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"A digital version was provided by John McIlveen in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."
When award-winning author John McIlveen had asked me to read his latest collection of horror, I received a couple of phone calls from some Canadian friends of mine across Lake Erie saying they heard a resounding "Yes!" come out of me.
Well, have you read Hannahwhere (2015) by this guy?
All the hype, all the talk, nominee for the Bram Stoker Award (HWA) in the First Novel category, the Drunken Druid Award for high literary merit. No? - well then ... you should.
Folks gather 'round, please. I have a few words to say ~
Having a penchant for horror, I enjoy being in the element of the macabre for a few hours here and there; escape reality and slip into the reality of an indubitable fantastic fictional horror read.
This collection of short-story horror satisfied my need? to have absconded from my domesticated duties and settle deep into my library, looking forward to an abyss of dark thoughts from an author that I know would do the trick.
McIlveen always delivers ~
..."We must never undermine the free will of another soul," she stressed. "There within lies the darkness." ...
Folks, A Variable Darkness, John McIlveen has penned stories that had literally made me pause after each tale with a shake of my head here and a shit-eatin' grin there. McIlveen comes up with such a fantastic dark way of getting a different view/opinion across to the reader. After each tale, you just want to jump into the next story. Yes, these tales are that great. So, clear your schedule for a couple hours, I'm just giving you a heads up.
The overall tone, I felt, had fit perfectly in the theme of this collection. From the beginning, with the story titled, Eve, through to the last tale, Triggers, every story is its own variable darkness. Thirteen folks, 13 tales of darkness. Character development and their dialogue brought an evocative atmosphere as in a harbinger warning you of the feelings you will own after reading these tales. And, a realization of reality you knew already existed. Only told differently ~ One can surely say, McIlveen has his own voice and style.
When I had finished the tale Eye of the Beholder, I wanted to ask McIlveen, how many more of these stories are there? And, my dear audience, after you read the tale, you'll understand that is a very important question to ask ~
Yes, I shook my head slowly and grinned a lot during this collection.
With his grasp of understanding the human psyche, very much in a social conscience style, he holds nothing back from throwing in dark darkness into a story to make you turn the page with satisfaction. After you're finished with his tales, you will realize McIlveen has the ability to take an issue or a situation and twist his dark imagination into it leaving you, the reader, appreciative of the twisted mind he lives with that he shares with the world.
And, a damn good read under your skin.
I also appreciate McIlveen peppers his friend's names and their near-by places into the stories he writes. Makes me wonder during his tales, how his friends feel about their 'participation'. More than likely, they beam. Hell, after all, McIlveen Has Their Back ~
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Here's where you can get your fingers on A Variable Darkness: