Book Review – Suspended in Dusk, edited by Simon Dewar

Summary from Goodreads:

DUSK. A time between times. A whore hides something monstrous and finds something special. A homeless man discovers the razor blade inside the apple. Unlikely love is found in the strangest of places. Secrets and dreams are kept… forever. Or was it all just a trick of the light? Suspended in Dusk brings together 19 stories by some of the finest minds in Dark Fiction.


While I love horror as a genre in film and gaming, I’ve only had minimal experience with its literature. To help remedy this, I decided to not only pick up some horror fiction, but go out of my way to find something more obscure. I dug up a business card I picked up at Fan Expo last year from Books of the Dead, a horror publisher, which led me to this anthology. Since each story is rather short, I will not be summarizing any of them in a specific way.

What I will say is the book is unified by a dusk motif: in some way or another each story incorporates this time of day as an idea, figuratively and/or literally, such as a peculiar event occurring during this time. Dusk is rarely a crucial aspect of each story, more of a narrative aesthetic that connects them all together.

As I’m sure is a common remark when discussing anthologies, the quality of the stories is a bit of a mixed bag. However, there were a lot more good entries, even great, than I had at first thought there would be. For me, the collection started off a little poorly. It wasn’t that they were badly written, rather they felt too predictable and not fully fleshed out. Nothing particularly grabbed me. It wasn’t until the fourth story, “Burning” by Rayne Hall, that I really started to get invested. From there, each story was quite strong, only a few wavering into predictability.

I want to stress that being predictable is not necessarily a damning thing. These stories were still good reads, but the horror falters for me if I can expect what’s coming too clearly. Obscurity is crucial for terror to be the most effective. This may just be a problem I specifically had while reading it however, so I don’t think this should necessarily deter others from checking it out.

What I especially liked about the collection was how varied its stories were. There were plenty with fresh spins on popular concepts like zombie outbreaks and vampires, and others with their own unique approaches to the supernatural with strange entities and otherworldly powers. Surprisingly, though, two of the stories I found the most affecting — “Burning” and “Would To God That We Were There — didn’t involve anything from the realm of the paranormal whatsoever. I normally prefer the paranormal to the mundane in horror, but these stories allowed for some great variety and provided some of the more genuinely chilling moments.

Suspended in Dusk was a pleasant surprise. It started off a little weak for me, but quickly became a great collection containing some unique, quality horror. If you’re interested in reading more obscure horror, I definitely recommend picking it up. It’s great for reading in short bursts, when you have some time and just want to read a story or two in one sitting.


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