Review of Bryan Hall’s “Whispers from the Dark”
Whispers from the Dark is a compilation of author Bryan Hall’s short horror fiction. He is releasing his first novel length story, “Containment Room Seven” fairly soon, and so compiled this list of tales, several of which have appeared in other publications, as something of a pre-release. It is a good way to get to know the author’s style of writing before plunging into his novel. Most of these stories are bite-sized morsels of horror that are a just a few brief pages in length. They run the gamut from monstrous horror to more subtlety nuanced darkness, with each having at least a bit of flavoring from Mr. Hall’s roots in the mountains of North Carolina. Some of these stories, such as “Dirt Don’t Hurt” are like a rabbit punch to the gut, giving you a quick scare, while others are more fully fleshed out with characters that are well-defined despite the short amount of space on the page they take up. The author knows how to spin a yarn, and regardless of length, there was a nice building of tension with almost all of them. Mr. Hall doesn’t waste time trying to explain the supernatural horrors his characters are facing; they are just there, and it is a credit to his writing ability that I accepted them as such, and for the most part didn’t need more detail. Because that is the allure here: I was taken into these dark spaces and given just enough understanding to have the feeling of discomfort and ominous foreboding that we horror fans love.
The only story in this anthology that I had seen before, and what drew me to checking this out, was the longest tale of them all, and the one that perhaps had the least amount of supernatural potency to it. All the same, “The Swim” was the most frightening story in this book, leaving me shattered when I first read it. It is one of the finest horror short stories I’ve ever read. Bryan hits all the right notes in that one, and pulls the emotions out of its readers like a maestro.
There is a bonus excerpt of Bryan’s novel at the end of the book of his upcoming novel, which I look forward to checking out based on the what I have seen of his short story work. Check this out, and give his novel a shot as well, once it’s released.
Whispers from the Dark can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Whispers-From-The-Dark-ebook/dp/B005Q339DQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320360457&sr=8-1