The Midnight Hour by Neil Davies is a plainly dressed horror anthology that could easily be passed by in the crowd of horror ebooks that walk the streets of amazon.com. However, you would seriously miss out on a great read if you did that. The 14 tales that comprise this book take the reader into delightfully, disturbing worlds of darkness.
Neil Davies was born in 1959 before the horror genre became the place we know today. He was ten when Night of the Living Dead was released and probably nowhere near seeing it for years. He didn’t have the epic novels of Stephen King and the other bestseller propagators to inspire his writing. He had Hitchcok, Matheson, Bradbury, the pulp writers, and maybe the great Hammer films of his homeland. Whatever his muse, these tales stand out as something excitingly refreshing in our zombie, vampire overkill world.
Short story is not really the best term for what Neil does. I prefer “micro novel”. Wrapped in these small bites are fully developed characters and plots that unfold in layers. The pacing is a steady pagan drumbeat that keeps us turning page after page in a realm where terror stalks the innocent with cold indifference.
Twelve of the stories are straight on horror. They’re bloody, they’re dark, and Davies writes with confidence in his storytelling chops. He doesn’t seem to try and hook his reader’s attention, but he invites them to look into a peep hole for a glimpse of evil. Turn away or look. His stories are not meant for mass appeal. He uses disorientation, over amplification of the mundane, and ambiguity with the subtlety of a magician. Other times he charges straight on with a chainsaw to give us lovely gore. I hope you like the scene with the coat hanger as much as I did.
I give The Midnight Hour by Neil Davies five maggot-infested severed heads. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thanks Neil.
In support of a five severed head writer below you will find a link to his other works. I know what I want to review next. I love winter horror.
Heads Will Roll,