-raising yarns proving that appearances can be deceiving—and deadly—in this horror anthology assembled by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar.  INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley Armstrong Vivienne dreams of moving up in the company, and now she’s got her chance. All the company asks in return is that she prove her absolute devotion by playing a simple, silly little game.  SUMMER OF ’77 by Stewart O’Nan Suntanned and bleached blond, the boys and girls of summer never expect anything to interrupt their carefree days. They never see me coming until it’s too late.  THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant Emma was the great love of his life, even after she vanished. So when she reappears at a cocktail party fifteen years later, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her from slipping away again.  THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore When a body goes missing from the morgue, Detective Nakahara is called in to investigate. Despite the storm, it should be a simple case. After all, a dead body can’t just walk out on its own . . . right?  VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter Straub At six years old, Clyde noticed that his reflection decided not to show up in the mirror. Whenever it happens, he just needs to go through the mirror and fetch him. The trick is making it back.  TORN by Lee Thomas Luther’s Bend is the kind of place where bad things just aren’t supposed to happen, but even the sleepiest towns have secrets . . . and the full moon can bring retribution for all manners of sins.  

Dark Screams Details

TitleDark Screams
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 9th, 2018
PublisherHydra
Rating
GenreHorror, Short Stories, Anthologies

Dark Screams Review

  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    My love of horror shorties continues! As with most volumes of Dark Screams, this was a mixed bag of dark, creepy and intense stories that had by far the most gore. There are definitely two standouts here that are what pushed this rating up to 4 stars.'Invitation to the Game' and 'Torn' had me engaged right from the start. Well written, imaginative and disturbing from start to finish.I'm a huge fan of this series and look forward to the next set of shorties to escape in.ARC provided by NetGalley
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  • Char
    January 1, 1970
    DARK SCREAMS: VOLUME NINE was a ton of fun! I was most especially impressed with the last entry TORN by Lee Thomas. I'm not even going to get into what TORN was about because I think it should be related exactly as the author intended. I will say that even though this is a longer story than I usually care for in an anthology, it kept me riveted, it was original and I LOVED it!THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant was another original entry and this one had a science fiction bent to it that I enjoyed. I DARK SCREAMS: VOLUME NINE was a ton of fun! I was most especially impressed with the last entry TORN by Lee Thomas. I'm not even going to get into what TORN was about because I think it should be related exactly as the author intended. I will say that even though this is a longer story than I usually care for in an anthology, it kept me riveted, it was original and I LOVED it!THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant was another original entry and this one had a science fiction bent to it that I enjoyed. I would love to see this idea expanded to a full length novel.SUMMER OF 07 by Stewart O'Nan. A super short story that reminded me of Ted Bundy. THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore was an unsettling tale set at the morgue. INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelly Armstrong. This was another tale that had a science fiction bent to it, in my view. It's about a corporation that controls, (or attempts to control?) all aspects of its employees lives. When they send you an invitation, it is unwise to decline. Lastly, there was a story from Peter Straub: VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD. I admit that the reason I requested an ARC of this book was due to Straub. I have such love for him and for Seinfeld, for that matter, but this story didn't do much for me. Overall, I had fun with this volume, (most especially the story TORN!), and I recommend it to dark fiction and science fiction lovers everywhere!*Thanks to NetGalley and to Hydra for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    I love these collections of creepy, demented stories. Each volume seems to improve on the last. Volume 9 features six horror stories:Invitation to the party - Kelly Armstrong. Vivienne comes home from work one day and finds an invitation waiting for her. Not just any invite.... The Invitation. An announcement from her employer that she is being promoted to an executive job. But first, she will have to play The Game. This story puts a new spin on the horrors of the corporate world. Great story!Su I love these collections of creepy, demented stories. Each volume seems to improve on the last. Volume 9 features six horror stories:Invitation to the party - Kelly Armstrong. Vivienne comes home from work one day and finds an invitation waiting for her. Not just any invite.... The Invitation. An announcement from her employer that she is being promoted to an executive job. But first, she will have to play The Game. This story puts a new spin on the horrors of the corporate world. Great story!Summer of '07 - Stewart Nan. A Bundy-like predator has fun at the beach. He won't hurt you. Really. A short, but very creepy tale. The Dead Years - Taylor Grant. Emma Grace has been dead for 15 years. Until her former boyfriend meets her at an art auction. Could it be Emma? Or just her face? Chilling story of the horrors of finding a long lost love. The Blackout - Jonathan Moore. The police are called to the hospital morgue. A body is missing, but evidence at the scene seems all wrong. Great story! My favorite in this collection! Variations on a theme from Seinfeld - Peter Straub. Clyde knows when his reflection gets lost that all he needs to do is go through the mirror and fetch it. Sometimes finding his way back is a bit difficult. A bit trope-y, but a good story.Torn - Lee Thomas. 11-year old Maggie Mayflower leaves her house to go to the park with a friend. She never comes home. Turns out, the person who kidnapped her really is a monster. Great scary story. A bit long....but so enjoyable that I didn't mind the length. All in all, a varied, creepy and enjoyable horror collection. I can't wait til the next volume comes out! I'm never disappointed. **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Random House - Hydra via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 starsDark Screams: Volume Nine is an anthology with six horror stories. This is not a genre that I normally read. But Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite authors. So I knew that I wanted to read her story included in this anthology.The six stories in this horror anthology are:1)INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley Armstrong2)SUMMER OF ’77 by Stewart O’Nan3)THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant4)THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore5)VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter Straub6)TORN by Lee ThomasM 3.5/5 starsDark Screams: Volume Nine is an anthology with six horror stories. This is not a genre that I normally read. But Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite authors. So I knew that I wanted to read her story included in this anthology.The six stories in this horror anthology are:1)INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley Armstrong2)SUMMER OF ’77 by Stewart