A Variable Darkness by John McIlveen ~ 2021


These tales had me absorbed ... appreciating the dark

Publisher: Haverhill House Publishing LLC; 1st edition (February 4, 2021)
Publication date: February 4, 2021
Pages: 274
Hardcover - 978-1-949140-26-2
Paperback - 978-1-949140-25-5
Cover illustration and design © 2021 David Dodd
Illustration for Got Your Back © 2016 Dyer Wilk
Introduction: Tony Tremblay
Afterward: Izzy Lee

"A digital version was provided by John McIlveen in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

5 Stars

John McIlveen
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 ~

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. And hell,  this collection of short-story horror had 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, clear your schedule for a couple hours, I'm just giving you a heads up.

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. McIlveen brings his character developments and their dialogue to 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. Glad I came across his works through this trek in life.

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. After you're finished with these 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 nearby 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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I would suggest and highly recommend ~

Here's where you can get your fingers on A Variable Darkness:
  • Amazon  ~  Hardcover $27.95  ~  Paperback $17.95  ~  Kindle $7.99   USD
  • Barnes & Noble  ~  Hardcover $27.95  ~  Paperback $17.95  ~  NOOK $7.49  USD
  • IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores

About the author:

Connect with John

John M. McIlveen is the author of the paranormal suspense novel, HANNAHWHERE  -Winner of the 2015 Drunken Druid Award (Ireland) and Nominee for the 2015 Bram Stoker Award.

He is also the author of two story collections, INFLICTIONS, and JERKS AND OTHER TALES FROM A PERFECT MAN and the well-received novelette GOT YOUR BACK.

A father of five daughters, he works at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and is CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Haverhill House Publishing LLC
He lives in Haverhill, MA with his wife, Roberta Colasanti.

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~ Folks, enjoy my review of HANNAHWHERE along with my interview ~

A fast-paced emotionally complex intriguing read. Flooded with social issues of child abuse, child neglect, drug addicts, murder, and love with a dash of hope.

The ending is quite satisfying knowing there is a smile with relief as madness sets in.

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