Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NYCC '11: Twisted Dark Vol. One

There are many advantages to having a press pass at any con. One of them is getting an opportunity to review books. I was given a copy of Neil Gibson's Twisted Dark: Volume One to peruse and write about. 

Let me start by saying it was my honor or horror (my honror?) to read this collection. I did not know what to expect; I just knew it would make me uncomfortable. And it did but in all the right ways.

The cover alone tells the reader they are in for a disturbing time and Neil Gibson delivers in spades. From the opening story, "Suicide" to the final "Last Laugh," Gibson takes you on a ride through several short stories that examine the unconventional, socially abnormal side of humanity, covering a range of topics such as drugs, paranoia, abuse, death, and in the case of the chilling tale, "Munchausen's Little Proxy," mental illness.

Part of what makes the stories so effective is they are illustrated by different artists so each story has its own unique feel. The other part is the strength of Gibson's writing. These are not stories that occur in a fantasy world. Each character is very human and most of what happens to each of them is something that can and does happen in real life. Gibson is also very careful to not make the stories gory. He leaves out just enough so your imagination takes over to fill in the blanks, and we all know how much worse our minds make situations. 

It reminds me of when I was growing up, reading Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, and Stephen King. That's not to say it is appropriate for children, but it's scary, demented, not too gory, and most importantly, makes you think. And that is my favorite kind of horror. 

Rumors are swirling that Volume Two will be out some time in the near future but until then, you can get a copy of Twisted Dark Volume One at his website. [*Editor's note - I just found out Volume Two is indeed out and there are at least two additional volumes planned]

So, get your copy, curl up in comfy chair and let yourself fall under Neil Gibson's twisted spell.

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