O’Nan3)THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant4)THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore5)VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter Straub6)TORN by Lee ThomasMy reviews of each story:INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley Armstrong:This was such a great story. It features Vivienne, who comes home from work and gets "the invitation". Vivienne's employer was so creepy and disturbing. They send an invitation to join their executive. The invitation is to the Game. But none of the employees know what the game is. This story was easy to follow, interesting, and I could not put it down. This story was very original and well written.SUMMER OF ’77 by Stewart O’Nan: This story was very short. It was about a guy with a cast and what he did to some people. It was short, creepy, but not very easy to follow.THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant:This one was very easy to follow. His girlfriend Emma Grace disappeared 15 years ago. Now he sees a woman 15 years later who looks exactly like her. Is it her? This story started off very strong for me. I loved the beginning. However, I found the premise very disturbing. And I wanted more from the ending. THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore: This one was enjoyable. Detective Nakahara investigates a body that disappears from the morgue. This one was easy to follow. But the ending was too abrupt.VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter Straub:Since he was little Clyde has noticed that he could not see his reflection in the mirror. This story was very short. But I found it very confusing.TORN by Lee Thomas:This story takes up the last half of the book. The story begins with a child, Maggie disappearing. Sheriff Cranston has to figure out who or what is involved. This story was easy to follow. But it was super long compared to all of the other stories in this anthology. This story was chilling and well written. But it definitely dragged for me in places. I loved the beginning. But then the story took a turn that I didn't like as much. Also this story was the goriest and had some crude language. The end was absolutely heart-breaking.Overall, this anthology had some good stories. My favorites were The Invitation and The Blackout.Thanks to netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Hydra for allowing me to read this book.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    There are a few gems in this volume but some of the other stories really missed the mark. Invitation to the Game and The Dead Years were exceptional. The Blackout had a cool plot but wasn't a smooth read for me. The remaining shorts didn't cut it.
  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I love horror stories, and have read most of the volumes in this series. It is always a pleasure to read these collections.INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley ArmstrongDefinitely one of my favorites. Probably because I like the concept so much. An evil, all knowing corporation that asks absolute obedience from its employees. Vivienne is up for promotion at her company, and all she has to do is play a game. Everyone who wants to move up plays the game. How ambitions is she really?SUMMER OF ’77 by St I love horror stories, and have read most of the volumes in this series. It is always a pleasure to read these collections.INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley ArmstrongDefinitely one of my favorites. Probably because I like the concept so much. An evil, all knowing corporation that asks absolute obedience from its employees. Vivienne is up for promotion at her company, and all she has to do is play a game. Everyone who wants to move up plays the game. How ambitions is she really?SUMMER OF ’77 by Stewart O’NanMy least favorite story of the bunch. A stream of consciousness, rambling look into the mind of a serial killer. Since he appeared to be a well known serial killer, the story didn't feel new or fresh to me. The only dud of the bunch.THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor GrantA really interesting concept. A man comes across the love of his life, a woman he hasn't seen for 15 years. Of course it isn't really the same woman, but how does she have her face? The story starts out creepy and then goes really dark.THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan MooreAn intriguing take on the "zombie" genre. The Hawaiin setting really added to the atmosphere.VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter StraubI like the concept of the world in the mirror. Stories like this are the reason I don't look too closely into the mirror late at night.TORN by Lee ThomasThe longest story in the book. A play on the werewolf tale. I could have done without the backstory of an affair, but otherwise, I really enjoyed this one. It was long enough to really have a lot of detail without being too long.I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Irene
    January 1, 1970
    Another great collection of short stories that will be published shortly after the new year. For me the shining stars of this anthology are Kelly Armstrong and Lee Thomas. In "Invitation To the Game" Vivienne is up for a promotion at work. Normally that would be a good thing, but this company is anything but normal.In "Torn" Eleven year old Maggie didn't come home when she was meant to and the sheriff finds more than he is looking for when he sets out into the woods to find her. Luther's Bend is Another great collection of short stories that will be published shortly after the new year. For me the shining stars of this anthology are Kelly Armstrong and Lee Thomas. In "Invitation To the Game" Vivienne is up for a promotion at work. Normally that would be a good thing, but this company is anything but normal.In "Torn" Eleven year old Maggie didn't come home when she was meant to and the sheriff finds more than he is looking for when he sets out into the woods to find her. Luther's Bend is full of secrets. The sheriff may have a few of his own. This was the longest and creepiest of all the stories.I received an advance copy for review.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Hydra and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Dark Screams: Volume Nine. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.Dark Screams: Volume Nine is one of my favorites in the series, as the offerings in this book are both scary and complement each other well. My favorite short story is Invitation to the Game, as it is about one woman's loss of control of her own life. I was also a big fan of The Blackout, for its elements of horror and surprise. Put th Hydra and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Dark Screams: Volume Nine. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.Dark Screams: Volume Nine is one of my favorites in the series, as the offerings in this book are both scary and complement each other well. My favorite short story is Invitation to the Game, as it is about one woman's loss of control of her own life. I was also a big fan of The Blackout, for its elements of horror and surprise. Put the words morgue and missing body in a story and it is guaranteed to be scary.Summer of '77 was my least favorite in Dark Screams: Volume Nine because the author did not take the idea far enough. It was too short and was the least scary of the book, although it did have the potential to provoke maximum horror. I was also not a fan of Variations on a theme from Seinfeld, as it was a story devoid of enough substance to peak my interest.Finally, both The Dead Years and Torn were equally spooky and scary, with enough mystery and thrilling moments to keep me interested. I liked the unexpected aspects of both stories and thought they were good additions to the book. Readers who like horror short stories will like the Dark Screams series overall and Volume Nine in particular.
