Reviews of Dark Fiction

A Variable Darkness by John McIlveen

John McIlveen is genuine. He’s a nice guy, a publisher, and he’s an author. A good one. This is my first experience reading his work, but it won’t be my last!

One thing I enjoyed, which is a common thread throughout, is the setting of Massachusetts. Gloucester, Salem and other towns, famous or not, are included. Being that I was born and raised here, I get a kick out of it when I’m familiar with the settings. Anyway, A VARIABLE DARKNESS contains 13 stories, these are the ones I enjoyed the most:

In AGATHA CRAGGIN’S DEFENSE. The town of Gloucester is only a short way from Salem, and in 1693 that was not the greatest place to be, especially if you’re a woman.

GOT YOUR BACK. This was my favorite of the collection. Look at that title. Imagine it-literally.

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. Another helluva story! What would you do if a…creature appeared and started climbing up the outside of your house? What if your son was upstairs? So yeah, this was fun!

NOBODY’S DAUGHTER. I don’t even know what to say. It was beautifully written, poignant and heartbreaking all at once. I think about the statue in the park sometimes, and bet if you read this, you will think about it too.

THE MAKING OF MONSTERS. This is one of those twisty-turny tales that bends in on itself and then serves up just deserts.

Overall, I enjoyed almost all of these stories, but the ones I loved, I really loved. The takeaway here is that John McIlveen is a talented author with the skills and the chops to please even t, he pickiest of readers. He’s been a Bram Stoker Award nominee and I can see why.

If you are looking for a collection of quick, satisfying, and powerful stories A VARIABLE DARKNESS would certainly fit the bill!

Highly recommended!

Thank you to the publisher/author for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.

A Variable Darkness Book Cover A Variable Darkness
John McIlveen
Horror, Dark Fiction
Haverhill House

From the award-winning, best-selling author of Hannahwhere and Inflictions, John McIlveen offers his latest collection A Variable Darkness, thirteen tales of his trademark blend of heartache, humor, horror, and a ton of humanity. Inside these pages you will meet a captivating girl who is the embodiment of all female youth and the registrar of broken hearts.  You will travel to 1693 Massachusetts, where a suspected witch mentors a teenager. You will meet Ricky Briggs, who wakes up without a spine, join in on the craziest Yankee Swap imaginable, and ride along with a cantankerous old spirit in a 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis.


Including an introduction by Tony Tremblay and an afterword by Izzy Lee.

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