Book Review: Darkest Hours by Mike Thorn

Thank you to Mike Thorn for providing me with an e-ARC of Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition in exchange for an honest review!

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Between the covers of Darkest Hours, you will find academics in distress; humans abusing monsters; demons terrorizing people; ghostly reminiscences; resurrected trauma; and occult filmmaking. Ranging from satirical to dreadful, these sixteen stories share a distinct voice: urgent, sardonic, and brutal.

This expanded edition includes a new foreword by Sadie Hartmann (Mother Horror) and author notes for every story describing Thorn’s process, influences, and more. This updated release also features seventeen of Thorn’s essays on horror cinema, which cover films by Tobe Hooper, George A. Romero, Rob Zombie, M. Night Shyamalan, Wes Craven, and Dario Argento, among others.

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I struggle with short story collections; they tend to be very hit or miss & I just enjoy investing more time into one story. However, when Mike Thorn was offering review copies, I just had a feeling that I needed to check this one out & I am so glad I did. In fact, I’m now officially in the mood for short story collections so thank you, Mike.

While reading Darkest Hours, I made a list of titles with my rating for each story, and I am pleased to announce that each story received a 4 or 5-star rating. Mike Thorn did not miss in this collection. Each story was beyond amazing & all ranged in theme. We have some that are disgusting, some that are weird and forces you to think, and some that are just a damn good time.

Even when a story in the collection seems like it’s not gonna be a favorite, the ending comes through & leaves me in complete awe. And, honestly, these are some of my favorite kind of stories; the ones that make you wait until the end to give you that pay-off & you’re just left in at amazement at how well it all came together. Mike Thorn has talent & Darkest Hours is here to prove it.

Stories I rated 5-stars:

– Hair
– Mictian Diabolus
– Party Time
– Long Man
– Satanic Panic

One thing I really enjoy is being able to get into an author’s head. I love learning how some stories came to be & the inspiration that led them there. Mike Thorn ends each short story with notes and these notes add an even more impact to the story. In fact, these notes lent a hand at making some of these stories even better. Love being like, “I see what you did there.”

As someone who loves horror films, I loved seeing Mike’s love for the genre shine through in his work. This occurs in the fiction pieces alongside the essays that can be found at the end of the expanded edition. To be completely transparent, I skimmed through some of these essays & that’s only because some films I haven’t seen & I really want to watch those films & read the corresponding essay afterward. But, I can tell you that Mike is very knowledgeable about the genre and if you’re like me who loves non-fiction about films then the expanded edition is for you.


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