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Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell are the first contributors to a mind-bending new series of short-story collections that push the boundaries of horror and dark suspense to the bleeding edge. From Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the acclaimed Cemetery Dance Publications, Dark Screams: Volume One reaches across genres Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell are the first contributors to a mind-bending new series of short-story collections that push the boundaries of horror and dark suspense to the bleeding edge. From Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the acclaimed Cemetery Dance Publications, Dark Screams: Volume One reaches across genres to take readers beyond the precipice of mortal toil and into the glimmering void of irreality and beyond.   WEEDS by Stephen King When a meteorite lands on his property, Jordy Verrill envisions an easy payday. Unfortunately for Jordy, this is no ordinary rock—and the uncompromising force inside has found its first target.   THE PRICE YOU PAY by Kelley Armstrong Never pay more than you owe. Sounds like easy advice to follow. But for Kara and her childhood friend Ingrid, some debts can never be repaid . . . especially those tendered in blood.   MAGIC EYES by Bill Pronzini Edward James Tolliver has found a weary sort of asylum among the insane. He knows he’s not one of them—but how can he tell anyone about the invaders without sounding that way?   MURDER IN CHAINS by Simon Clark Imagine awaking to find yourself in an underground vault, chained by the neck to a murderous lunatic, a grunting goliath who seems more animal than man. What would you do to save yourself?   THE WATCHED by Ramsey Campbell Little Jimmy gets a glimpse of the cold truth when he finds out that it’s not always what you see that can get you into trouble; it’s who knows what you see.


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Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell are the first contributors to a mind-bending new series of short-story collections that push the boundaries of horror and dark suspense to the bleeding edge. From Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the acclaimed Cemetery Dance Publications, Dark Screams: Volume One reaches across genres Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell are the first contributors to a mind-bending new series of short-story collections that push the boundaries of horror and dark suspense to the bleeding edge. From Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the acclaimed Cemetery Dance Publications, Dark Screams: Volume One reaches across genres to take readers beyond the precipice of mortal toil and into the glimmering void of irreality and beyond.   WEEDS by Stephen King When a meteorite lands on his property, Jordy Verrill envisions an easy payday. Unfortunately for Jordy, this is no ordinary rock—and the uncompromising force inside has found its first target.   THE PRICE YOU PAY by Kelley Armstrong Never pay more than you owe. Sounds like easy advice to follow. But for Kara and her childhood friend Ingrid, some debts can never be repaid . . . especially those tendered in blood.   MAGIC EYES by Bill Pronzini Edward James Tolliver has found a weary sort of asylum among the insane. He knows he’s not one of them—but how can he tell anyone about the invaders without sounding that way?   MURDER IN CHAINS by Simon Clark Imagine awaking to find yourself in an underground vault, chained by the neck to a murderous lunatic, a grunting goliath who seems more animal than man. What would you do to save yourself?   THE WATCHED by Ramsey Campbell Little Jimmy gets a glimpse of the cold truth when he finds out that it’s not always what you see that can get you into trouble; it’s who knows what you see.

30 review for Dark Screams: Volume One

  1. 4 out of 5

    Char

    This anthology consists of short stories by Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark and Ramsey Campbell. How could a reader go wrong? The Stephen King story "Weeds" was part of the movie Creepshow. This is the one in which the King himself starred, where the meteor fell to earth in the man's backyard. In the movie, I thought the tale was hokey, but in the book I liked it more. We are privy to more of Jordy's inner thoughts, which makes it funnier, but at the same time, sadder. This anthology consists of short stories by Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark and Ramsey Campbell. How could a reader go wrong? The Stephen King story "Weeds" was part of the movie Creepshow. This is the one in which the King himself starred, where the meteor fell to earth in the man's backyard. In the movie, I thought the tale was hokey, but in the book I liked it more. We are privy to more of Jordy's inner thoughts, which makes it funnier, but at the same time, sadder. All the stories in this collection were pretty good, but I enjoyed the Pronzini tale, "Magic Eyes" the most. In my mind I called it the Diary of a Madman. There are only 5 shorts in this collection, so it can be read in no time at all. You won't find anything here to blow your mind, but these tales are well written, fun to read, and a great way to kill a winter afternoon. Recommended for fans of short story collections and dark fiction! I received a free ebook copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This is it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Will M.

