After Sundown edited by Mark Morris is a collection of tales that have a great range! From bizarre, to mildly unsettling, all the way to full blown terror, this collection has it all!
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on After Sundown edited by Mark Morris
Overall, this was a fun collection! I loved the variety of the stories.
Like most collections, there were tales in there that I loved while a couple weren’t for me.
Here are my quick notes on each tale.
Introduction by Mark Morris –
I loved learning a bit about how this anthology came about!
Butterfly Island by C.J. Tudor – 5 Stars
Oh my gosh, this one was just filled with twists! In a world that has been ravaged by a virus, a group of people head to Butterfly Island to hole up. But when they near the island they learn it’s protected by underwater mines… but that’s not the only threat they’ll face. This story is a great short story but I would also love to see what happens next!
What an opening paragraph:
Almost every bad plan is hatched over a few beers in a bar. The end of the world won’t finally arrive with a bang or a whimper. It will start with the words: ‘Hey – y’know what would be a really great idea?’ slurred over a bottle of Estrella.
Research by Tim Lebbon – 4 Stars
In this story, a writer has been kidnapped and is locked in a basement while his kidnappers say they’re doing “research”… My how the tables turned in this one! I loved the ending!
Swanskin by Alison Littlewood – 3 Stars
In a town where the women are robbed of their original forms, the men believe they are saving them but the fact that they have to destroy or hide their skins proves their drive to control. What a unique premise this story had! I don’t think I’ve read anything like this one when it came to the skins!
That’s the Spirit by Sarah Lotz – 4 Stars
Eek! This one was so stressful to read! I kept hoping that everything was going to work out and for this “psychic” to really get in contact with the other side and help. He and his partner had quite the setup!
Gave by Michael Bailey – 3 Stars
Oh boy this one made me feel so queasy. I can’t do anything related to drawing blood. But the underlying plot point here of the worlds population decreasing was terrifying. I loved how this one was formatted as well with the sections of story in different ages.
Wherever You Look by Ramsey Campbell – 3 Stars
Phew! What a quest this man was on. I enjoyed his determination to retract down answers.
Same Time Next Year by Angela Slatter – 4 Stars
What a fun premise this one had! As we follow a ghost that is alone in a cemetery, I loved the draw toward violence that she had and I was even more intrigued by it because we weren’t given a clear why.
Mine Seven by Elana Gonel – 4 Stars
Oofh! What a trip gone wrong! The thought of traveling somewhere that is in full dark terrifies me. I kept worrying about what these people would do if the lights went out, but what happened was so much worse.
It Doesn’t Feel Right by Michael Marshall Smith – 4 Stars
Oh no, in this tale there’s something not quite right about the socks that these parents are trying to get their child to wear. But it’s not just one pair, it’s most socks. But is it psychosomatic or is there something else going on? Phew what a tale!
Creeping Ivy by Laura Purcell – 5 Stars
When a man loses his wife, the reader very quickly realizes that he isn’t exactly broken up about it… What a tale! I loved the desperation felt in this one, and of course, I also loved the slow build of creepiness!
Last Rites for the Fourth World by Rick Cross – 5 Stars
Woah, I loved this one! The overall plot was interesting and I enjoyed seeing each creature pop up, even if it was in a very devastating way.
We All Come Home by Simon Bestwick – 5 Stars
Absolutely terrifying! As this man is on a quest to unlock a suppressed memory, we see him entering the woods where the traumatic event occurred. From start to finish, this one had me feeling so unsettled and nervous!
The Importance of Oral Hygiene by Robert Shearman –
This unfortunately wasn’t one for me.
Bokeh by Thana Niveau – 5 Stars
What is it about stories with creepy children?! My goodness this one was unsettling, then flat out horrific. What a tale!
Murder Board by Grady Hendrix – 5 Stars
Does using an Ouija Board ever go right?! Phew, what a dark and intense tale. I was hooked!
Alice’s Rebellion by John Langan – 3 Stars
If you’re an Alice in Wonderland fan, this story will be a hit for you! I loved a lot of the messages here that were related to current times, and boy they were timely.
The Mirror House by Jonathan Robbins Leon – 4 Stars
So unsettling! What would you do if you suddenly found a door that lead to a house just like your own, but mirrored? The ending of this certainly threw me for a loop. Was it a sad ending or a happy one?! I can’t decide!
The Naughty Step by Stephen Volk – 4 Stars
My gosh this one was heartbreaking! This poor kid…
A Hotel in Germany by Catriona Ward – 3 Stars
Phew! This one was kind of like a fever dream for me. I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening, but I enjoyed the trip!
Branch Line by Paul Finch – 5 Stars
What a story to end the collection on! This one was equally terrifying and heartbreaking!
My Final Thoughts on After Sundown
Overall, this is definitely a collection I’d recommend to fans of short stories! This would be great to either pick up and breeze through the tales back to back, or take your time only reading one story here and there to spread them out.
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Thanks for reading!
And thanks again to the publisher for sending this one my way! If you’d like to snag a copy, click here to visit the Flame Tree Press site today!