Review: 'Dark City: A Novella Collection' by Brian Hodge and Gerard Houarner

darkcityDark City: A Novella Collection by Brian Hodge and Gerard Houarner
Necro Publications (August 2015)
240 pages; $11.95 paperback/$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Dark City is a collection of three novellas with varying takes on the apocalypse and the times following such a catastrophic event. The book features one longer piece from Brian Hodge and a couple of smaller novellas by Gerard Houarner.

“In the Negative Spaces” by Brian Hodge

Wendy Weil comes to stay at her brother’s apartment in New York City. Barrett, at the front desk, welcomes her and in a way becomes her confidant in the days that follow. While living in her brother’s apartment, Wendy discovers the dream journal of her brother’s ex who one day just disappeared. What she finds while trying to solve this mystery makes for a very interesting story.

Taking nothing away from Mr. Houarner, this was my favorite of the three stories in the collection. In promoting this work on his website Brian says the following. “And somewhere in there, caramel-and-sea-salt brownies are served. Come for the brownies, stay for the blizzard and inter-dimensional chaos.”  Nice.

“Burning Bright In the Invisible Light” by Gerard Houarner

I loved the opening line in this story: “It came to IsaBella that evening, after her husband came home, that his eyes had changed color.”  This made me want to know what that was all about.

There seems to be some zombies in this story, but they are definitely in the background. This is really a story about trying to hold onto one’s personal reality while everything around you is becoming more and more unreal.

“The Fear Puppet” by Gerard Houarner

The apocalyptic event in this story was known as The Turning. We never really learn what that meant or what the cause was, but it really didn’t matter. I liked this story better than Gerard’s other entry.

Marican works for the Ministry. While investigating the circumstances surrounding a missing man, he comes to question a teenage orphan girl named Oria, and here things get rather interesting. In Gerard’s Afterword for this tale he describes it as “Kafka meets Lovecraft. Welcome to the after party for the Apocalypse.”

Together, the three stories that make up Dark City are explorations of how life goes on in spite of dire circumstances.

Available in hardcover and trade paperback from Necro Publications and as an e-book from the usual online retailers.


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