This is a great collection, especially for those of you, who, like me grew up reading Pike’s books back in the day. Newer readers can also appreciate this collection, however, as it stands on its own as a collection of a fun, fast paced horror, even for those who don’t remember the 90’s.
The first story, “Death of Despair,” has a creepy premise and starts the collection out on a high note. In it, Mike wakes up after a wild party and notices that everything feels just a little bit off. He’s further confused when one by one his ex-girlfriends come to visit him, informing him that they are actually visiting him from their dreams and hinting that he has died. The twist on this one is really killer, and it’s one of the best stories in the collection.
“The Fan From Hell” brings back Marvin Summers, from Master of Murder, and he’s always an entertaining main character. Readers new to Pike shouldn’t fret, however, because you don’t have to be familiar with the novel to understand this story. “Fan From Hell” revolves around a stalker fan seducing Martin and eventually blackmailing him. Can he outsmart her and regain control of his life? This was a lot of fun.
“The Last Dawn” is more apocalyptic and vaguely sci fi than straight up horror, but the situation the children in the story find themselves enduring is subtly terrifying. It’s bleak and tragic, but features, in my opinion, some of Pike’s best writing.
“Timespell” is a science fiction story of advanced beings mixed with a contemporary teen drama. It is by far the most amusing story collected here, and even though it’s not horror, it ranks with “Death of Despair” as my favorite in the book.
“Revenge” is a story of an angry jilted boyfriend, and the revenge he plans to enact on his ex. Things don’t go completely as planned though, and maybe that’s best for both of them. This is probably the weakest story of the bunch, but it’s a quick read and still worth your time.
The last story, “Dark Walk,” explores how your imagination can run away from you, making monsters out of the mundane. The final shocking twist takes the story into real horror territory, and “Walk” rounds out the collection on a high note.