Echoes of Darkness by Rob Smales
Books & Boos Press (February 2016)
265 pages; $10.79 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
Echoes of Darkness is a baker’s dozen of high caliber horror shorts; some have been published elsewhere and several are new to this collection. I can’t say I’ve read a lot of Rob Smales’ writing, but this collection has propelled him to the top of my list of writers to keep an eye on. His stories are compelling, entertaining and, on occasion, horrific.
“Death of the Boy” – Nothing like a solid zombie story, with a western flair, right from the get-go.
“A Night At the Show” – A night out at the movies is full of surprises. A nasty little tale with multiple twists and turns.
“In Full Measure” – Another great little story featuring a plague of biblical proportions, described in enough detail to make your skin crawl, followed by a chilling author’s note.
“Those Little Bastards” – A fun little Halloween tale. “That’s the bad thing about holidays – Halloween in particular. The holidays bring people together, but Halloween brings the children together, and that’s when things get bad, in my opinion.”
“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” – A story brimming with delightful twists. An untested drug yields miraculous results, but then…
“Photo Finish” – An old Polaroid camera purchased at a pawn shop and some long-expired film yield a story straight out of The Twilight Zone.
“A Man Does What’s Right” – A werewolf story chock full of surprises.
“One Sock, Two Socks” – If you’ve ever lost a sock in the process of doing your laundry, you’ll certainly relate to this one.
“Mutes” – An imaginative tale of an EMT who has a touch of the “sight.”
“On Cats and Crazy Ladies” – Clever story of the time Billy and Danger Rob set out to rob a wealthy cat lady. The story behind how Danger Rob got his name is a gem.
“Ma Liang’s Crayons” – A modern-day incarnation of an ancient Chinese legend.
“Wendigo” – Probably the grittiest story in the collection, about the sole survivor of the crash of a small plane. The author did a wonderful job of showing the deterioration of the survivor’s senses over time.
“Playmate Wanted” – What happens when a serial killer chooses the wrong victim.
Echoes of Darkness is available in both paperback and e-book formats from Books & Boos Press. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read this one at no additional charge and if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE through the Kindle Owners Lending Library.