Book Review: Dark Tides by John J. Questore

Dark Tides is a horror anthology, and a special on at that. Put together and edited by John J. Questore, it’s a charity anthology, dedicated to those affected by the Virginia Beach shooting, 31 May, 2019. It’s a work to be admired.

I was excited about the book as soon as I heard about the theme and saw the cover, but when I found about the cause it’s supporting, well… You don’t have to ask me twice.

The theme is—as you might have gauged from the title—water. Dark, disturbing water. The kind that pulls you in and doesn’t let go, forcing the air out of your lungs. It’s beautiful, cold, and terrifying.

There are lots of stories in here, and it’s a long book. With authors like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Richard Chizmar, Billy Chizmar, Jason Stokes, Hanson Oak, and Bill Aicher (plus many, many more), it’s a hefty read. Most of them I enjoyed. Most of them were good. But at the same time, there some that just didn’t home. Maybe it was me, but I felt like there was a wide range of (for the lack of a better word) quality. Some came across as perhaps a little cliche, and a little bit lacking. (But again, maybe it’s just me.)

A more serious issue however was the editing and production. I had the ebook version of this book, and I came across several instances of misspelled words, missing words, and formatting issues. There were also some cases of the fonts in certain story, or in parts of stories changing to be almost completely faded so it was difficult to read.

But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book, and the issues affect a relatively small portion of the book.

I love reading short stories. It’s nice to have them as a palate cleanser between novels. Something light, and easy. I realized while reading this however, that I’m not used to reading anthologies. When everything’s about the same theme, about the same concept (pretty much always), it’s easy to get bored. You get one horror story about the dark depths, and it’s pretty cool. Then you get another with a similar but different concept, and you’re still excited. Then you get another and another and another.

They blend into each other after a while, and I noticed it exhausted me a bit. (Not that this has anything to do with the quality of the book, of course!

Recommended if you like horror and want to support a great cause!

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