Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction edited by Kenneth W. Cain
Crystal Lake Publishing (March 2017)
217 pages; $13.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction features twenty-five stories. In any collection of this size, there are bound to be some hits and some misses along the way. Fortunately, there are more of the former, leading me to suggest this work be added to your personal TBR list.
If you enjoy your horror with a touch of Lovecraft, I believe you’ll appreciate this body of work from Kenneth W. Cain more than you would otherwise.
The book begins with “The Chamber.” A visit to a place of unspeakable horror brings back nightmares, but not of what the reader might imagine. A most interesting and somewhat Lovecraftian beginning to the collection.
Not all of the stories in Embers have creatures with tentacles. For example. “Valerie’s Window” is a zombie tale where the heroine is dealing with something much worse than the mere undead.
If you miss the tentacles, you don’t have to wait long. They’re back in “A Window To Dream By,” a short story with a killer opening line:
Despite her tentacles and lack of human arms and legs, Seth had an inexplicable attraction to the woman.
Rather than doing a synopsis of every story, here are a few of the highlights. I really enjoyed “To Save One Life” in which a spider named Boris plays a rather important role. In “Of Both Worlds, if you’re perceived as a monster, you might as well be one. And then there’s “Water Snake,” featuring huge snakes capable of swallowing a fully grown human. Well-told and frightening.
I might not have loved every story in this collection, but I would certainly return for a second helping of tales from Kenneth W. Cain.