    I received an arc from Netgalley Dark Screams is a collection of short stories from various authors. One of those authors would be Stephen King, and he's one of my favorites. I tried my best not to be biased about the novel just because he wrote one of the short stories, and in the end, his story was not even my favorite of them all. There were 5 short stories, and 4 of them were really great short reads. The only bad one would be The Watched. I didn't enjoy it at all. Flat characters and borin I received an arc from Netgalley Dark Screams is a collection of short stories from various authors. One of those authors would be Stephen King, and he's one of my favorites. I tried my best not to be biased about the novel just because he wrote one of the short stories, and in the end, his story was not even my favorite of them all. There were 5 short stories, and 4 of them were really great short reads. The only bad one would be The Watched. I didn't enjoy it at all. Flat characters and boring plot. My favorite though would have to be Murder in Chains. It was the most exciting one and I even felt sorry for the main character. The other 3 were also good reads. This would be the very first "anthology" that I really enjoyed. I can't wait for volume 2 [if ever there will be one]. Short stories are the hardest to review, and I decided not to do an in depth review of each one. All you have to know is that this felt more like a thriller than horror. I still haven't read a novel that can garner the title of horror. 4/5 stars, because I hated the last story, and I can't really push myself to give this one a 5. It was not as astounding as I was hoping, but it was still a great read nonetheless.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    Now Available! This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review. 3 Stars As with most anthologies, I felt that some of the stories were very good and some I wish I had skipped. I originally sat down to read a romance novel the night I read this book but I realized that I was not in the mood to read romance so I decided to start on this book of horror short stories i Now Available! This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review. 3 Stars As with most anthologies, I felt that some of the stories were very good and some I wish I had skipped. I originally sat down to read a romance novel the night I read this book but I realized that I was not in the mood to read romance so I decided to start on this book of horror short stories instead. These stories are very short with the entire book being only around 100 pages so the authors really do not have a lot of time to develop the stories. I really liked the Stephen King and Kelley Armstrong stories. I thought that Bill Pronzini's story was okay but I didn't enjoy Simon Clark or Ramsey Campbell's at all. "Weeds" by Stephen King I noticed that this story was originally published in 1976 before starting the story. That did not change my enjoyment of the story but just a warning that you may have already read this one to all the King fans out there. I am very new to reading Stephen King and have exactly one book under my belt right now and I found that I really enjoyed this short story. I felt that this story really should be classified as science fiction rather than horror. "The Price You Pay" by Kelley Armstrong I have always wanted to read Kelley Armstrong's work so I was eager to read this short story and it turned out to be one of my favorites in the book. It was the story of two young women who have been friends since they were small children. The way this story ended was really surprising to me. I am convinced that I need to read more of Armstrong's work. "Magic Eyes" by Bill Pronzini This story was told as journal entries of a man in an insane asylum. I really liked having the story told in such a unique manner. I think that the author was able to write the paranoia the main character felt quite well. "Murder in Chains" by Simon Clark This story was not one of my favorites. It was about a man who finds himself chained to a murderer. I did not understand the point of the story and to be honest felt a bored while reading it. There was a lot of action in this one but it was not for me. "The Watched" by Ramsey Campbell I fell asleep reading this short story....twice. It is about a young boy living with his grandmother who is asked to watch his neighbors. I found this story to be quite boring. I would recommend the Stephen King and Kelley Armstrong stories to other readers. This set of anthologies is one that I would recommend reading only the stories that appeal to you. I will keep my eyes open for other Dark Screams anthologies and depending on the authors included would pick another set up at some point.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤

    I have a severe love/hate relationship with anthologies. Unfortunately, I also have a severe weakness for horror thereby resulting in a trigger happy request thumb. Only one story in this book piqued my interest - Weeds, by Stephen King. Which, was published in 1976 for the first time and so is extremely well known and, well, old. Uncle Stevie himself played the role of Jordy in the Creepshow movie rendition. Fun little fact there for ya, since I have nothing really positive to say about the I have a severe love/hate relationship with anthologies. Unfortunately, I also have a severe weakness for horror thereby resulting in a trigger happy request thumb. Only one story in this book piqued my interest - Weeds, by Stephen King. Which, was published in 1976 for the first time and so is extremely well known and, well, old. Uncle Stevie himself played the role of Jordy in the Creepshow movie rendition. Fun little fact there for ya, since I have nothing really positive to say about the other stories. The rest were kind of snooze inducing and luckily the book was pretty short. 2 ninja bunnehs covered in moss (ARC received from NG in exchange for a review. Thanks, NG!)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Dark Screams: Volume One is the first volume in a series of short-story collections. The short-stories featured in this particular collection are listed in order below along with their authors and my review. I gave the collection a rating of 4.10 stars, as averaged from my individual ratings below. Weeds – Stephen King ★★★★★ Loved this sci-fi themed horror story that very much feels like an old-school twilight zone episode. And it’s Stephen King! Enough said. The Price You Pay – Kelley Armstrong ★★★★ Dark Screams: Volume One is the first volume in a series of short-story collections. The short-stories featured in this particular collection are listed in order below along with their authors and my review. I gave the collection a rating of 4.10 stars, as averaged from my individual ratings below. Weeds – Stephen King ★★★★★ Loved this sci-fi themed horror story that very much feels like an old-school twilight zone episode. And it’s Stephen King! Enough said. The Price You Pay – Kelley Armstrong ★★★★ Very involved for a short-story. Dark, mysterious, engaging, thrilling... and with a surprising twist at the end. I liked it! Magic Eyes – Bill Pronzini ★★★★★ Loved this take on the mind of someone placed in an insane asylum. I felt like I was going a little bit crazy right along with him! Murder In Chains – Simon Clark ★★★½ For some reason, I experienced a bit of trouble consistently following this short story, but the ending definitely yelled “horror” loud and clear. Pretty freaky! The Watched – Ramsey Campbell ★★★ A haunting type of horror story that unfortunately I didn't feel very engaged in. I definitely felt the horror aspect of it here and there though!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Dark Screams: Volume One, is a collection of five short stories, edited by Cemetery Dance's Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman. Each author presented had a unique voice, and stories that were all well worth reading. Included in this collection are: --"Weeds", by Stephen King (4 stars): I remember the movie adaption of this one well, but reading it was even better! The little, subtle touches like the "sounds" of growing really helped add to the atmosphere of confused terror. --"The Price You Pa Dark Screams: Volume One, is a collection of five short stories, edited by Cemetery Dance's Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman. Each author presented had a unique voice, and stories that were all well worth reading. Included in this collection are: --"Weeds", by Stephen King (4 stars): I remember the movie adaption of this one well, but reading it was even better! The little, subtle touches like the "sounds" of growing really helped add to the atmosphere of confused terror. --"The Price You Pay", by Kelley Armstrong (4.5 stars): Strong, emotional story that took an unexpected direction. --"Magic Eyes", by Bill Pronzini (3-3.5 stars): A glimpse into the mind of a psychiatric inmate. --"Murder in Chains", by Simon Clark (4.5 stars): Great, suspenseful tale that came from out of nowhere! --The Watched", by Ramsey Campbell (4 stars): Very atmospheric tale, as expected from Campbell. Highly recommended! *I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zain