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  • Banshee
    January 1, 1970
    This anthology consist of a collection of horror stories. These stories are from six well known authors. The stories were good but not scary. The writing was phenomenal and the story lines were well written. My favorite story was The Dead Years by Taylor Grant while my least favorite story was Variations on a Theme from Seinfeld by Peter Straub. The last story was half the novel which I though was weird but it was good so it was worth it, just not used to having a story be so long. Thank you Net This anthology consist of a collection of horror stories. These stories are from six well known authors. The stories were good but not scary. The writing was phenomenal and the story lines were well written. My favorite story was The Dead Years by Taylor Grant while my least favorite story was Variations on a Theme from Seinfeld by Peter Straub. The last story was half the novel which I though was weird but it was good so it was worth it, just not used to having a story be so long. Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing House for this advanced reading copy. Invitation to the Game by Kelley Armstrong - 4/5 StarsVivienne is offered a chance to become an executive at the company she works for. Although this is considered an honor she's not sure she wants it. But will her company just let her walk away or do in mind? I loved the idea of company's game I just wish I knew how they did it. Not a scary story but definitely a thriller. Summer of '77 by Stewart O'Nan - 4/5 StarsThis is a super short story (maybe 10 pages) that follows an unnamed character as he enjoys his summer. Initially when I started reading this story I wasn't sure what was dark and twisted about the story but then I caught on. I'm glad Stewart O'Nan didn't go into graphic details as I hate stories with a lot of violence and gore. Overall quite a good story. The Dead Years by Taylor Grant - 5/5 StarsThe main character is still in love with his high school sweetheart even after she left him years ago. He decides to find her (Emma Grace) but things quickly derail as he finds a woman who looks like her but doesn't act like her? Is this woman Margot as she claims or is she actually Emma in disguise. This story was amazing with great characters, an interesting plot and a twisted ending. I liked reading about the main character's descent into anger and violence. Blackout by Jonathan Moore - 4/5 StarsDetective Nakahara and Lieutenant Silva are tasked with solving the case of a missing body. Rachel Ako died when she was hit by a car, only her body disappears from the morgue. Things are not as they appear as more bodies turn up. The story was good but the plot wasn't shocking. I knew what was going to happen except the very end regarding Nakahara. Well worth the read. Variations on a Theme from Seinfeld by Peter Straub - 3/5 StarsThe best way to describe this story would be its about a doppelganger who wants a new life. I found this story hard to follow and a tad bit boring. I also don't understand how the title relates to the story. Torn by lee Thomas - 3/5 StarsThe story follows a detective in a small town who is forced to face a situation way out of his league. An abduction leads to a murder which leads to something supernatural. The story was okay but it dragged on in parts. I really liked the secret the main character was harboring, even though numerous hints were given I never did figure out what/who it was. This story contained the most gore out of all stories in this anthology.
