I’m not sure what it was about Mike Thorn and the announcement of his debut collection of short horror stories that caught my eye. I was looking through a list of Google alerts like I do every day, searching for news and various topics that might be of interest for iHorror. The announcement was short and to the point. Mike Thorn from Canada had a new short story collection releasing in November called Darkest Hours. I nearly passed it by, but something just kept pulling my eyes back to the announcement.
Not one to ignore those instincts, I reached out to Thorn and within the hour I had a digital copy of Darkest Hours and was settling in to read the first story simply titled “Hair”. I knew two things when I finished that story:
- I was completely repulsed and disturbed by what I’d just read.
- I would have missed the chance of a lifetime if I’d skipped this announcement because Mike Thorn is brilliant.
Over the course of the next 200 pages, Thorn walks the reader through a multitude of strange and unexpected landscapes in a collection that would not be out of place sitting on a shelf next to the work of Aaron Dries, Stephen King, and Clive Barker.
The stories range from dark, tongue-in-cheek humor to the truly disturbing and macabre. Take “Hair” for instance, which centers on a young man who has trichophilia. In other words, he derives sexual gratification from hair. Touching it, tasting it, sitting in a warm bath full of it…you understand why I was disturbed now. It’s only when he gives over completely to this fetish, however, that he fully understands the implications of what he’s done.
Then there’s “The Auteur” in which a horror enthusiast meets his match in the guise of pretty co-worker. She makes her own horror films and he soon discovers that what he’s watched before has not come close to preparing him for what goes on in front of her camera.
In “Economy These Days”, Thorn hones in on the lengths that people will go to find a job in the current economic environment, and let me tell you, it’s violent and bloody.
These are only three of the sixteen tales included in Darkest Hours. Thorn presents a collection of horror stories that are not only scary, but also intelligent, thoughtful, and carefully planned confronting the anxieties of modern life. It’s a collection made for the 21st century, and one that should not be missed by fans of well written horror.
Darkest Hours is available November 21, 2017 from a host of online retailers in both paperback and digital formats. To keep up with the latest updates, be sure to follow Mike Thorn on Twitter @MikeThornWrites!