    Celebrities! This is an outstanding anthology. There are some major big-hitters in here. I’m talking about Simon Clark, Bill Pronzini, Ramsey Campbell and Stephen King. The stories, of course, are marvelous! This is a fantastic new magazine and I love it and will definitely be reading another one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andi Rawson

    Review of Dark Screams: Volume One by Brian James Freeman An admitted horror addict, I couldn’t wait for Dark Screams: Volume One to come out and thanks to NetGalley I didn’t have to wait all that long. I have a love/hate relationship with horror anthologies, and this one was no different for me. I really loved Weed’s by Stephen King and it was everything I have come to expect from his stories. The Price You Pay by Kelly Armstrong had a strong storyline and a satisfying ending, in my opinion. I Review of Dark Screams: Volume One by Brian James Freeman An admitted horror addict, I couldn’t wait for Dark Screams: Volume One to come out and thanks to NetGalley I didn’t have to wait all that long. I have a love/hate relationship with horror anthologies, and this one was no different for me. I really loved Weed’s by Stephen King and it was everything I have come to expect from his stories. The Price You Pay by Kelly Armstrong had a strong storyline and a satisfying ending, in my opinion. I enjoyed Magic Eyes by Bill Prozini but I have a penchant for crazy people and especially ones in loony bins. Murder in Chains was a decent slice of a story, although it felt to me like it was taken from the middle of a story and the randomness of it took away from the horror. I did not care for The Watched by Ramsey Campbell at all; the plotline and the writing both were underwhelming and the story seemed kind of pointless.   Overall I am giving this volume 4 stars, as there was more good in there than bad. Dark Screams includes some very big names in the horror industry and I am very much looking forward to reading the coming volumes.   I received Dark Screams: Volume One as an e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion and that’s what you’ve got.   © Andi Rawson from Andreya's Asylum

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    A nice collection of short stories that were very well narrated. Table of Contents "Weeds" by Stephen King Amazingly short for something written by King. It was a fairly pedestrian SF-horror story featuring an alien invasion. The main character was overdone, but it was fun. 3 stars "The Price You Pay" by Kelley Armstrong Dark & twisty with a satisfying, if creepy ending. Very well done! 4 stars "Magic Eyes" by Bill Pronzini I think I've read this before. I think of Pronzini as a mystery author. I A nice collection of short stories that were very well narrated. Table of Contents "Weeds" by Stephen King Amazingly short for something written by King. It was a fairly pedestrian SF-horror story featuring an alien invasion. The main character was overdone, but it was fun. 3 stars "The Price You Pay" by Kelley Armstrong Dark & twisty with a satisfying, if creepy ending. Very well done! 4 stars "Magic Eyes" by Bill Pronzini I think I've read this before. I think of Pronzini as a mystery author. I like his "Nameless Detective" books. This is the horrific look from the eyes of an insane man. Ends really well. 4 stars "Murder in Chains" by Simon Clark Well written, but I just couldn't swallow the basic idea of the story. It made no sense to me. 2 stars. "The Watched" by Ramsey Campbell was too removed from the action to impress me. 2 stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Since these are short stories, I can’t talk too much about them without giving away the plot. I enjoyed all of the stories and several were excellent, including an oldie but goodie from Stephen King. (See individual ratings below) Weeds by Stephen King Early Stephen King. I remember this story from the first Creepshow movie although the story here is not nearly as comic as the movie and much darker. King captures the spirit, dark humor, and fun of EC Comics perfectly. The kid who grew up on their Since these are short stories, I can’t talk too much about them without giving away the plot. I enjoyed all of the stories and several were excellent, including an oldie but goodie from Stephen King. (See individual ratings below) Weeds by Stephen King Early Stephen King. I remember this story from the first Creepshow movie although the story here is not nearly as comic as the movie and much darker. King captures the spirit, dark humor, and fun of EC Comics perfectly. The kid who grew up on their stories grew up to write one which would have been one of their all time best. Yet, with King, despite the humor, the over the top cheesy dialogue and the fairly predictable plot he still manages to instill humanity to the character and make us care about him. The ending is also a real chiller. (5 stars) The Price You Pay by Kelley Armstrong Very dark crime story with several twists and turns along the way that tells us the nice guys don't always finish last. (3.5 stars) Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini Interesting “Diary of a Madman” type story that actually uses the epistolary form very well. Well done with a great ending. (4.0) Murder in Chains by Simon Clark Our hero wakes to himself connected by a long chain to a huge homicidal maniac. The action is relentless as you would expect. What I did not expect was that this story would be so interesting that I wish that it was just the first chapter in a longer work. (4.5) The Watched by Ramsey Campbell Nightmarish. Surreal. Just what you would expect from Ramsey Campbell. I felt as disoriented and full of dread as the protagonist. (5.0)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Frank Errington