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  • Wanda Maynard
    January 1, 1970
    Another great book of horror-filled stories to keep you awake as you listen to the night sounds and glance at dark shadowy corners of, DARK SCREAMS: VOLUME NINE.Our first story titled, INVITATION TO THE GAME, by Kelley Armstrong, opens with an envelope on the kitchen table. Without opening it, Vivienne puts it in her laptop bag and continues on with her day, and doesn't think about it any more until later on that evening. Will she open it and find out who it is from and what it is for? Or will s Another great book of horror-filled stories to keep you awake as you listen to the night sounds and glance at dark shadowy corners of, DARK SCREAMS: VOLUME NINE.Our first story titled, INVITATION TO THE GAME, by Kelley Armstrong, opens with an envelope on the kitchen table. Without opening it, Vivienne puts it in her laptop bag and continues on with her day, and doesn't think about it any more until later on that evening. Will she open it and find out who it is from and what it is for? Or will she burn it? This fast-paced suspense-filled story pulled me deeper in with every word on every page as I wondered what kind of game could be transpiring. Suspense grabbed me as SUMMER OF '77 by Stewart O'Nan, For Paul Cody, began at the lake where swimming and a picnic with laughter was happening. Then these young people saw someone fooling around with a trailer hitch and went over to investigate. After the others left, two stayed around to help. Suddenly something went terribly wrong. Then just as suddenly a basement scene opened up with screaming and praying. Will someone be able to hear those screams, or will it be too late? Our next story THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant, opens with a shocking first sentence. "Emma Grace had been dead for more than fifteen years." But yet, he noticed her standing there, big as life, right before him. How could this be? She still looked the same. She hadn't changed at all. Were his eyes deceiving him? Then she spoke her name. Was it Emma, or someone who looked like her? How would he be able to find out? This story had me from the get go!! Great read!THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore, started out slow but suddenly, this unique suspense-filled horror took off with lightening speed, and I tried to keep pace with Detective Nakahara. The storm raged and he hurried along to try to get to the bottom of the problem as quick as he could before someone else got hurt or killed. Will he solve the crime, or get caught up in the thick of things? A dilemma that no one should have to face. Great title! Believable characters! Picturesque setting that was Scary indeed! Straight from nightmare city. VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter Straub, an amazing author, began with Clyde Mortar disappearing, or did he? How? Why? From his bathroom in his Georgetown row house, everything looked perfect from the bathroom mirror. But was it? Budgen Mortar, Clyde's father's older brother had decided to visit for a few weeks. During his visit, could he have been part of the disappearing problem? A deeply involved story with deeply involved characters. This next tale that seemed to come right out of a horror movie is titled, TORN by Lee Thomas. And it will take you on a horror trip that will seem more like a living nightmare. This story is filled with secrets and lies that lead to betrayal and murder. A town full of people that will soon be afraid of every moving shadow. Especially when Maggie Louise Mayflower is kidnapped. But by who or what is the reason Sheriff Cranstion is called on the case. Will he get to Maggie in time, or will it be too late? A plot that just won't quit! Characters you can't forget! A setting so unnerving and filled with shadowy figures.
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  • Paul Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Dark Screams: Volume Nine edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar (Hydra, January 2018) includes three new stories and three stories originally published in Cemetery Dance Magazine. Since the editors of Cemetery Dance edit this anthology series, it’s easy to see how they’re able to put out dozens of anthologies in just a few years and edit a magazine, too. They have twenty-five years of reprints to choose from and only need to add three new tales to create an anthology.There are four o Dark Screams: Volume Nine edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar (Hydra, January 2018) includes three new stories and three stories originally published in Cemetery Dance Magazine. Since the editors of Cemetery Dance edit this anthology series, it’s easy to see how they’re able to put out dozens of anthologies in just a few years and edit a magazine, too. They have twenty-five years of reprints to choose from and only need to add three new tales to create an anthology.There are four outstanding stories in this anthology.Best of the bunch is “Torn” by Lee Thomas. Although it’s a reprint from 2012, it has a great plot embellished with all of the tricks of the storyteller’s art: fully-developed characters, multiple mysteries to solve, dire time constraints, apt metaphors, and believable personal conflicts between husband and wife, neighbors, and first responders. It’s the longest story in the book, and it’s an almost perfect story of human compulsion and how compulsion can tear a person apart. Sheriff Bill Cranston fights monsters to save his family and his town, and the monsters are a lot different than anyone expects.Almost as strong but not as long, “The Blackout” by Jonathan Moore is an original supernatural revenge tale that reads like a police procedural. Detective Nakamura investigates the disappearance of a girl’s corpse during a storm that’s blacked out electrical power in Hawaii and finds more in the dark than he bargained for.“The Dead Years” by Taylor Grant is a haunting tale of a modern-day Helen of Troy and the price of beauty. It’s also original to this anthology.“Invitation to the Game” by Kelley Armstrong is well-written and suspenseful with a couple of nice twists. It’s also original.“Summer of ‘77” by Stewart O’Nan and “Variations on a Theme from Seinfeld” by Peter Straub, both reprints from 2009, were competent but disappointing.The four outstanding tales make Dark Screams: Volume Nine worth the price. Consider the other two stories an added bonus. Highly recommended.
