From an oddities shop looking to expand their macabre collection, to a back roads bridge with a horrifying past, Let There Be Dark is a collection of eight sinister stories full of ghostly phantoms, savage beasts, and the most frightening creature of all: humans. This first horror collection from the author of the best-selling novel, Bone White, thrusts you beyond the fringe and reminds us why we should all fear the dark…
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Publisher: Hydra Publications
Publication Length: 180 pages
I received a copy of this book as part of the publicity tour hosted by the always fabulouse Erin Al-Mehairi at Oh, for the Hook of a Book . This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this collection. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review. If you would like to review Let There Be Dark or feature Tim with an interview or guest article for a media publication, blog, or author blurb, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let There Be Dark is a very unusual collection. What's so odd about it you may ask,,, It's one of the few collections I've read this year that I can say ALL of the stories are fantastic. Not one bad or even slightly bruised apple in the bunch! From the horrific sacrifice in Pigs to the chilling ghost haunting The Bridge there is something in this collection that will make anyone's skin crawl. My favorite stories would have to be, (It was hard to narrow this down to just two!), Growing Cold Together which has a creature I hadn't encountered since my days at summer camp and was thrilled to come across within these pages, and The Company You Keep which features my favorite of all the monsters out there, you'll have to read it to find out which one. These are fast paced gems that kept me swiping the pages until the very end. I can't wait to get my hands on more tales from Tim McWhorter! A perfect Halloween read, 5 stars.
Tim McWhorter was born under a waning crescent moon, and while he has no idea what the significance is, he thinks it sounds really cool to say. A graduate of Otterbein College, he is the author of the horror-thrillers, Shadows Remain, Bone White, its sequel, Blackened, and Let There Be Dark. He lives just outside of Columbus, OH, with his wife, a dwindling number of children and a few obligatory "family" pets that have somehow become solely his responsibility. He is currently hard at work on one of several ongoing projects and relies on interaction with readers for those much-needed breaks…
"Crafting creepy thrillers in the vein of Tim Waggoner and Dean Koontz, Tim McWhorter doesn’t disappoint." – Brian Keene, author of The Complex and The Rising
"[A]n intelligent thrill ride ... a love letter to slasher stories." – David J. Sharp, Horror Underground
"Bone White stands tall in the horror field. McWhorter is an author to watch." - C. Bryan Brown, author of They Are Among Us
"McWhorter reaches deep inside us to find our darkest fears then brings them to life on the page. He makes the things that go bump in the night afraid." - Tony Acree, author of The Hand of God
"McWhorter is a very capable writer with an engaging style." - Ed Gosney, author of Prometheus Stumbles
And now as a special Halloween treat read on for my interview with Tim McWhorter,,,,
1. Tell me a little about yourself.
I currently live in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, but hope to one day make my home where six-month winters don’t exist. I started writing later in life, and even then, pretty much only wrote for myself. A few years ago, with the encouragement of fellow authors, I started taking this writing thing more seriously. I now have six books out through various publishers.
2. What do you do when you’re not writing (day job)?
Fortunately, I do have a day job, so my family doesn’t have to resort to cannibalism to survive. One would hope there are other reasons keeping them from it, but one can never be too sure. From 8-5, Monday through Friday, I design molds and dies for an industrial ceramic manufacturer.
3. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been creating with words since high school in the mid 80s, cutting my teeth on really bad song lyrics that even the cheesiest of the spandex-wearing hair bands would feel were beneath them. As I got older, I played around with the short story concept to equally incompetent results. It wasn’t until much later when I went back to college as an adult that I learned how to churn out somewhat palatable work. That was about 2003. I self-published my first book, a novella titled Shadows Remain, in 2013.
4. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I’m not sure if any one writer or author inspired me to start writing. I’ve always been a lover of books, going back as far as I can remember. I didn’t have video games and smart phones and YouTube back then, and I thank God for it. I immersed myself in television and books. I think I consumed enough storytelling that, ultimately, I wanted to try telling my own stories.
5. What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?
Easily the most challenging part of being a writer is getting my work in front of people. Broadening my readership. A recent reviewer of my latest book asked how she had never heard of me before. And my response would be, "I know, right? I’m trying!" The writing process itself is the easy part, and the part I love most. Simply creating characters and fleshed-out stories from mere fleeting thoughts. That’s magic and exciting as hell. I even enjoy the editing phase. As long as I’m moving forward with a project, I’m in a good place.
6. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
The words seem to flow more fluidly when I write either outdoors, or in front of a large window where I can see the outdoors. I’m not sure why, but nature has not only a quieting effect on me, but an inspiring one. Even a simple drive in the country gets me in the mood to write.
7. What kind of hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?
I’ve dabbled with many hobbies through the years, but the two constants have been travelling and movies. I really enjoy getting away from home and seeing places I don’t see every day. I get excited even for a day trip somewhere new, hitting wineries with my wife. At least I’m out and about. And when I can’t be out and about, I like to turn off the lights, draw the curtains and start a movie. Home theater systems were invented for people like me.
