The Dark at the End of the Tunnel by Taylor Grant
Crystal Lake Publishing, 2015
Available: Kindle ebook, trade paperback
I enjoy a good novel, but sometimes a solid collection of short stories is just as good, if not better. The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel by Taylor Grant contains ten short stories, each with unique storytelling elements.
There are a number of standout stories. “The Vood” is about a creature who hides and devours from the shadows. Grady lost his mother to this creature, and he has feared it since childhood. Growing up with it has caused problems for him, but a lifetime of preventing it from devouring him hasn’t protected Grady from himself. “Show and Tell” is the story of a sixth grader who is called into the guidance councilor’s office after his teacher finds disturbing artwork in his desk. The tale he tells of the pictures is equally disturbing…and deadly. In “Whispers in the Trees, Screams in the Dark,” Blake resents his father and his new wife moving them to a new city, where he has a hard time making new friends. He meets two boys who want to show him something remarkable in the woods; a woman with beauty surpassing that of anyone they have seen. But her beauty comes at a price. In “The Intruders”, Mason makes a discovery during his research for his true crime book after speaking with several serial killers. All of them have one thing in common: they hear voices. Now Mason can hear them, too. The last story in the collection, “The Dark at the End of the Tunnel,” concerns a man coming out of a decade in stasis to discover he has no memories. As they gradually come back, he’s haunted by disturbing hallucinations. Desperate for answers, he reaches out to his broker, Mr. Wheeler, and his doctor, Dr. Smythe.
Grant is a screenwriter and filmmaker, but Dark at the End of the Tunnel is his first short story collections, and it is fantastic. The characters are memorable, the gore is fantastic, and Grant’s storytelling skills are polished. There are certainly stories that have their share of monsters, but it’s the stories that make you take a look at the darker side of humanity that make it truly worth it to pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended
Contains: body horror, gore, sexuality
Reviewed by Lizzy Walker