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  • Dez Nemec
    January 1, 1970
    Another great iteration of the Dark Screams anthologies. This lot has a great mix of stories, and all were rather dark and disturbing. I loved it!Kelley Armstrong's Invitation to the Game: Vivienne gets an invitation to play a game, and it's an offer she can not - and will not - refuse.Summer of ‘77 by Stewart O’Nan is short, but effective. All I could think the whole time was that this was very Bundy-esque.The Dead Years by Taylor Grant makes you rethink scientific breakthroughs - and wish the Another great iteration of the Dark Screams anthologies. This lot has a great mix of stories, and all were rather dark and disturbing. I loved it!Kelley Armstrong's Invitation to the Game: Vivienne gets an invitation to play a game, and it's an offer she can not - and will not - refuse.Summer of ‘77 by Stewart O’Nan is short, but effective. All I could think the whole time was that this was very Bundy-esque.The Dead Years by Taylor Grant makes you rethink scientific breakthroughs - and wish the scientists would consider them as well. That story definitely did not end where I thought it would.Jonathan Moore's The Blackout was also full of loads of twists and turns.Torn by Lee Thomas was so very dark. Weird werewolf like creatures come to a small town...but why? It was good, but extremely bleak.Variations on a Theme from Seinfeld by Peter Straub was the only one that I was just meh about. But I am not a big Straub fan either.All in all, another great anthology from Freeman and Chizmar!
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  • Mark Smith-briggs
    January 1, 1970
    Dark Screams: volume nine serves up another six slabs of horror goodness with stories from Kelley Armstrong, Stewart O’Nan, Taylor Grant, Jonathan Moore, Peter Straub and a novella from Lee Thomas.As far as the series goes it's a bit of a mixed bag, with Grant's The Dead Years and Thomas' Torn the real highlights. Both are excellently crafted chillers that make this well worth a go. The first is a dark, twist-filled story of a man who meets a woman that looks identical to his childhood love that Dark Screams: volume nine serves up another six slabs of horror goodness with stories from Kelley Armstrong, Stewart O’Nan, Taylor Grant, Jonathan Moore, Peter Straub and a novella from Lee Thomas.As far as the series goes it's a bit of a mixed bag, with Grant's The Dead Years and Thomas' Torn the real highlights. Both are excellently crafted chillers that make this well worth a go. The first is a dark, twist-filled story of a man who meets a woman that looks identical to his childhood love that disappeared years ago, and the second a pacey Assault on Precinct 13 style action/horror with werewolves.Unfortunately the others don't quite deliver the same goods but Armstrong's Invitation to the Game and Moore's The Blackout both warrant a look.Never less, The Dark Screams series remains one of the best anthology series for short, sharp tales of the macabre at with a cover price of just $4.99 is well worth the investment.
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  • Douglas Castagna
    January 1, 1970
    Provided by Net Galley for an honest review. This was a weaker addition to the series with only one story that really out shined them all for me and that was The Dead Years by Taylor Grant. I wish was longer than it was, it started off interesting and took a dark turn and then, got even darker. Great story, strong and tense throughout and nice surprises. The other one I had read previously, and that was Torn. The longest of the additions to this volume and fairly predictable horror yarn with a " Provided by Net Galley for an honest review. This was a weaker addition to the series with only one story that really out shined them all for me and that was The Dead Years by Taylor Grant. I wish was longer than it was, it started off interesting and took a dark turn and then, got even darker. Great story, strong and tense throughout and nice surprises. The other one I had read previously, and that was Torn. The longest of the additions to this volume and fairly predictable horror yarn with a "werewolf" theme. A Sheriff following leads on a child abduction comes face to face with a man like beast that is in the process of devouring one of his deputies. The story then goes awry from there. Some good thrills but the big payoff fell flat for me.I hear ten is the final volume, I really think at this point the series could have been five excellent volumes, maybe six, the rest merely filler.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Can appearances be deceiving? Can they be deadly? How? "That is the theme of the stories in this anthology.the short stories are written. They kept my attention even when someone was knocking at the door. They left, I kept reading. My favorite story was "Torn." I have enjoyed this series very much. I hope they continue this series.Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book free from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I was not obliged to write a favorable review, or even any review at all. The Can appearances be deceiving? Can they be deadly? How? "That is the theme of the stories in this anthology.the short stories are written. They kept my attention even when someone was knocking at the door. They left, I kept reading. My favorite story was "Torn." I have enjoyed this series very much. I hope they continue this series.Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book free from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I was not obliged to write a favorable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
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  • Candy
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.There isn't much I can say about this one, since it was perhaps a bit out of my genre and comfort zone. There were a few good stories, but then one story takes half the book, and it is gory. Didn't much care for the writing or the storyline, even without the blood and guts. If you like this type of book, it might be for you.https://candysplanet.wordpress.com
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  • Vnunez-Ms_luv2read
    January 1, 1970
    I love this series, another strong entry. There is somehing for everyone. My favorite: The Invitation. Awesome anthology of short stories. I look foward to the next installment. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
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  • Benni
    January 1, 1970
    Review also posted on my blog: https://bennilovesbooks.wordpress.com...I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.Overall, this was a great anthology! I love a good horror short story, and there were a bunch of them here. My three favorites:-“Invitation to the Game” by Kelley Armstrong was a VERY strong start to this anthology. The pacing was perfect, and the use of power imbalances was extremely powerful. I am so glad they put her story first in this collection.-“The Dead Years” by Tayl Review also posted on my blog: https://bennilovesbooks.wordpress.com...I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.Overall, this was a great anthology! I love a good horror short story, and there were a bunch of them here. My three favorites:-“Invitation to the Game” by Kelley Armstrong was a VERY strong start to this anthology. The pacing was perfect, and the use of power imbalances was extremely powerful. I am so glad they put her story first in this collection.-“The Dead Years” by Taylor Grant was just creepy. It’s a story of lost love and doppelgängers that ends up being somewhat sweet with a huge dose of terrifying.-“Torn” by Lee Thomas tells the story of the aftermath of a young girl’s disappearance. This story was a bit longer and more of a slow burn, and it’s engaging through every page. (This story debatably has a “punishment for being gay” aspect to it; I don’t believe any homomisia was intended, and I still haven’t quite decided how I feel about this particular part of the story, but it could potentially be off-putting for other queer readers. There were also a couple of racial microaggressions; they didn’t feel that big to me while I was reading, but because I’m white I am not in a position to make that call.)Overall, this was a solid anthology with some great stories that are worth reading.Final rating: 4 of 5 stars.
