Dark Passages II: Tales from the Black Highway
MJ Preston, Editor
October 28, 2016
Reviewed by David Goudsward
The first clue that this anthology is different is the size. Editor MJ Preston chose an 8×10 format to evoke the vibe of Rod Serling’s ground-breaking Night Cry Magazine. And it is not just the size of the book; the interior is similarly magazine-themed, with elaborate headers for each story and ads at the end of each tale (the ads are not paid placements, they promote a current work by the contributor – a nice touch that fits with the overall retro early 1980s magazine look).
And what contributors they are. If you are a devotee of horror, you already know a lot of these names as popular regional writers, as well as those moving up the horror ladder – B.E. Scully, Philip C. Perron, Tony Tremblay, Gregory L. Norris, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover. If you don’t recognize them and the other contributors, you should. And trust me, you will.
In Dark Passages II, Preston brings together tales from the endlessly winding road to hell, but there is nary a good intention paving the route. The trip starts with a biker fleeing the Feds only to find a worse fate. Along the way, we pass a murderous road trip, child-eating roadside attractions, possessions, haunted paintings, serial killers, carnivorous plants, and my personal favorite, Philip C. Perron’s “Shrouds of Snow,” where a TV weather reporter discovers that even in the middle of a nor’easter, not all speed bumps are created equal.
Overall, a fun book (assuming highway-themed carnage is your idea of a party) with all ten authors bringing their own interpretation of the theme. Talented writers each and every one of them – I just wouldn’t recommend carpooling with any of them.