Book Title: 6 Doorways To Disturbance
Author: Darla Hogan
Publisher: Kensington Gore Publishing 2016
Source: Sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review (The image is from GOODREADS and is NOT my own)
Genre: Horror and its many varieties.
Audience: Short story/horror lovers
Buy? Read? Avoid?: Buy It
Summed up in one word: Sinister
First Impression: I have read quite a few horror short stories in these recent months and I keep waiting for them to lose their appeal, but books like this just keep fuelling that fire. Nothing is perfect of course but overall this was a great effort. As the reader I was mystified, creeped out and kept on the edge of my seat for parts of these 6 pieces of horror fiction. I will be reviewing this book as a whole as the themes within run across all the material.
Summary Of The Book:
Once you get over that evil looking cover art, tuck into 6 diverse tales that span the horror universe.
First we meet a publisher who receives quality material via email and is chilled by the graphic detail within, wanting to know his secret he pursues this author to experience his talent first hand...
Next we meet a collector. Having brought himself up from nothing and amassed a vast collection of valuable antiques, the collector is very protective of his property. Theft in his house carries the ultimate penalty...
Fellside house is the perfect place for John and Jayne to raise their family. Big, sturdy, near John's work and has plenty of land around it. Never mind its dark past that spans a whole century....
Two girls from the countryside take some interesting photographs, interesting enough for a newspaper to send out a journalist to find out the story behind it. Two days later his skeleton turns up and there is no plausible explanation of what happened to him...
Two neighbours are competing in a rose of the year competition in their local village. John's neighbour David wins every year and John has had enough. Trying to beat the odds John tries something new, but after people start dying and going missing, he begins to regret his idea...
Finally we get mixed up in obsession. Finding the woman of his dreams, an art valuer can't think of any else but her. The only downside is that the woman in question is a portrait of an unknown person. After seeing a mystic he finds out that they are destined to meet one day...but when?
As I said before I enjoy horror short stories and these were for me definitely up to standard. I do have several issues with these pieces and I will get back to these but I believe these stories contain the essence needed to scare and entertain the reader.
Let's start with some positives. The strongest area of this book is the story telling, which is important as really it is harder to build up characters in such a short period of time. The basis for every story is strong and they each work in their own way but remain connected by themes. The themes in this book are abundant, curiosity, fear, pain, suffering, black magic and sacrifice to name a few. The author weaves these themes through all 6 stories and even though each story is worlds apart from the next, they all feel connected in small ways. This book didn't make me laugh or cry but it did make me cringe, wince, feel sad and smile in places.
There are some negative points to this material, I felt they undermined the reading experience and the readers enjoyment. This for me did not stop me from enjoying the book but more fickle readers may be affected. The first major concern is the casualness that DH includes in these stories. A good portion of the stories are very subtle or even mundane until the horror kicks in and takes it up a notch. Especially the Fellside house portion of this book, I began to feel like I was actually just reading about a couple picking out their first house until the underlying horror kicked in. That leads to the other concern which is boredom, which pops up here and there as a result of the more casual and uneventful parts. There was not enough to flag a real cause for concern, but it is there and I had to mention it. I really look forward to reading some of Darla Hogan's more intense fiction, I hope he doesn't hold back as much as he did here.
I have quite a few favourite parts of this material. My Lady, the last story in 6DTD for me was the most chilling, it is really out there and it totally works as horror fiction. The writing is so vivid when DH is doing his thing and I wish there was more of it. There are some truly great talking points to this book but I don't want to get into it too much as I will spoil everything for everyone who reads this. There is no new ground being covered here but its the unique touches to the usual horror set ups that makes this book worth reading.
Overall I do recommend buying this book. I know I am critical of it as casualness for me doesn't belong with horror but that is personal opinion and it does actually work to accentuate and intensify the horror parts when they appear. If you love short stories or the horror genre then this is definitely for you!
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