Dark Screams: Volume One

Dark Screams: Volume One - Brian James Freeman, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, Richard Chizmar, Stephen King Since these are short stories, I can’t talk too much about them without giving away the plot. I enjoyed all of the stories and several were excellent, including an oldie but goodie from Stephen King. (See individual ratings below)

Weeds by Stephen King
Early Stephen King. I remember this story from the first Creepshow movie although the story here is not nearly as comic as the movie and much darker. King captures the spirit, dark humor, and fun of EC Comics perfectly. The kid who grew up on their stories grew up to write one which would have been one of their all time best. Yet, with King, despite the humor, the over the top cheesy dialogue and the fairly predictable plot he still manages to instill humanity to the character and make us care about him. The ending is also a real chiller. (5 stars)

The Price You Pay by Kelley Armstrong
Very dark crime story with several twists and turns along the way that tells us the nice guys don't always finish last. (3.5 stars)

Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini
Interesting “Diary of a Madman” type story that actually uses the epistolary form very well. Well done with a great ending. (4.0)

Murder in Chains by Simon Clark
Our hero wakes to himself connected by a long chain to a huge homicidal maniac. The action is relentless as you would expect. What I did not expect was that this story would be so interesting that I wish that it was just the first chapter in a longer work. (4.5)

The Watched by Ramsey Campbell
Nightmarish. Surreal. Just what you would expect from Ramsey Campbell. I felt as disoriented and full of dread as the protagonist. (5.0)