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review 2018-11-12 03:07
Review of Suspended in Dusk II, edited by Simon Dewar
Suspended in Dusk II - Simon Dewar

Anthologies are always something I both look forward to and dread. I love short stories, but I rarely like more than one or two stories in an anthology that I'm reading and often I hate the rest. This is one of my exceptions. I liked almost every story and I loved several of them. I didn't care for a few but they were the minority. I've seen the process for a few anthologies, and between submissions, editing, and just being able to pick stories that mesh well together, I have nothing but admiration for someone who can make one read more like a book than just a collection of stories.

 

My favorite story was Lying in the Sun on a Fairy Tale Day by Bracken MacLeod. My other favorites were: The Immortal Dead by J.C. Michael, Dealing in Shadows by Annie Neugebauer, The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden, and Wants and Needs by Paul Michael Anderson. My least favorite part of reviewing is telling you what I didn't like about a book or a story. The only story I truly disliked in this collection was The Hopeless in the Uninhabitable Places and not entirely for the story itself, which I thought was okay. The biggest issue I had with this one was the complete lack of punctuation in dialogue. I realize that some people consider this a "style," but I find it annoying and feel that it makes the story seem less coherent.

 

Overall I think that Suspended in Dusk II is a solid anthology with some amazing authors, who I already knew, and a few I am happy to have discovered. I would highly recommend it and as I haven't read the first anthology, I am looking forward to reading that as well.

 

I received a copy of this from the editor in exchange for an honest review.

 

@ 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-09 22:44
Suspended in Dusk II by Simon Dewar
Suspended in Dusk II - Simon Dewar

Suspended in Dusk II by Simon Dewar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seventeen stories that tell of life and death and those happenings inbetween, where change is all but inevitable. Be prepared for horrors of all kinds, some more subtle than others.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Grey Matter Press for giving me the opportunity.

First of all, I appreciated the large amount of diversity in this book; from the foreword it became clear that individuals of all shapes of life were given the chance to contribute, and I feel that’s largely absent in anthologies these days. It’s a shame, because nobody, no matter what ethnicity or sexuality or whatever else, should be excluded from such opportunities to expand their craft.

I’ll admit however, this anthology started off as rather weak for me, with stories I didn’t much care for situated right at the beginning. Angeline by Karen Runge was about, what I assumed to be, sexual abuse at a young age and the resulting aftermath in later years, whilst The Sundowners by Damien Angelica Walters focused on the complications of old age, and they were certainly interesting to a degree, but they both fell a bit short. Crying Demon by Alan Baxter made me smile, as I’m a personal fan of horror games, yet whilst it held a great deal of potential, it didn’t make it to the top of the list. Still Life with Natalie by Sarah Read was far too verbose, even for my tastes, and Love is a Cavity I Can’t Stop Touching by Stephen Graham Jones didn’t really include all that much. Yes, cannibalism is one of my most favoured themes, but the story struck me as hollow. The Immortal Dead by J. C. Michael also didn't do much for me - I mean, it wasmwell-written but just a little bland.

Now, let’s get into the stories that made an excellent impression and completely changed my overall thoughts regarding the book.

There’s No Light Between Floors by Paul Tremblay
A man emerges into something catastrophic, where gods freely roam. I feel like this is the one to either love or hate, as it’s left intentionally vague as to what’s actually happening, and it’s that obscurity that might put off a lot of readers. I tried to look at it from a different angle and take events less literal than how they were described by the character. My conclusion and subsequent theory was that his worldly perspective was entirely skewed, perhaps from trauma. I do enjoy tales that hold a deeper meaning, where I need to put my thinking cap on.

That Damned Cat by Nerine Dorman
A cult try to summon A Duke of the Ninth Infernal Circle, yet events take a rather odd turn. This surprised me - I never thought I’d be so entertained and find humour amongst this collection, but Simon Dewar clearly had his head screwed on right, as this in particular was incredibly engaging.

Riptide by Dan Rabarts
Desperate for revenge, a man sets out to hunt down the monster that took his family. I regarded this one as possibly the strongest addition. It introduced me to the taniwha, which compelled me to further read into Māori mythology. It was memorable in the sense that it was a perfect mini-novel, with a start, middle and end that captivated me the whole time.

It occurs to me that this review is already too long, so I'll refrain from writing a ten-page essay. Suffice it to say, the rest of these stories had me hooked, and there was a tremendous amount of variety in tone, atmosphere, and writing. In some, like Dealing in Shadows by Annie Neugebauer, I felt emotion, and in others, such as An Elegy for Childhood Monsters by Gwendolyn Kiste, I experienced a sense of fascination. Seriously, every one offered me something new.

In conclusion: I believe there's something here for everyone to enjoy. Naturally, there were the weaker links, but it was a simple matter of them not being my sort of thing. Those that did appeal to me, really made Suspended in Dusk II worth it.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/09/09/suspended-in-dusk-ii-by-simon-dewar
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review 2015-08-28 08:48
Suspended in Dusk
Suspended In Dusk - Books of the Dead,Simon Dewar,Jack Ketchum

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Not as horrific a I expected it to be, or maybe I'm just hard to scare, at least when it comes to what tends to spook a lot of people? This said, while none of the works here jumped at me as being absolutely striking, none was abysmal either, and it was still an interesting collection of stories—some closer to "traditional" horror (zombies, vampires...), and some mixing their scary revelations with elements appearing out of tales at first. Only at first.

