There Comes a Midnight Hour

Raw Dog Screaming. Mar. 2021. 226p. ISBN 9781947879249. pap. $50.95. HORROR
A collection of 15 stories that probe the depths of psychological trauma, with a flair for touches of cosmic horror. Braunbeck’s stories, and the pervasive fear they induce, result from his willingness to consider horrors of both supernatural and human origin. The darkness comes from how the author takes a frame the genre’s fans have encountered before (e.g., vampires, serial killers, found footage, PTSD, etc.), lulls them with their preconceived comfort with that trope, and then—BAM!—moves it all in an inventive and menacing direction that they never saw coming. Great examples are “We Now Pause for Station Identification,” which starts the collection with a grim and original zombie tale, while “AND STILL YOU WONDER WHY OUR FIRST IMPULSE IS TO KILL YOU” is a fun and terror-inducing work of cosmic metafiction.
VERDICT A great introduction to an overlooked master whose popularity peaked earlier this century. Much like Kathe Koja’s Bram Stoker–nominated Velocities, this collection will bring new readers to an important author who had a clear influence on some of today’s top horror story writers, such as John Langan and Nadia Bulkin.
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