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  • John J Questore
    January 1, 1970
    As with the other eight volumes, I received an ARC in exchange for a review. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I receive a lot of ARCs, but I have to say I look forward to the Dark Screams Anthologies the most. These are always a lot of fun, and I get exposed to some very talented writers that I wouldn’t otherwise know of.This volume holds a little special place in my collection as it includes a story by a very talented friend – Taylor Grant. I had the opportunity to re As with the other eight volumes, I received an ARC in exchange for a review. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I receive a lot of ARCs, but I have to say I look forward to the Dark Screams Anthologies the most. These are always a lot of fun, and I get exposed to some very talented writers that I wouldn’t otherwise know of.This volume holds a little special place in my collection as it includes a story by a very talented friend – Taylor Grant. I had the opportunity to read Taylor’s story back in January. If you haven’t checked this guy out, you’re missing some great stuff.So without further ado, I present my review of the six stories contained within Dark Screams: Volume 91) INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley Armstrong: I liked this story, not because it was particularly scary, but because of the premise. A company has a “game” that employees must play in order to be promoted – and the “game” isn’t as simple as it first appears.2) SUMMER OF ’77 by Stewart O’Nan: As a member of the Scouting organization for over 40 years, we’re taught to “do a good turn daily” – meaning to help people in need. Thanks to Stewart’s story, I may have to reconsider that, especially if the person is wearing a cast.3) THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant: I’ve already said how much I like Taylor’s work, and this one is no exception. A man sees his girlfriend, who has been dead for 15 years, at an art gallery - or does he? Is that really Emma, or an incredible doppelganger? A very interesting tale of love, lost, and revenge. 4) THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore: Sorry Taylor, but this one is my favorite of the lot. As I was reading this story, I kept seeing this as an episode of Hawaii Five-0 . I can’t say more without giving away the story.5) VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter Straub: It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Straub. I find him to be loquacious, tedious, and extremely hard to read – often using run-on sentences that are hard to decipher. That being said, I didn’t completely hate this story. What would you do if you looked in a mirror and suddenly your reflection didn’t show up? A nice premise on a parallel universe.6) TORN by Lee Thomas: A little sleepy town is rocked to its core by a horrifying occurrence – the abduction of a child. But as the sheriff soon finds out, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.All in all, I didn’t find any of the stories truly scary. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, for the most part they were well done, just nothing to make my pulse race, or my hairs stand on end. But don’t let that dissuade you from picking this one up. Remember, I’ve been reading horror for 45 years – it takes a lot to scare me. If you’re looking for some good stories, interesting twists, and an idea for a TV story line, pick this one up.
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  • Mommacat
    January 1, 1970
    Another mixed bag of screams from Chizmar, Freeman and Hydra. Starting at the end:Lee Thomas is the winner, winner and for my money is worth the cost of the book. There are so many layers to this story and not all is what it seems. It's a 5 star plus story.Kelley Armstrong's story was strong and a fine read. Made me wonder...Sandwiched between these two were a couple of fine stories by Grant and Moore. On the other hand, O'Nan's story was ok, and Straub's sucked.I received my copy from the publi Another mixed bag of screams from Chizmar, Freeman and Hydra. Starting at the end:Lee Thomas is the winner, winner and for my money is worth the cost of the book. There are so many layers to this story and not all is what it seems. It's a 5 star plus story.Kelley Armstrong's story was strong and a fine read. Made me wonder...Sandwiched between these two were a couple of fine stories by Grant and Moore. On the other hand, O'Nan's story was ok, and Straub's sucked.I received my copy from the publisher. It was an excellent night's read.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Judging an anthology is always difficult. Does one very good story outweigh several that are simply okay? What do you do when a single story doesn't catch your attention, but there aren't many in the volume? The truly excellent: Kelley Armstrong's "Invitation to the Game," where business and terror go hand in hand, and refusing a promotion is against company culture in all the worst ways. Perhaps it's simply a byproduct of living in the Silicon Valley, but I found it hit closest to home; work is Judging an anthology is always difficult. Does one very good story outweigh several that are simply okay? What do you do when a single story doesn't catch your attention, but there aren't many in the volume? The truly excellent: Kelley Armstrong's "Invitation to the Game," where business and terror go hand in hand, and refusing a promotion is against company culture in all the worst ways. Perhaps it's simply a byproduct of living in the Silicon Valley, but I found it hit closest to home; work is your life, and you can't leave it. Nothing else can take its place. And if you want to escape? You better hope that you're quick. The very good: "The Blackout" by Jonathan Moore. It's rare that horror anthologies tackle tropical horror, though, of course, there's plenty to be found and plenty of warm, balmy countries to hide their own folktales and monsters just beyond the banyan trees. An excellent combination of atmospheric mystery and creeping dread, the story felt like it ended slightly too soon. I would read an