Reviews of Dark Fiction

Peel Back and See by Mike Thorn

Being a huge fan of Mike Thorn’s last collection DARKEST HOURS, when I was offered an ARC of his latest collection, I hopped on the chance. I’m so glad I did, because reading this was like being reassured that my initial thoughts on Thorn’s writing were correct. He is a true talent!

There were a lot of tales included within, and they were rather short, which I enjoyed. I’m not going to get into all of them here. They vary widely, from dark, intense psychological observations to grief-based narratives, to trauma to the utterly fantastical. ALL of them well written and thought provoking. Even though they were very dark indeed, I think I like Thorn’s grief or trauma based stories the most. In fact this quote really spoke to me:

“Trauma does not accept invitations or obey orders. It shows up, loud and vulgar and unannounced, has its way and then retreats, back into the shadows. But it never goes away, never really.”

One of the most imaginative stories here, VOMITUS BACCHANALIUS, impressed the hell out of me. Somehow Mike turned a story of an alien group of creatures enslaved here on earth, into a tale of an engrossing, disgusting ritual, and then into a revenge tale. I don’t know how he did it! I was laughing, I was repulsed and I was amazed…all in one short story. Bravo!

THE VOIDING was another narrative that amazed me. Its originality and attempt to explain how muses might work was eye-opening and startling.

Lastly, DREAMS OF LAKE DRUKKA was an ugly little tale about how sometimes, your dreams are trying to tell you something. Maybe you should listen? Then again, maybe not.

I am pressed for time, so this review is short out of necessity. Do not let that make you think that I don’t have anything else good to say about this collection, because that’s not true. I could probably sit here and write an essay on why I think Mike Thorn is an author to watch, why I think he takes a great deal of time and effort to make his tales accessible and relatable, and why I think his creative imagination is going to take the world by storm at some point. I could do all of that, but I won’t.

Instead, I’d love you to take a shot at one of Mike’s collections and then we can talk about them together. I bet that, when the time comes around, you’ll be thinking as I do: that Mike Thorn has the chops to be the next big thing in dark fiction and that he’s worth your time and attention.

Highly recommended!

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

Peel Back and See Book Cover Peel Back and See
Mike Thorn
Dark Fiction, Horror, Short Stories
JournalStone
10/29/2021
E-Arc
266
Author

In spaces both familiar and strange, unknowable horrors lurk.

From the recesses of the Internet, where cosmic terror shows its face on an endless live feed, to a museum celebrating the sordid legacy of an occultist painter, this chilling collection of sixteen short stories will plunge you into the eerie, pessimistic imagination of Mike Thorn. Peel Back and See urges its readers to look closer, to push past surface-level appearances and face the things that stir below.

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