Midnight. Some call it the witching hour. Others call it the devil’s hour. Here in the graveyard, midnight is a very special time. It is a time when ghostly spirits are at their strongest, when the veil between our world and theirs is at its thinnest. Legend has it, that while most of the world is asleep, the lack of prayers allow the spirits to communicate under the cover of darkness, among the headstones, their whispers rustling in the leaves of the old oak trees. But if you’re here in the graveyard, you can tell yourself it’s just the wind, that the moonlight is playing tricks on your eyes, that it’s only the swirling mist you see. But when you hear the graveyard gate clang shut, the dead have something to say. Here are their stories…
Horror After Dark Review
MIDNIGHT IN THE GRAVEYARD, edited by Kenneth W. Cain, is the debut anthology from Silver Shamrock Publishing. This collection features 25 stories that run the gamut of horror: from ghosts–some innocent, and others not–humans, animals, psychological, monsters, revenge, redemption, and even nature itself, there is a type of story here for just about everyone.
The incredible truth is, that with this line-up of both established, and newer authors, there isn’t a “bad” tale among them. While certain ones obviously stuck with me more than others, there wasn’t a single one that I felt I “wasted time on”.
I rated the vast majority of these individual selections between four and five stars. For an anthology of any kind, this is astounding. I believe that the variety of the stories, and the varying strengths of the different authors, is what made this such an overwhelming success.
If I were to point out the merits of each story, this would quickly become a five page review. Although I honestly believe each deserves recognition, here are just a few of my personal favorites:
–“Tug O’ War”, by Chad Lutzke: This one hones in on our sense of wanting to find some sort of solace after the death of a loved one. “I can smell him rotting.” Not only did I not see this coming, but it’s one that I found impossible to stop thinking about afterwards.
–“Drown”, by Hunter Shea: In this tale, we are (re)introduced to the paranormal experts, Jessica and Eddie, who appear in other novels by the author. It is NOT necessary to have read them first, in order to understand this story. This one has a secret at its core that truly surprised me, and a dynamic ending! “. . . Yep, you’re broken.”
–“Dog Days”, by Kenneth W. Cain: This one will mess with you… I was spellbound throughout, and could easily see this becoming part of a longer work.
–“The Glimmer Girls”, by Kenneth McKinley: This story was horrific in its implications, and in the fact that it has a basis in reality. Often, the stories with a kernel of truth are the most unforgettable for the fact that they can/did happen–at least, to an extent.
–“Last Call at the Sudden Death Saloon”, by Allan Leverone: Here we have a journalist visiting “The Most Haunted Town in America”. “. . . Probably not the ideal thing to be known for, but you don’t get to pick your fate . . .”This story was oozing with atmosphere from the beginning, and I felt like I was actually there.
–“Russian Dollhouse”, by Jason Parent: A Halloween “haunted house” story with a twist–done to perfection! “. . . It’s this house . . . It knows . . . This house knows everything.” I loved all of the details in this one!
–“Those Who Are Terrified”, by Elizabeth Massie: This story of a trio of young children staying at their grandparents’ home was my absolute favorite! Almost immediately, when the children refer to their Grandfather as “Sir”, the unease began to set in. The best part is that there wasn’t much “predictable” about this story–when things hit you, they hit hard! “. . . Well, those who are terrified deserve to be terrified . . . “ I had to re-read this one immediately afterwards to be certain I didn’t miss a thing.
–“Portrait”, by Kealan Patrick Burke: The only thing I will say about this story is that it paints the perfect ending to the anthology!
Obviously, the stories contributed by authors such as William Meikle, Robert McCammon, Thomas F. Monteleone, Catherine Cavendish, Ronald Kelly, and other familiar names were wonderful to lose yourself in, but their names alone will tell you that much. This assortment consisting of well known and up and coming authors has just about everything a horror enthusiast could ask for. MIDNIGHT IN THE GRAVEYARD just made my number one anthology of 2019.
About The Author
About Kenneth W. Cain
Kenneth W. Cain is the author of four novels, four short story collections, four novellas, and several children’s books among his body of work. He is the editor for the anthologies Tales From The Lake Volume 5, When the Clock Strikes 13, and Midnight in the Graveyard. The winner of the 2017 Silver Hammer Award, Cain is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association as well as chair for the membership committee and the Pennsylvania chapter. Cain resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.
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