entire novel of supernatural Hawaiian paranormal crime solving- wouldn't you? The merely average: "Summer of '77" by Stewart O'Nan. Serial killers, beautiful blonde teenagers. Yawn. Well written and short enough to be digest-able, but not original in any sense of the word and not incredibly entertaining. Almost entirely forgettable. The weak: I'm so sorry Peter Straub. You're a horror master, but "Variations on a Theme from Seinfeld" did nothing for me. It felt disjointed, but not in a way that benefitted the tale. There wasn't enough room to spread your wings and truly get a sense of the story; it went beyond the page, but in such a way that it left the actual content wanting. Dopplegangers and mirrorselves can still be scary, should still be scary, but this was... nothing. Excellent title, however. The story I should have liked, but somehow didn't: "Torn" by Lee Thomas. The final in the volume, and by far the longest, "Torn" had all the elements I should have liked- werewolves, a kidnapped child, and a brewing sense of disaster all taking place in rural, small-town America. But nothing really clicked for me- it seemed to drag on in all the wrong places, the action going by far too quickly, and I'm going to have to take away points from Mr. Thomas from burying his gays. We read too much of it in media already, and to see it punished in such a way was distasteful to the point where I almost put it down, not wanting to read anymore. Overall, I would read the collection for "Invitation to the Game" and "Blackout" with the caveat that the rest are hit or miss, and that you may be actually insulted by the final.Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.
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  • Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    Volume 9 of Dark Screams offers a collection of six stories from different authors. This is very much a mixed bag of an anthology, and is worth reading for three of the tales, while the other three are relatively weak. The stories included are:Kelley Armstrong – Invitation to the GameStewart O’Nan - Summer of ‘77Taylor Grant – The Dead YearsJonathan Moore – The BlackoutPeter Straub – Variations on a Theme from SeinfeldLee Thomas – TornInvitation to the Game is a nicely creepy offering, reminding Volume 9 of Dark Screams offers a collection of six stories from different authors. This is very much a mixed bag of an anthology, and is worth reading for three of the tales, while the other three are relatively weak. The stories included are:Kelley Armstrong – Invitation to the GameStewart O’Nan - Summer of ‘77Taylor Grant – The Dead YearsJonathan Moore – The BlackoutPeter Straub – Variations on a Theme from SeinfeldLee Thomas – TornInvitation to the Game is a nicely creepy offering, reminding us that when something appears too good to be true, it usually is. Vivienne has an almost perfect life, working for a seemingly perfect employer. She’s offered the chance of a job promotion that she’s not sure she really wants, but finds out that sometimes you just can’t say ‘no’. The Blackout takes us to Hawaii on a wild, stormy night, where a detective is trying to solve the disappearance of the body of a teenage girl. Her body has been taken from a morgue locker, but all indications point to somebody breaking out rather than in.Torn is the longest of the stories, and possibly the best. A small-town America Sherriff finds himself dealing with the abduction of a young girl. The ensuing manhunt leads to the arrest of a feral stranger, and a night of terror which nobody could have foreseen.Only two of the six stories have been previously published elsewhere, which isn’t a bad ratio for an anthology. Anthologies are a great way to find new authors. I’m glad I read this, and will be searching out the works of Moore and Thomas to read further (I’m already an Armstrong fan). It’s a short read, so there’s nothing to lose by giving it a try. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I find it harder and harder to find a decent horror novel that doesn't rely on gore to scare the reader and is at that genuinely scary but some of the stories in this novel certainly went a good way to filling that horror void inside me.INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley ArmstrongOf course I love Kelley Armstrong she is one of my absolute favourite authors so it was no surprise that I was won over by this short story, I suspected foul play at the beginning but what I expected was completely differ I find it harder and harder to find a decent horror novel that doesn't rely on gore to scare the reader and is at that genuinely scary but some of the stories in this novel certainly went a good way to filling that horror void inside me.INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelley ArmstrongOf course I love Kelley Armstrong she is one of my absolute favourite authors so it was no surprise that I was won over by this short story, I suspected foul play at the beginning but what I expected was completely different from the reality and this was probably my favourite story in the book. It was horrifying without needing to use gore or really any form of supernatural spooks.SUMMER OF ’77 by Stewart O’NanThis was very short, and not one of my favourites it rather rambled on a bit and just was too disjointed for me to fully enjoy it.THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor GrantI really enjoyed this one! The ending came out of nowhere and although it took a while to build it was well worthwhile.THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan MooreThis vied with Invitation to be my favourite story in the book and would make an excellent horror movie. I can't say much about it without spoiling it but I'm certainly looking forward to reading more of the authors works in the future.VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD by Peter StraubPeter Straub is a master of his genre and this was no exception to that rule. TORN by Lee ThomasAnother one I enjoyed quite a lot but it could have rambled a little less, certainly worth the time it takes to read it though. Also the longest story in the book and more a novella than short story.
