Sunday, January 13, 2013


Midnight Echo #8The blood encrusted pages of Midnight Echo #8 are dripping with the stuff of nightmares and are laced with a chilling realism that is equally as terrifying as the fantastical images the short stories conjure. Comprising a ghoulish smorgasbord of some of today’s best in the business and a plethora of talented up and comers, the fiction is nothing short of top class. Bookend by a couple of zombie tales, the first a post outbreak event where the definition of monsters is clouded by the actions of the living showcases Joe R. Lansdale’s craftsmanship and fine appreciation of the genre by taking it to another level altogether. While PIGROOT FLAT by Jason Fischer flips the script on zombie horror by introducing an all too real horror amidst the dust and desolate Australian outback. I particularly liked the living dead in PIGROOT FLAT as being objectified as mere obstacles while the true horror flourishes behind the face of the living.

“She looked at him, her eyes bruises, her mouth and open wound, and screamed mutely. He didn’t hear her, but saw the bloody trail she left in her wake.” – THE GIRL FROM THE BORDERLANDS

In between the zombie mayhem lays tales of overzealous religious beliefs crossing the line towards the sketchy realm of insanity in BLISSFUL IGNORANCE by Matt Wedge, a distilled look at motherhood where trouble is alluded to through a veil of the surreal in JAR BABY by Michelle Jager, a terrorist interrogation spliced with horror in THEY DONT KNOW THAT WE KNOW WHAT THEY KNOW by Andrew J McKiernan, and a hard knock life look at the underprivileged and unwanted youth in THE BOY WITH THE HOLE IN HIS HEART by Caysey Sloan amongst others.

While all of these stories are decent reads, the best of a good bunch include THE GIRL FROM THE BORDERLANDS by Felicity Dowker which manages to convey the depth and detailed character driven story typically achieved through longer formats. HELLO KITTY by Jason Nahrung is an extremist portrait of the criminally insane where reality crosses the line towards batsh!t crazy. Joanne Anderton’s ALWAYS A PRICE requires a suspension of reality to afford the reader the luxury of getting lost in a world viewed through a veil of blood red horror. Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee’s SQUIRRELY SHIRLEY is more noir than horror yet provides the highlight by means of a former adulterer turned mass murderer in glorious gun toting fashion. TOOTH by Kathryn Hore puts the fear back into the dentist visit by way of a monstrous dark presence showing itself in alien-like fashion – one of the surprise stories of the collection and very enjoyable to read.

Spread throughout Midnight Echo #8 are poems, interviews (Jack Ketchum talks about his most renowned book THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, while Lee Battersby discusses his debut THE CORPSE-RAT KING and provides a glimpse towards his later projects), a comic, and standing features all giving the reader a healthy dose of the darkness. There are also promo slots for new Aussie horror books which have added to my ever growing TBR pile.

Midnight Echo #8 is a solid read from cover to cover. The folks responsible for this mag know their horror and are giving readers what they want. True to the editorial, Midnight Echo delivers hard edged horror across a number of mediums with terrifyingly good results.

“There’s all sorts in the lonely dark...” - TOOTH
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