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by Dan Weatherer

I've always been a fan of the world of short works; especially horror. In the film world this usually means anthologies displaying several tales being played out on the screen, but in written fiction it's largely about the short story collection. I've read many volumes, some from authors I know otherwise, other times from people I only know from their wonderful short collections. The latest in this proud tradition is a book called Neverlight by Dan Weatherer. I had the good fortune of checking it out and I found this book to be a unique mixture of tales as well as other forms of literary work.

Let's dive in a little more deeply. Neverlight combines creepy stories along with more poetry-based pieces. They are strewn together in such a way that form a lyrical sway to the overall collection, something that I found worked nicely. The stories and the like vary in length which I think added to the liveliness of the book. Some stories are drawn out while others paint a single picture; a concept. It was an artistic move that could have gone awry if done improperly but was handled meticulously enough to work out quite well.

The book has the rare gift of presenting the unique story points and getting the reader sucked in early, which is a benefit. I love short collections but sometimes it can be daunting to finish a story and have to become reinvested from the ground up in another over and over again. With Neverlight, however, Dan Weatherer lays down the concept early and hooked me in with ease. It helps that the entries are full of interesting ideas and scenarios.

The stories cover all different sorts of horror territories with an original flair to them all. Signed deals with a writer who's looking to get ahead with his desired profession and the lengths he will go to insure his place in the writing world. Other works have a more supernatural tinge. The Watchful Eye, for example, deals with the sinister goings on at a strange cottage. Subjects include a horrific trip to an amusement park, a journey into the belly of a beast, mental disorders that may very well be something more, a boy who makes a deal with the devil and even someone who thinks they're a vampire hunter. None of the collection feels redundant and the pacing of the overall book compliments the project nicely.

The stories not only delve into different styles and scenarios but tones as well. Some have a hint of humor, others sadness. One story concerns a young man with a personal connection with death. The story surprisingly is accompanied by a touch of hope and you never quite know where a story will turn or end up. Some entries, such as The Raven and the Wolf have an old-school legend tint to them, only completely original in material. I grew up a big fan of Native American stories and this one had that type of feeling to it that I very much appreciated.

I also liked the mixture of narrative styles, as the book never feels convoluted or congested at all. The stories don't mix and mesh together in my head because they're all so different, yet at the same time go together and complement each other well. Nothing feels like a rehashing of any kind and the book moves along smoothly. Even familiar subjects such as hauntings and the boogeyman take on a whole new life, shined on by a new light; just because you think you're familiar with a concept doesn't mean you'll be prepared for where Weatherer takes you in Neverlight.

by Dan Weatherer
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback: 154 pages
Language: English
Released: 07/07/2016
Reviewer: P.J. Griffin

Sometimes it was the passages in the book that were only a few lines long that left the strongest impression. In just a few words whole worlds were built, scenarios etched with clarity and at no point did the more poetic moments feel in any way pretentious or artsy for the sake of that kind of thing. I felt that everything I was reading was authentic expression.

All in all I found myself quite impressed with Neverlight. It was a fun mixture of various forms of horror as well as emotions, styles and angles. It never dragged on unnecessarily nor did I find myself growing tired of the book at any time. I've read many anthologies in my time and Neverlight is definitely one of the more unique that I've come across. I look forward to checking out more from Dan Weatherer and anticipate seeing more places his mind will take the reader.

P.J. Griffin, HMS

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