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  • Danielle Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley to read and review. The below is my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you, authors, the publisher, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.DARK SCREAMS is a mutli-author horror anthology. Each story can be read individually and as standalones. This publication consists of short stories, not novel-length pieces. This ninth volume consists of stories written by Kelley Armstrong ("INVITATION TO THE GAME"), Stewart O’Nan ("SUMMER OF ’77"), Taylor Grant ("THE DEAD YEAR I received an ARC from NetGalley to read and review. The below is my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you, authors, the publisher, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.DARK SCREAMS is a mutli-author horror anthology. Each story can be read individually and as standalones. This publication consists of short stories, not novel-length pieces. This ninth volume consists of stories written by Kelley Armstrong ("INVITATION TO THE GAME"), Stewart O’Nan ("SUMMER OF ’77"), Taylor Grant ("THE DEAD YEARS"), Jonathan Moore ("THE BLACKOUT"), Peter Straub ("VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD"), and Lee Thomas ("TORN"). DARK SCREAMS: Vol. 9 was an interesting, quick read. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, as this is the first volume I've read, but I was expecting horror short stories. I am slightly disappointed, as none of these stories were truly scary. In fact, most were just plain odd. I'm not sure I would categorize most of these as horror, but perhaps my threshold for fear is stronger than the typical reader's. With that being said, the anthology does offer six uniquely told tales. No two are the same, not even in writing style. While I wasn't impressed with the level of horror, I was impressed with the authors' creativity. Each story being so greatly different, there is definitely something for everyone.
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  • Laura Newsholme
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the majority of the stories in this collection and thought that they were well chosen, covering themes around family, love and monstrosity! As is the case with all Dark Screams anthologies, we have 5 short stories and one novella. Consequently, if you don't enjoy the novella, it can sour the whole experience. Luckily for me, I found Torn exciting, well written and thematically interesting...and who doesn't love a werewolf story? Invitation to the Game had a near future aesthetic that I I enjoyed the majority of the stories in this collection and thought that they were well chosen, covering themes around family, love and monstrosity! As is the case with all Dark Screams anthologies, we have 5 short stories and one novella. Consequently, if you don't enjoy the novella, it can sour the whole experience. Luckily for me, I found Torn exciting, well written and thematically interesting...and who doesn't love a werewolf story? Invitation to the Game had a near future aesthetic that I enjoyed and I found the climax pretty creepy. The Dead Years, while ridiculous in many ways, dealt with young love in a tender fashion and again, the author took us to some dark psychological places. The Blackout was suitably sinister, although predictable and the tone of both Variations on a Theme and Summer of '77 were somewhat playful, before pulling the proverbial rug out. All in all, this has been my favourite Dark Screams collection.I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    I love reading these types of books in October when the air is crisp and halloween is in the air. Short stories are the best b/c you get to sample so much. This collection of short stories was pretty good. By far my favorites were "The Blackout" and "Torn." "The Blackout" - though short - gave me that prickly feeling on my neck the way horror films did when I was a kid. It really achieved "creepy." "Torn" was great! It put me in mind of Stephen King's "Storm of the Century" with it's own spice t I love reading these types of books in October when the air is crisp and halloween is in the air. Short stories are the best b/c you get to sample so much. This collection of short stories was pretty good. By far my favorites were "The Blackout" and "Torn." "The Blackout" - though short - gave me that prickly feeling on my neck the way horror films did when I was a kid. It really achieved "creepy." "Torn" was great! It put me in mind of Stephen King's "Storm of the Century" with it's own spice to make it original and fun. It was a great read for me! Overall a solid 3.5:-)
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  • SouthernTodayGoneTomorrow
    January 1, 1970
    This is a collection of short stories by a variety of authors and I didn’t like it.It felt like they were forced out of the authors and I just don’t like them. Normally I am a fan of dark stories, but these just don’t sit well with me.Maybe if you LOVE dark horror stories, you might like this.
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  • rebecca lou
    January 1, 1970
    Getting shorter and shorter..I love these anthologies they're a compilation of Some of the best horror I've read and beautifully written. But I've noticed each anthology gets shorter and shorter til its barely a handfull of stories, not even half an hours entertainment.
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  • Mulkurul
    January 1, 1970
    Invitation to the Game by Kelley Armstrong ☆☆☆☆Summer of '77 by Stewart O'Nan ☆☆☆☆The Dead Years by Taylor Grant ☆☆The Blackout by Jonathan Moore ☆Variations on a Theme from Senfield by Peter Straub ☆☆Torn by Lee Thomas ☆☆
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  • Suzan
    January 1, 1970
    Got this for the Kelley Armstrong story. It was short but good and quite thought provoking.
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