“A study in fear. Your worst nightmares realized.”
–Scream Hard Reviews
Twenty unforgettable tales of transgression and horror by the award-winning author of KIND NEPENTHE.
In “Mine” a child hangs precariously between the isthmus of innocence and evil, shedding his humanity for the altar of a wolf pup.
A horrifying and ancient legend reveals itself with a shocking new twist in “A Dirty Winter Moon.”
“Have a Heart” teaches us that nature always prevails over the follies of man, sometimes in an extremely gruesome manner.
In “Rumpelstiltskin” the troll under the bridge is very real, and wants your children for unspeakable deeds.
In “The Gym Teacher” a boy’s obsession with serial killers leads him to discover the true nature of a monster.
These twenty stories traverse the outskirts of society to reveal the brutality of humanity in all its gory glory.
Horror After Dark Review
UNDER ROTTING SKY: Stories, is a collection of twenty tales by Matthew V. Brockmeyer. These are not your light “campfire-style” stories, but rather they embrace the more extreme side of horror. Triggers? Oh yes–just about every major one you can think of!
I’m not one to shy away from extreme horror, but I will admit there was one tale that touched upon a subject that was off-limits to me. While I did find several stories that I enjoyed for their originality, I felt that the collection focused overwhelmingly upon the most bleak and depressing aspects of life you could envision. The abrupt endings worked for some, but I felt that others could have used a bit more “depth”. Perhaps if some “different” themes had been interspersed throughout, I would have enjoyed it more, as a whole.
As it stands, some of the tales I enjoyed were:
–“Lifeguard”: There was no shortage of extreme images in this story! Its originality, and the thoughts left in my mind after its conclusion, made it one that won’t soon be forgotten.
–“A New Man”: This was one of my favorite selections in this collection. While the story was fairly predictable (I believe it was designed to be), it was the tone and little comments throughout that made it so spellbinding. The very first sentence began: “Bartholomew had the internet to thank for everything. Without the internet, he wouldn’t have know anything about transorbital lobotomies . . .” If THAT doesn’t grasp you attention, I’m not sure what would!
–“The Gym Teacher”: This one deals with a young man obsessed with the macabre and serial killers, in general. “What makes a man a monster?”
–“Mine”: This was the first story of the collection. The way individuals deal with grief in their own ways was a powerful statement. “. . . Max decided he was no longer a little boy, but a wolf pup . . . “
–“Nightingale”: was my number one choice for favorite story here. A historical fiction piece, told in interview style, with descriptions and emotions that were so potent throughout that they stayed with me. “. . . A bunch of misfits, losers, and orphans, sure, but we were bound to each other like a family might be . . . “
Overall, a mixed bag of extreme horror. Some I identified with, but many that I personally found too “bleak” to be entertaining. Opinions always vary, and fans of more extreme horror may find this to their liking.
About The Author
Matthew V. Brockmeyer lives in an off-grid cabin, deep in the forest of Northern California, with his wife and two children. He enjoys howling at the moon and drenching his fangs in human blood.
He is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel KIND NEPENTHE: A Savage Tale of Terror Set in the Heart of California’s Marijuana Country.
His short stories have been featured in numerous publications, both in print and online, including, among others, Infernal Ink Magazine, Not One of Us, Timeless Tales Magazine, Body Parts Magazine, Alephi, Pulp Metal Magazine, and the anthologies The Edge: Infinite Darkness, After the Happily Ever After, and One Hundred Voices.
His a regular contributor to Cultured Vultures, where he writes book reviews and interviews authors.