    Review copy Dark Screams - Volume One is the first in a new series of mini-horror-anthologies from Hydra, the ebook imprint from Random House, focusing on science fiction, fantasy and horror. Richard Chizmar is the founder/editor and publisher/editor of Cemetery Dance magazine and Cemetery Dance Publications. Brian James Freeman is the managing editor of Cemetery Dance Publications. They are both well-respected horror writers in their own right. Dark Screams - Volume One begins with "Weeds, " by St Review copy Dark Screams - Volume One is the first in a new series of mini-horror-anthologies from Hydra, the ebook imprint from Random House, focusing on science fiction, fantasy and horror. Richard Chizmar is the founder/editor and publisher/editor of Cemetery Dance magazine and Cemetery Dance Publications. Brian James Freeman is the managing editor of Cemetery Dance Publications. They are both well-respected horror writers in their own right. Dark Screams - Volume One begins with "Weeds, " by Stephen King. This was originally published in 1976 by Cavalier magazine and appeared on the big screen as a part of Creepshow. Until now this short story has never appeared in any collection "Weeds" is the tale of what happens when Jordy Verrill sees a meteor come crashing to earth on his New Hampshire farmstead on the Fourth of July. The remaining four stories are originals to this collection from Kelly Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell. That's one impressive line up. Each author plays to their individual strengths leading to a strong and varied set of stories. I do wish there had been more stories, but the good news is, by keeping the collection small, the publishers are able to keep a low price point and there are plans for at least another three books in the series over the course of the next year from writers like Robert R. Mccammon, Richard Matheson, Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Clive Barker, and Ed Gorman. Dark Screams - Volume One - Available now through Amazon.com. Recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Meh. An anthology of five previously published short stories. The formatting left something to be desired, too.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gef

    It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. I think that saying sums up this little anthology of horror stories fairly well. It's not a big book, weighing in under a hundred pages, but it's ten pounds of darkness in a five pound bag. Okay, okay, I'm getting a little too crazy with the metaphors too early. Kicking off the fun is Stephen King, probably a guy who is as good at writing a short story as he is famous for writing his novels. "Weeds" may not be at the It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. I think that saying sums up this little anthology of horror stories fairly well. It's not a big book, weighing in under a hundred pages, but it's ten pounds of darkness in a five pound bag. Okay, okay, I'm getting a little too crazy with the metaphors too early. Kicking off the fun is Stephen King, probably a guy who is as good at writing a short story as he is famous for writing his novels. "Weeds" may not be at the tippy-top of King's best short works, but if you enjoy the more monstrously weird tales he's come out with over the years, like "Battleground" for instance, then this tale of a fella freaking out over a pernicious fungus in his yard should be right up your alley. One of the more viscerally charged stories was Kelley Armstrong's "The Price You Pay." While the narration is somewhat cut-and-dry, the wallop at the end delivered and psycho thrillers seem to me like a hard thing to pull off in short fiction a lot of the time. This one does a real good job of it. A couple notable stories from Bill Pronzini and Simon Clark, whose novels I keep meaning to read, appear as well. And then things are capped off with the legendary Ramsey Campbell. This one just harkens back to one of the most tried-and-true setups in horror, that being the child and the elderly guardian and the thing that goes bump in the night. From that, there's a million ways to spin the tale, and Mr. Campbell does a heckuva job doing it here. Folks who go in for short stories may be looking for something more expansive than five stories, but bear in mind this is but the first volume and a top notch one at that. I believe the second volume is slated for a spring release, which gives enough time to read one story every couple of weeks and salivate over reading the next batch. I know I will.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Addy

