Chris Allinotte’s Gathering Darkness is a paperback and eBook of short horror stories in the entertaining mould of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt.
You have to approach the book expecting to laugh as much as to get golf-ball sized goosebumps popping up all over the place. Although the first story, Coming Home, is freaky, it doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the book. It’s seriousness is soon overtaken by excellent comedy shrieks, especially in the book’s centrepiece story Devil’s Night, involving a Ronald Reagan mask, gnomes, a Halloween skeleton and a trick or treat choice enough to make you quickly shove your own head over the sink to avoid carpet stains.
Sick humour prevails, from the excellent The Moustache (a brilliant way to commemorate Movember) and Game Night, to the Alice in Wonderland perverting Eat Me. It’s not just the humour, however. If you like inventive ways to meet your maker the book has them in spades. How about having hot steamy sex with a spider? Then have a gander at Sex and Beer. Trapped inside a crystal ball? Frosted Glass is for you then.
Not all of them are successful. I was really disappointed by Turn Around. Its premise was so good, about something following the main character which he can never see, but always feels ready to play tricks on him and cause him to go nuts, had an ending so loopy I couldn’t get over the disappointment. Well, I could, because further cracking tales followed.
It is highly recommended if you like to get scared, but want to laugh at the same time. It is not recommended if your idea of horror is Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.