Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Grey Matter Press publishes several anthologies of science fiction and horror; Dark Visions, the sequel Dark Visions 2, Equilibrium Overturned: Staring into the Heart of Darkness, Ominous Realities: The Anthology of Dark Speculative Horrors and Splatterlands: Reawakening of the Splatterpunk Revolution. The electronic version of this novel was released exclusively on Amazon in September of 2013, while the trade paperback version was released as a follow up a few days later. Dark Visions Volume 2 was released later on in the year as a sequel anthology due to the success of the first one.
In Dark Visions 1 there are thirteen tales of modern urban horror written by some of the most promising talent from around the world and Dark Visions has so much impact on the reader that it has its own website. The book is full of dark, urban and horrid tales by Jonathan Maberry, Jay Caselberg, Ray Garton, Jonathan Balog and Charles Austin Muir. These are not the sort of stories published in other anthologies. These are called Dark Visions for a reason; each story comes with a one page biography of the authors writing careers with some having more writing experience than others, and they do leave you wondering about the characters at the end.
The cover art is strange as it is a grey scale picture with what looks like a darkly twisted creature behind the blood red text of the book’s title. The back cover is even weirder yet you can just make out the rest of the creature’s face and that it is actually somehow humanoid in appearance. This is what gets you to want to read the blurb on the back, just to get an idea of what to expect if you do open the book.
Starting with the first story, “Mr. Pockets: A Pine Deep Story by Jonathan Maberry. Maberry tells us about Lefty Horrigan, the son of a baseball nut who hoped he had sired a possible baseball player in Lefty, but Lefty became something of a disappointment to him. As Lefty is ostracised by his father, he becomes something of a bad kid who gets into all kinds of trouble, but there is one event he can’t get out of. Jay Caselberg’s “Collage,” starts out as a man grieving the loss of his wife after a hit and run accident before it turns into a tale of one man’s butchery, he commits murder to keep the memory of his wife alive. Sarah L. Johnson’s “Three Minutes,” has a man making a decision in front of his dream demon, and there is no good outcome for the other person he goes against, only him. Most of the stories here aren’t normal, to the point where you start to feel emotions for the characters, then the story that unfolds leads to change your mind die to the horror involved. If you want to read an anthology different from the rest – choose this one.