    Thank you Cemetery Dance for giving me the opportunity to read this awesome anthology. I think horror lovers alike will enjoy reading this. Stephen King's Weeds was quirky and fun more than scary, but that's ok; it was enjoyable. The Watcher was weird and confusing, however, it did manage to keep my interest. Murder in Chains was pretty good. It really had me going but then the end kinda left it open and incomplete. Magic Eyes was well done. I really liked the diary style of writing and how the Thank you Cemetery Dance for giving me the opportunity to read this awesome anthology. I think horror lovers alike will enjoy reading this. Stephen King's Weeds was quirky and fun more than scary, but that's ok; it was enjoyable. The Watcher was weird and confusing, however, it did manage to keep my interest. Murder in Chains was pretty good. It really had me going but then the end kinda left it open and incomplete. Magic Eyes was well done. I really liked the diary style of writing and how the madness was taking over the narrator. I almost wanted him to be sane! My ultimate favorite was Kelley Armstrong's story. It was so good I didn't want it to end! If anything, this anthology is worth it for this story. Lots of twists and turns and brutality. Loved it! I would definitely enjoy reading the next volume in this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Dark Screams: Volume One is a very good collection of stories by five very good writers and edited by Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman. The first was Weeds by Stephen King I gave 4 stars. The second was The Price You Pay by Kelley Armstrong I gave 3 1/2 stars. The third was Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini my least favorite I gave 3 stars. Fourth was Murder in Chains by Simon Clark my favorite I gave it 4 1/2 stars. The fifth was The Watched by Ramsey Campbell I gave 4 stars. I'm not a real bi Dark Screams: Volume One is a very good collection of stories by five very good writers and edited by Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman. The first was Weeds by Stephen King I gave 4 stars. The second was The Price You Pay by Kelley Armstrong I gave 3 1/2 stars. The third was Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini my least favorite I gave 3 stars. Fourth was Murder in Chains by Simon Clark my favorite I gave it 4 1/2 stars. The fifth was The Watched by Ramsey Campbell I gave 4 stars. I'm not a real big fan of short story collections by I did enjoy reading this one and would recommend it. I looking forward to the next one in this series. I gave this anthology 4 stars. I received an e-arc of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Generous

    The Stephen King story was all sorts of fun and the Ramsey Campbell story was highly entertaining too.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    [I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review via NetGalley.] Dark Screams, Volume One collects five short stories, making this small anthology a fairly breezy read, but an ultimately disappointing collection. Up first is Stephen King’s 1976 story, Weeds, which was the basis for “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” in George Romero’s horror film anthology Creepshow. Here, we witness a meteor crashing on Jordy Verrill’s farm and splitting open to spill a strange, white substance up [I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review via NetGalley.] Dark Screams, Volume One collects five short stories, making this small anthology a fairly breezy read, but an ultimately disappointing collection. Up first is Stephen King’s 1976 story, Weeds, which was the basis for “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” in George Romero’s horror film anthology Creepshow. Here, we witness a meteor crashing on Jordy Verrill’s farm and splitting open to spill a strange, white substance upon the ground. Jordy, a rather dim sort, touches the substance and awakens the next morning to find a moss-like growth on his fingers. Over the course of the story, he is slowly consumed by this alien breed of plant. It’s a quick one-and-done kind of story, but not particularly deep and it runs a path that is pure straight-and-narrow. The final segment sets up a chilling final scene, but not one that is particularly shocking or surprising. For me, it’s a notable work only because it is a chance to read a very early King story that I wasn’t familiar with, but not one that I found overly impressive as a whole. There’s a natural narrative drive to the story, though, and it ends the only way possible, albeit in a rather familiar, and now well-trod, horror trope. Still, my first impression of this story is merely that it felt rather quaint. Good, certainly, but quaint. While I didn’t find myself quite enamored with Kelley Armstrong’s The Price You Pay, a small revenge thriller revolving around the cycle of bad choices, I rather enjoyed Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini. I’m a bit of a sucker for madhouse psychological horror, and Pronzini delivers. The story is told via the journal of a patient, who writes with a felt tipped pen. I really liked the way the narration slipped into the occasionally mysterious, mad rant and the ways anger bled through the pages with frantic, run-on sentences. There was a terrific sense of voice here, and Pronzini hooked me early and kept my attention throughout. Simon Clark’s Murder in Chains was another one that I enjoyed, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the resolution of the central mystery. The story involves a Leeds journalist wakening in an underground crypt and chained to an angry killer. It’s an adequate slice of the moment piece, but lacks any background or answers regarding the central premise. The anthology ends with Ramsey Campbell’s The Watched, the only story in this collection that I actively disliked. I found this story to be dull, lifeless, and pointless, to the point that I broke down and skimmed through the last few pages to hit the end. Overall, I found this opening volume in the Dark Screams anthology series to be rather unimpressive. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t wrapped up in any of the stories, and I found myself disappointed more often than not. I will admit, however, that I was on the verge of screaming, though largely out of frustration…