8. What is your favorite book? Movie? TV show?
Favorite movie would be Legends of the Fall. It’s so heartbreaking. Jaws comes in a very close second. I’ve loved too many books over the years to pick an absolute favorite, but one of them would be Nathaniel by John Saul. It’s the book that hooked me on horror. Television has really upped its game in recent years, making it difficult to choose a favorite. Netflix’s Hell on Wheels, The Killing and Broadchurch are a few. Big Bang Theory is probably my network favorite.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just write. Keep writing and then write some more. It’s the only way to get better. A golfer doesn’t improve his or her swing by not hitting more balls. Even flash fiction or blog posts will help hone your skills. And don’t listen to the naysayers. You can do this.
10. Can you tell us about any of your new work? Future work?
I recently saw the release of my first collection of horror short stories, Let There Be Dark. It contains a little bit of everything, from the paranormal to creatures to human beings with more than one screw loose. It’s getting pretty good reviews, so it apparently doesn’t suck. That’s always a fear. My current work in progress takes place in an old, yet refurbished theater that may or may not be haunted. It’s probably 90% complete, so I hope to be shopping it around next year.
11. If you weren’t a writer, what would you do for a living?
Since I’m so far removed from writing for a living, I would probably do what I do now—design things. Right now, it’s tooling for a ceramic manufacturer, but I’ve also designed all of my own book covers. I really enjoy it. If I could make a living creating book covers for others, I would.
12. What scares you?
I had a Christian upbringing. And while I don’t practice it as much as I did then, books or movies with religious (or more so, sacrilegious) undertones still unnerve me like no other. Ghosts don’t bother me. Werewolves, zombies nor vampires. But, tell me a story where a priest is confronting a demon, or a young girl is screwing around with a Ouija board, that affects my heartrate.
13. What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?
"Who is Tim McWhorter and is he any good?" The answer is, "Hell yes, and you should give him a try."
14. Where can fans stalk you online?
Feel free to check out my website, www.timmcwhorter.com or my Amazon or GoodReads pages, especially if they’d like to leave a review. Facebook, Twitter and email (email@example.com) are the best ways to reach out and personally tell me how much you love my work. LOL Readers can also use those portals to tell me how much I suck, but I don’t respond to those messages nearly as quickly.
While struggling to cope with the emotional and physical impact of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, single mother Sophie Harrington is tormented by a man from her past: her old neighbor Ronnie Cribbins.
Cribbins has been dead for the past fifteen years and Sophie is faced with the possibility that his malevolent spirit could be the cause of her autoimmunity, because she can feel him attacking her senses from within.
Enlisting the help of her new neighbor Piotr Kamiński, a troubled, younger man, with a dark past of his own, Sophie must look to her childhood in order to expose a secret she hadn’t realized she’d kept hidden. Because if she doesn’t recognize the truth, she, along with her eleven-year-old daughter, will be sucked into Cribbins’ cold, black, stinking world forever.
And in Cribbins’ world there’s no medication – just pain and sickness.
Publication Date: June 1, 2018
Publisher: Corvus Corone Press
Publication Length: 264 pages
I received a copy of this book as part of the Cribbins’ Blog Tour for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
Cribbins is an eerie and very disturbing ghost story. Any parent knows the fears of not being able to keep your child safe. Anyone with health issues can tell you how frightening they can be. R.H. Dixon takes these fears to a whole other level by adding in a mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Sophie is a realistic and sympathetic character to follow as she deals with a devastating illness, worry for her little girl, and navigating her attraction to a man who has as many secrets as she’s repressing. Cribbins, both the character and the book, made my skin crawl. As a person, he’s the kind that makes you feel like you need a shower to wash the slime off just by talking to him. As a ghost he is pure evil. A suspenseful and gripping 4 star read.
Human and ghostly monsters terrify in R. H. Dixon's Cribbins, a well-written and effective novel of repressed memory and psychological torment. - Review by Morbidly Beautiful
A novel of subtle, creeping-in-on-cat-feet, psychological and supernatural horror, as only the British can manage. This novel reminded me of Henry James' "Turn of the Screw," of the supernatural novels of Shani Struthers, and of the crime noir of Rachel Abbott. - Review by The Haunted Reading Room
It was full of tension and suspense which enabled me to read it in one sitting. There was times that I was holding my breath wondering what would happen to Sophie when Cribbins visited her. - Review by Terror-Tree
Dixon does a great job getting the reader into Sophie's mind! The characterization here is so complete that I not only felt I knew her, but also believed-immediately-that the feelings and ideas invading her mind were real. This novel really gets to the reader, psychologically, forcing you to think along unfamiliar lines. I found this to be an exciting new take on the way someone could be haunted. Dixon did an excellent job of maintaining the suspense throughout the entire novel, and of weaving in little snippets of the past to keep the reader constantly thinking about how everything would end up connecting in the big picture. The book captivated my attention from beginning to end, taking me mentally to places I would have never wished to go. Highly recommended. - Review by Horror After Dark
Scouse Gothic is a book about a group of vampires and how their present and past lives are linked to the city of Liverpool. We may not be vampires or immortal, but many would be surprised to realise how our own family histories are also connected to the port.
