Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: Host of Shadows by Harry Shannon

A Host of Shadows by Harry Shannon
Dark Regions press
280 pages

I have read a few of these stories before, some in cemetary dance, various anthologies and I have always been impressed by Shannon. It's one thing to read a story here, or story there. To read the stories back to back in one collection something totally different. You pick up themes, you learn stuff about what is crawling around in the gray matter of the writer in question. If you are a fan of horror in short fiction then please take my advice and move this book up to the top of your list.

In a blurb on the back cover author Brian Keene said "Shannon is a writer not afraid to walk into the shadows and drag things there kicking and screaming into the light." I know it's cheap to quote a blurb but I tried hard to think of a way to say the same thing, too bad I'm quoting him because it is the best description possible.

Shannon is a master at details, tiny details that paint a dark and vivid picture. The atmosphere he builds leaves the reader with a feeling like they are turning away from a horrible sight, just keeping it in the corner of their vision so they wont lose it. The style ranges from traditional horror, dark noir and a few with experimental prose. All done with skill.

My favorite stories included the WW II story "and the worm shall feed" that takes place in the pacific. The iraq war story "Thus was His Death," and the darkly comical mortality tale "Violent Delights."

This is above average horror fiction that should be included in any serious horror fans personal library. Shannon is a very talented writer who deserves to be on library shelves everywhere. I was not super impressed by the novella Pain that he wrote(reviewed last month), but based on the strength of this collection I will be seeking out his novels.

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