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    I received this ebook from Netgalley for the reviewing purposes. For such an all star line up, this was a notably lackluster collection. Not bound thematically, the stories range from supernatural to psychological horror, primarily the latter and none of them really wow. The only author I've never read before was Armstrong, her traditional fantasy fare just isn't my thing, but her story was actually perfectly fantasy free, a very reality based tale of obsessions and friendship gone too far. This I received this ebook from Netgalley for the reviewing purposes. For such an all star line up, this was a notably lackluster collection. Not bound thematically, the stories range from supernatural to psychological horror, primarily the latter and none of them really wow. The only author I've never read before was Armstrong, her traditional fantasy fare just isn't my thing, but her story was actually perfectly fantasy free, a very reality based tale of obsessions and friendship gone too far. This short anthology was a pretty quick read and relatively entertaining, but nothing special or particularly exciting or noteworthy here.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I very much enjoyed this eclectic mix of horror and suspense shorts edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar. I will resist the urge to review the individual stories, but will say that each of these shorts had its own voice and each tale was enjoyable in its own way. Highly recommended for a quick read with good mix of authors and writing styles. I am looking forward to more volumes in this series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Bea

    "Murder in Chains" by Simon Clark was definitely my favorite story out of this collection. It's also my first time I read anything by him, so it left a great first impression. "Murder in Chains" by Simon Clark was definitely my favorite story out of this collection. It's also my first time I read anything by him, so it left a great first impression.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Fundin

    Dark Screams has a little something for everyone. I believe you will recognize some of these names. Weeds by Stephen King Jordy Verrell was the first one to reach the meteor. It was better than fireworks. He doused it with water and it broke apart. Uh oh. He wasn't the sharpest tack in the box. He had a bad feeling about what' s inside and so did I. I love Stephen King's writing. He comes up with come creepy and original ideas. I have most of his books and I am always eager to see what he comes up Dark Screams has a little something for everyone. I believe you will recognize some of these names. Weeds by Stephen King Jordy Verrell was the first one to reach the meteor. It was better than fireworks. He doused it with water and it broke apart. Uh oh. He wasn't the sharpest tack in the box. He had a bad feeling about what' s inside and so did I. I love Stephen King's writing. He comes up with come creepy and original ideas. I have most of his books and I am always eager to see what he comes up with next. I couldn't really get creeped out. Weeds made me laugh as I pictured it - like a B movie. 3 Stars The Price You Pay by Kelly Armstrong Ingrid and Kara were drunk. Ingrid took a cab home, but wanted to move her new car to the parking lot next door. When Ingrid gets in the car, Kara steps on the gas and heads home. Uh oh...I have a weird feeling. I think this will end very badly. When the past catches up to you, it can be deadly. The Price You Pay is full of terror, torture and betrayal. Enough twists and turns, I didn't see the end. Loved it. 4 Stars Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini Edward James Tolliver is in a mental asylum, accused of killing his wife. He calls his meds zombie cocktails. Edward continually professes his innocence. .He is certain the Doctor will read the diary he told him to write, so he protects what he thinks, not telling all. OK Is he or isn't he guilty? Ts there more going on then meets the eye? Where Bill Pronzini takes this is fantastic. I should have seen it coming, but I was so into the story I didn't even realize it was the end until there were no words left. 4 Stars Murder in Chains by Simon Clark. Could you keep your cool if you woke up chained neck to neck to a brutal psycho? Sufficiently scary, but I am confused by the ending. Am I missing something? 2 Stars The Watched by Ramsey Cambbell. I have read some of his work and enjoyed it, so finding his name in the Dark Screams anthology was a nice surprise. Jimmy was involuntarily recruited by the cop to spy on his druggie neighbors. Are there ghosts? Be careful. Karma has a way of balancing the good and the bad. When cornered, how will Jimmy perform? Enjoyed the story. 3 Stars I enjoyed the collection and would read more of the Dark Scream anthologies. I received a copy of Dark Screams from Net Galley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mommacat

    DARK SCREAMS is the first volume in what for me is a highly anticipated set of anthologies by well known authors to be sold at a very reasonable price. Volume One brought us a Steven King classic from 1976 not seen in print since his days of Cavalier magazine. It was however made into a movie. Since I had never actually read this story - WEEDS - I was more than happy yo settle in and read it for the first time. I had pictures of Jordy in my head, and that was just fine with me. How can you give c DARK SCREAMS is the first volume in what for me is a highly anticipated set of anthologies by well known authors to be sold at a very reasonable price. Volume One brought us a Steven King classic from 1976 not seen in print since his days of Cavalier magazine. It was however made into a movie. Since I had never actually read this story - WEEDS - I was more than happy yo settle in and read it for the first time. I had pictures of Jordy in my head, and that was just fine with me. How can you give classic King anything less than five stars? I call that G-O-O-D. THE PRICE YOU PAY by Kelley Armstrong was good reading as well. Nice, twisted and convoluted - the way dark fiction should be. Two girls who have been friends since toddlerhood will do anything for one another, but should they? Teach your children well... Bill Pronzini brought us MAGIC EYES, a story in an insane asylum. My followers know that asylum stories are my weak spot and I devoured this one. Pronzini didn't disappoint, this was a well written short story with the oomph at the end. MURDER IN CHAINS by Simon Clark was enough story to whet your appetite more. Was this part of a longer novel? I certainly wanted more! Excellent. Ramsey Campbell's THE WATCHED provided a satisfying finish with his classic storytelling style. Each one of these was satisfying in it's own way and different in style and category of dark fiction. There's something for everyone and I highly recommend it for all lovers of dark fiction. I received an e-arc of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kandice

