Although I’m a huge fan of zombies, I have to confess: monsters in general are my true love when it comes to fiction and films. Monsters represent all that is unknown, and they spark a deeply rooted primal fear within us. For that reason, they scare the hell of me. And I love them for it. So when I got the chance to review Beyond the Nightlight, an anthology of horrific tales of bedtime, I was ecstatic. I sat down last week and started reading. To my surprise, I tore through the book and finished it in one sitting. It is that good. Every story in this anthology is a winner, a terrifying gem in a nightmarish goldmine. If you don’t peek over the covers in fear at night after reading this book, you must be related to one of the monstrosities mentioned within its pages.
If you are not familiar with Beyond the Nightlight, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of A Murder of Storytellers:
Fears fade as years pass. They are never as salient or real as they were when you were a child. Unless they are. Though these terrors stem from children, the stories are not for them. From the dark to boogeymen to real life horrors, there is no innocence here. Featuring stories from Adrian Ludens, Alex Schvartsman, Adan Ramie, James Michael Shoberg, Jill Corddry, Robin Kirk, Kurt Newton, Stanley Webb, Shannon Iwanski, Kristin J Cooper, Eric Blair, Amanda Davis, Michael Schutz-Ryan, Lonnie Bricker, Stephanie Madan, Jack Burgos, John Biggs, Kerry B. Black, M.J. Pack, Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, Ian Shoebridge, Mary Pletsch, Lisa Finch, and Douglas Ford covering everything from the monsters under the bed, to the skeletons in the closet, and all of the little fears and insecurities that drive people to become monsters.
I am very impressed with the talent in this book. I only recognize a couple of names (I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing one of Adian Ludens’ own anthologies a while back), but every author is skilled and worth reading. I would daresay the literary world will be hearing many of their names as well in the future.
Every story in Beyond the Nightlight is written well and flows nicely. Each topic skillfully compliments the subject of the anthology, and there is no dead weight in terms of content. I can say with all honesty I enjoyed every story in this book.
One of my favorite stories is “Bad Mother” by Kristin J. Cooper. In this tale, a woman heads to her son’s room to put him to bed, but instead finds him holding back an attack from a monster in his wardrobe. The young hero helps her escape, but the two discover more horrors awaiting them. This is probably my favorite piece in the whole book. It is crazy intense and horrifying (especially the ending!).
Another favorite is “Sam” by Shenoa Carroll-Bradd. This simple story tells of one mother’s “love” for her children. I am awed at how this story can be so short, but it conveys SO MUCH with so little. This is a true testament to the immense talent of the author.
Beyond the Nightlight is a huge win for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to be scared before bedtime. Be warned, however: you will definitely lose some sleep after reading these tales. The book is available now in a variety of formats, so pick it up now.