Albert Dock and the Liverpool waterfront, world heritage sites
Liverpool was granted its Royal Charter in 1207, at the time it was a small port on the River Mersey trading mainly with Ireland. Very little would change for five hundred years until the world’s first ‘wet’ dock was built, and Liverpool was able to accept much larger vessels. These Ocean going ships enabled Liverpool to begin trading with the Americas, Africa and the Far East, and led directly to its dominance of the slave trade. At one point Liverpool’s merchants controlled 40% of the world’s slaving fleet. Very few slaves ever made it to Liverpool itself (although there are records of slaves occasionally being sold in the city) as it formed the hub of what was called the ‘Triangular trade’: goods from British factories were loaded onto ships and taken to Africa where they were exchanged for slaves; African slaves were transported across the Atlantic in those same ships to the Americas and exchanged for tobacco and sugar, which returned to Liverpool to be sold.
Albert Dock and the Liverpool waterfront, world heritage sites
With the abolition of slavery in Britain and its Empire, Liverpool had to find another source of income, it chose cotton. Once again, its merchants dominated the world market, and its cotton exchange set the price for raw cotton throughout the world. It was this reliance on cotton that caused Liverpool merchants to support the Confederate cause in the American Civil War. Although public opinion was openly Unionist, a small group of traders decided to help the Southern States. Confederate gold was smuggled across the Atlantic and used to purchase weapons in Liverpool. In fact, two of the most successful Confederate Raiders, CSS Alabama, and CSS Florida, were built secretly in the port. It is the construction of the Florida that forms part of the past life of my vampire, Melville.
The CSS Florida a Confederate warship built in Liverpool
During the rest of the 19th Century, Liverpool was responsible for transporting people looking for a new life to the US and the Empire. Most of the Irish fleeing the potato famine travelled through Liverpool, and many stayed in the city, giving it its distinctive accent. Most of the new immigrants to the US started their journey across the Atlantic from Liverpool, whether they were Irish, Italian or even Russian Jews fleeing persecution, all roads led to Liverpool.
The first American consulate in the UK was in this Liverpool building. Later a pub called the Eagle, and now a restaurant.
From the beginning of the 20th Century, immigration continued, but during both WW1 and WW2, troops from the US and Canada passed through the port on their way to fight in Europe. The convoy system which played such a pivotal role in the rearming and feeding Britain during WW2 was co-ordinated by the Royal Navy from a secret underground bunker in the city centre. Post war Liverpool has been most famous for the Beatles, but it has also been recognised as the European Capital of Culture in 2008, and the historic waterfront buildings, awarded World Heritage Status. Liverpool, like my vampires in Scouse Gothic is neither good nor bad, but also like them its past hides many dark secrets.
However unlikely it may seem, if you closely examined your family tree, you may find a connection to the city. If your forebears were slaves, they may have been transported on a ship from Liverpool. If they emigrated from Europe, they may have passed through Liverpool on their way to the US. If they served in either WW1 or WW2 they may have first landed in Britain at Liverpool Docks.
If you read the stories in the Scouse Gothic trilogy, you may find that you have a personal connection to the characters or can imagine that one of your ancestors may have known the city as my vampires once did.
Perhaps the history of Liverpool is not simply that of a port on the North-West coast of Britain, but the history of us all.
Ian was born and bred in Liverpool, as were his parents, and has always been proud to call himself a ‘Scouser’.
Leaving the city in the late 1970’s to study at London University, when Liverpool was city in decline, with boarded up shops and high unemployment.
After qualifying he worked first in Essex and East London before settling in Shropshire with his wife and daughter. Although he often visited the city during the intervening years to visit family and friends, the visits were brief and it was only due to an unusual set of circumstances that he found himself living in the city for a few months.
During this time the idea for ‘SCOUSE GOTHIC’ was born. As he explored the modern city of Liverpool, so changed in the last forty years but also so unchanged in many ways from his childhood. He wondered how it would feel to someone who had known the city when it was in its prime, when it was the largest port in the Empire. However to be able to do that you’d have to be over two hundred years old…or a vampire.
Melville began life as a short story, as did Lathom, Catherine and Frank. However as the short stories developed, so did the feeling that the city of Liverpool itself was as much a character as any of the others. The stories were rewritten to place all the characters in the same time and place, and to let them interrelate to one another. In some cases with fatal consequences.
Response to the first book ‘The Pool of Life…and Death’ was so positive that the characters were further explored in ‘Bloodbrothers..and Sisters’ and finally ‘All you need is...Blood.’