    I am going to start by saying I bought this ebook because of a facebook post that said something about letting Stephen King read you a bedtime story. Who wouldn't want that? I was a little irritated when I realized this was NOT a newly published short story, but one I've read many times before. I quickly got over that because not only is this recycled King a gem, but the other three stories included are also pretty good. Jordy Verrill, the only character in “Weeds”, the first story, is a staple I am going to start by saying I bought this ebook because of a facebook post that said something about letting Stephen King read you a bedtime story. Who wouldn't want that? I was a little irritated when I realized this was NOT a newly published short story, but one I've read many times before. I quickly got over that because not only is this recycled King a gem, but the other three stories included are also pretty good. Jordy Verrill, the only character in “Weeds”, the first story, is a staple for any King fan. Not only did we read it in Cavalier magazine, and other collections, but it was the second story in Creepshow, entitled “The Lonely Death of Jordy Verrill”. This is obviously a nod to Lovecraft. When a meteor hits the ground on simple minded Jordy’s farm all he thinks about is how much he can get if he sells it. Too bad that the meteor ends up giving Jordy oh so much more than a little cash. Five stars, all the way! The next story was worthy of five stars until the last quarter. I actually felt is had a bit of a “King” feel to it, and wondered if that’s why it was chosen for this volume. When you hit the three quarter mark that theory flies out the window. I don’t give away plots in reviews, but trust me when I say the suspension of disbelief becomes almost impossible at that point. I think my final rating for this particular installment would be three stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I'm definitely guilty of being inclined to pick up any compilation with Stephen King's name included in hopes of finding a new King story. Unfortunately here the story was "Weeds", originally published in the late 1970s (it served as part of the the basis for the movie Creepshow). The other stories are "The Price You Pay" by Kelley Armstrong, "Magic Eyes" by Bill Pronzini, "Murder in Chains" by Simon Clark and "The Watched" by Ramsey Campbell and all of these four look to be new. "Murder in Chai I'm definitely guilty of being inclined to pick up any compilation with Stephen King's name included in hopes of finding a new King story. Unfortunately here the story was "Weeds", originally published in the late 1970s (it served as part of the the basis for the movie Creepshow). The other stories are "The Price You Pay" by Kelley Armstrong, "Magic Eyes" by Bill Pronzini, "Murder in Chains" by Simon Clark and "The Watched" by Ramsey Campbell and all of these four look to be new. "Murder in Chains" was probably my favorite, but I can't say that any will stick with me. Dark fiction is always worth a try, though.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Enjoyable enough of a read, but kind of uneven - only King's "Weeds" delivered all the way through. The other four tales all were engrossing to a point, but for me each ran out of steam at the end. (Simon Clark's "Murder in Chains" would've kicked major ass if it had stuck the landing.) No idea if I was partial to King's story because I remember "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" from the 'Creepshow' movie or if I might have wandered into a copy/reprint of the original 'Cavalier' printing some Enjoyable enough of a read, but kind of uneven - only King's "Weeds" delivered all the way through. The other four tales all were engrossing to a point, but for me each ran out of steam at the end. (Simon Clark's "Murder in Chains" would've kicked major ass if it had stuck the landing.) No idea if I was partial to King's story because I remember "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" from the 'Creepshow' movie or if I might have wandered into a copy/reprint of the original 'Cavalier' printing somewhere along the years.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Dark Screams is the first short story collection edited by Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman. Each author brings their own unique style to the collection. Over all this was a very good collection with a great mix. My favorite story was The Price You Have To Pay by Kelly Armstrong. This was a story about vengeance with a surprising twist at the end. Looking forward to other volumes of Dark Screams.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Terry Weyna