The ones I liked best:

"Shadows of the Lonely Dead", in which a hospice nurse can feel the impending death of her patients and take this darkness into herself, looking for a reason to this strange power of hers.

"Burning": a store burns at night, but the people of the town do not seem eager to do anything about it, nor to worry too much about the people who live there. Not a traditional horror story, but one that plays on different horrors, unfortunately so close to our world that they're made even more terrible.

"Ministry of Outrage": a secret government body engineers situations to keep the masses in control. Made scarier by the fact it's not even so far-fetched, in a conspiracy-theory kind of way.

"Digging Deep": being buried alive is probably an atavistic terror for most of us. But being rescued may be even more terrible...

"Hope Is Here": when a group taking care of homeless people also takes matters in hand, making sure that they have all the right candidates for their program.

"Negatives": creepy abandoned theme park is creepy. Twins go to a derelict place to take pictures, and find out what's on the other side of the mirror—and that dreams can so easily turn into nightmares.

"A Keeper of Secrets": when a little girl meets a fae child in the attic, and starts whispering secrets to keep her new friend strong and alive.

"The Way of All Flesh": this story about a man who comes into a small rural town has two elements that tend to fascinate me—small towns with not so innocent inhabitants, and a flesh-eating killer.

Other stories worth mentioning, even though they may not be the ones I'll remember in the long term: "Fit Camp", "Maid of Bones", "At Dusk They Come". Overall this anthology is a good pick, especially if you scare more easily than I do.

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review 2015-04-20 03:28
Definitely Worth a Try
Suspended In Dusk - Books of the Dead,Simon Dewar,Jack Ketchum

Suspended in Dusk is an anthology full of creepy horror stories. It starts off with a story about an aid that embraces death, continues with an elderly couple that will sacrifice anyone to survive and just goes from there.
Like any anthology, there are some stories I liked and some stories that were just creepy. Regardless, I found each story well written and definitely worth a try for anyone that likes horror stories.

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review 2014-10-26 16:17
Suspended in Dusk edited by Simon Dewar
Suspended In Dusk - Books of the Dead,Simon Dewar,Jack Ketchum

 

(Just before posting this review, I discovered that this book is currently free until Halloween! If this book looks good to you, click here . Promo coupon: DA68M)

When I saw this come up for review, I grabbed it. I've always had a fondness for anthologies and this one did not disappoint. The theme of this collection is dusk. "...dusk is the time between the light and the dark. A time between times." These tales are loosely connected by that thread. There's a nice introduction by Jack Ketchum and that made me excited to continue. Speaking of which-I'm not going to mention and rate every story, I'm going to briefly talk about the tales that stood out for me.

 

Shadows of the Lonely Dead by Alan Baxter: I enjoyed this tale of a hospice worker; it reminded me of John Coffey from The Green Mile. 3.5*

 

A Woman of Disrepute by Icy Sedgwick: This was a gothic style story with a Jack the Ripper feel. I thought this one ROCKED. 4.5*

 

Burning by Rayne Hall: I normally dislike tales with  lessons to be learned, but I liked this one quite a bit. It didn't shy away from the ugliness-it presented it all in its horrible glory. 4.*

fire

Ministry of Outrage by Chris Limb: This story was wildly imaginative and I loved it. 5*

 

Reasons to Kill by J.C. Michael: I've read a ton of vampire tales in my time, but this one stood out just the same. I loved the idea of vampire nests. Okay, not totally original, I know, -but this nest and these vampires are a bit different than the norm. 4*

 

Digging Deep by Ramsey Campbell: A story about being buried alive. 'Nuff said. 5*

 

Hope Is Here by Karen Runge: "THE SUNSHINE GROUP: WE ARE HERE TO MAKE THE WORLD A CLEAN AND HAPPY PLACE!" This was another favorite of mine. Sadly, it doesn't feel like it's too far out of the realm of possibility at times. 5*

 

Would To God That We Were There by Tom Dullemond: Another story about a psycho in space. It worked for me. 4*

 

Negatives by Wendy Hammer: A cool tale about an abandoned amusement park with a secret. 4*

 

 negatives Fit Camp by Shane McKenzie: My friends have been urging me to read more from this guy. After reading this crazy story about a kid at fat camp and his great decision that went bad, I'll be doing just that. 4.5*

 

Quarter Turn To Dawn by Sarah Read: I don't even know what to say, this story was messed up. A hotel, a volcano and people turning into...? 4* 

 

The Way of All Flesh by Angela Slatter: A turn the tables type of story. I enjoyed it. 4*

 

Overall, this was an enjoyable collection. I especially liked that there was a good number of contributions from female authors and they were GOOD. I will be tracking down to read more from these authors in the future. Recommended to fans of anthologies featuring a wide variety of stories and authors.    

 

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this anthology to honestly review for www.Horrorafterdark.com and this is it.

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