    Dark Screams: Volume One is the first of at least four volumes of short horror anthologies that are projected for publication through August 2015. The books are being published as ebooks only through Random House’s digital-only genre imprint, Hydra, for a bargain price of $2.99. Volume One starts out with one of the most popular horror writers ever: Stephen King. “Weeds” was originally published in Cavalier, a “men’s magazine,” in 1976, and has never been reprinted until now — though it did becom Dark Screams: Volume One is the first of at least four volumes of short horror anthologies that are projected for publication through August 2015. The books are being published as ebooks only through Random House’s digital-only genre imprint, Hydra, for a bargain price of $2.99. Volume One starts out with one of the most popular horror writers ever: Stephen King. “Weeds” was originally published in Cavalier, a “men’s magazine,” in 1976, and has never been reprinted until now — though it did become a part of the movie “Creepshow,” with King himself playing the role of Jordy Verrill. Jordy is the protagonist of “Weeds,” a not particularly intelligent man who farms a spread situated on Bluebird Creek in New Hampshire. He’s alone at twilight on the Fourth of July when a meteor flashes overhead. It lands close enough that Jordy feels the thump in his feet, and his eyes light up with dollar signs. Those fellows at the college might pay good money for this thing, he reasons. The meteor cracks in two when he pours water on it to cool it down, and there’s white flaky stuff coming from the center. He burns his fingers badly when he tries to touch the white stuff, but he treats them with burn ointment and goes to bed. When he wakes, he feels like he’s got the flu — and then he sees what’s growing out of those burned fingers. Things go from bad to worse for Jordy from there. In fact, things may be going badly for everyone on earth from that point. It’s vintage King, written in his transparent prose and getting more horrific — or at least grosser — with every subsequent paragraph. King has written better work, no doubt, but finding this story is like coming across an extra chocolate truffle you didn’t know you had. “The Price You Pay” by Kelley Armstrong is about Kara’s friendship with Ingrid. The friendship began in childhood and lasted throughout the girls’ early teen years. They separated in their late teens, and Kara married Gavin and had a child. Now Ingrid has once again appeared, and the girls have resumed their friendship, though Kara is not so eager for Ingrid’s company as Ingrid is for hers. Still, the two young women go out drinking on the night of Kara’s 21st birthday, only to become too intoxicated to drive home safely. While they wait for Gavin to rescue them from a dark country road, they are abducted. While Kara is being beaten by a hooded assailant in a dark basement, we learn of her past, and why she and Ingrid parted company. Soon we begin to question everything we’ve learned so far. Armstrong plays out her plot thread by thread until all of our expectations are turned around. Bill Pronzini gives us a first-person protagonist in “Magic Eyes” who swears he’s not crazy and that he did not kill his wife. When a story starts with that information, you know you’re in for something special, and Pronzini doesn’t disappoint. The work we’re reading is the protagonist’s journal; Edward Tolliver, its author, is writing it on his doctor’s suggestion, but he’s sure that the doctor will be reading it despite his assurances of privacy. So he drops the occasional line about “magic eyes” or “invaders,” trying to smoke out the doctor. It is only when he concludes that the doctor isn’t reading his journal that Tolliver writes about what really happened that night his wife died. Pronzini’s protagonist is obviously intelligent; and just as obviously . . . well, but that would give too much away. The journal is the perfect mechanism for telling this story, giving us a close-up view of how Tolliver’s mind operates. Tolliver is a finely drawn character, and this story features the best characterization in the anthology. Simon Clark’s “Murder in Chains” never explains itself. We never learn why the first person narrator wakes up in an underground vault chained to another man by a ring around his throat. All we know is that the man at the other end of the chain radiates brutality, and behaves as if the narrator doesn’t even exist as he tears about the vault until after he’s killed a third man with his bare hands, for no apparent reason. Clark is plainly reaching for the Kafkaesque, but winds up with mere splatterpunk instead. The always reliable Ramsey Campbell takes the last position in this short anthology with The Watched. Jimmy is a 12-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother. As the story opens, he is returning from the grocery shop with a heavy bag of potatoes and getting more tired with every step. When he comes to the hide that is situated on the canal that leads to home, he dodges in to get a break, only to find that someone else is already there: a policeman, who tells him that his neighbors are dangerous drug dealers. He asks Jimmy to keep an ear out for what’s going on next door. It’s not the best idea to rely on a 12-year-old, though, and trouble inevitably follows. But more than that, someone’s been smearing his grandmother’s windows. And there’s been a sluggish dragging sound outside. What’s this all about? Campbell has a way of transforming the ordinary into the frightening, of hinting at a horror without ever showing us more than its outlines, which makes his stories all the more terrifying. It’s a fitting end to a fine anthology. Dark Screams, Volume One, promises that we’ll be getting solid anthologies for a very low price as the new year progresses. The voices we’ll be hearing from include some of the best talents the field has to offer; you’d think with King, Armstrong, Clark, Pronzini and Campbell in the first volume, the following volumes would have to fall off, but instead they promise stories by the likes of Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Robert R. McCammon, Richard Matheson and others. The stories may not be the best each of these writers has to offer, but they are definitely stories worth reading, and I’m looking forward to reading them. Originally published at http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi.... 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    Dark Screams is an entertaining horror anthology and a quick read - great for the chilly weather and spooky feel of autumn. It consists of 5 short stories. My favorites were Weeds by Stephen King and Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini. Even in just a few short pages, the character development was spot-on. As for the other 3 stories, they weren't bad by any means - they just weren't as strong. In general, this is definitely worth a read for horror lovers! Thank you to Netgalley & the publisher for the AR Dark Screams is an entertaining horror anthology and a quick read - great for the chilly weather and spooky feel of autumn. It consists of 5 short stories. My favorites were Weeds by Stephen King and Magic Eyes by Bill Pronzini. Even in just a few short pages, the character development was spot-on. As for the other 3 stories, they weren't bad by any means - they just weren't as strong. In general, this is definitely worth a read for horror lovers! Thank you to Netgalley & the publisher for the ARC.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joe Piccoli

    2.5* WEEDS by Stephen King   4* THE PRICE YOU PAY by Kelley Armstrong   3.5* MAGIC EYES by Bill Pronzini   5* MURDER IN CHAINS by Simon Clark   1* THE WATCHED by Ramsey Campbell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    This was just okay. Only 5 short stories. Weeds by King being the best.

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