The Black Room Manuscripts: Volume 2 – Anthology – by Sinister Horror Company – Book Review

21 Tales of Terror From

Shaun Hutson . Graham Masterton . Laura Mauro . William Meikle . Lindsey Goddard . Matt Shaw . Sam Stone . Rich Hawkins . Jasper Bark . J R Park . Duncan P Bradshaw . Daniel Marc Chant . Lily Childs . Nathan Robinson . Jack Rollins . Dani Brown . Dr Lynne Campbell . Paul M Feeney . Rebecca Lazaro . Tim Clayton . Stuart Park


I love anthologies – they’re the best way to discover new authors. You get to enjoy a few thousand words from a variety of people, some known, some completely alien to you, and from there decide which of those authors you want to look up and read more of.

Dissecting Lucifer’s Scripts (foreword, by Chris Hall of DLS Reviews): We start with a well-written and empassioned foreword about the horror genre and its fans. A lovely opening from someone who cares about the horror community.

Prologue (by J R Park): This is a super creepy lead in to the book, the first bookend. It’s half of the framing device and reminds me of what was similarly done in Cliver Barker’s “Books of Blood”.

The Drawers (by Tim Clayton): A hard read because the subject matter is grim and grisly, and the protagonist a sick monster. Interesting format, great tension-building and pacing, and a good ending.

Spores (by Jack Rollins): If you find strange mushrooms growing at the bottom of your garden, for the love of the Dark Lord, throw some weed killer on them immediately! An excellent story with great characters and a fun concept.

What the Dark Does (by Graham Masterton): Wonderfully weird and extremely creepy/outright scary. One of the most memorable in the whole anthology.

Screams in the Night (by J R Park): Very scary. Made me wonder if J R Park is actually alright. The stuff of nightmares… nightmares, I tell you! Also, great ending.

Night Patrol (by Paul M Feeney): Two officers are out on patrol and get a call. Anxiety and dread inducing, mysterious, and I had no idea where it was going.

Cut to the Core (by Rebecca S. Lazaro): The stuff of nightmarish stereotypes (and probably also regular nightmares!).

The Glen (by Nathan Robinson): Oh my Dark Lord. The kind of subject matter that absolutely thrills me, but this filled me with despair. Great story, excellent world-building and characters, especially for a short story.

The Vile Glib of Gideon Wicke (by Lily Childs): Dreamy, philosophical, and dare I say it, intellectual horror. Slightly confused, but always impressed by Lily Childs.

Red Mask (by Lindsey Goddard): Excellent story-telling from start to finish. Dark, bleak, fantastic pacing and tension. It made me emotional – my glowing red eyes almost shed a radioactive tear. A real-world horror that will make you want to lock your doors extra tight. Also, why the hell have I never read any Lindsey Goddard before?! This is all YOUR fault, for not introducing me to her sooner.

The Ring of Karnak (by Daniel Marc Chant): A man receives a mysterious piece of jewellery but everyone that recognises the symbols on it reacts… badly. A fun and intriguing Lovecraftian tale.

The Gift (by Shaun Hutson): It’s a twin thing – that’s what people say, isn’t it? Talk about commitment to family!

The Father (by Rich Hawkins): There’s a whole lot of mind-f***ery going on in this one. It has shades of melancholic sadness, but also abject horror.

Oranges are Orange (by Stuart Park): Just when you think you’ve already read the most sick and twisted story in the book, this one comes along. Dear Lord.

Drip (by Dani Brown): Imagine being trapped in a pitch black box with barely enough room to move. Extremely effective second-person story-telling, and incredibly uncomfortable to read. Excellent!

Renewal (by William Meikle): Survivor’s guilt is a bitch. This kind of story always creeps me out!

Eleven (by Matt Shaw): I initially skipped past this one because Matt Shaw’s work disturbs me so much that in the moment, I didn’t want to risk my mind going wrong and bendy. Of course, I returned, later on when I’d found some balls. As expected from Shaw – who is excellent at what he does – this is a very difficult and sickening read. However, the ending made me fist-pump the air and whoop for joy. A great story.

Mutant Building 101 (by Duncan P Bradshaw): Hey, you guys… have you ever wondered what would happen if a snake fused with a spider? Well wonder no more – just read this story! This is classic Bradshaw – what a hoot.

Backbone isn’t Always Enough (by Dr. Lynne Campbell): Even if the stranger looks like a kindly and vulnerable old man, if someone knocks on your door, just slam it in their face! This started creepy and went to truly bizarre places that I very much enjoyed.

And the Light is His Garment (by Jasper Bark): A man imprisoned for a decade does not meet a nice end. This one has themes… glorious themes!

Terry in the Bed by the Window (by Laura Mauro): An elderly, apparently non-verbal, and helpless man is… well, he’s up to no good, let’s put it that way. Brilliant escalation of events and pacing, and loved the ending.

Three Sisters (by Sam Stone): Damn those witches! Damn them to Hell! Orrrrrrr do their bidding… the choice is yours.

Epilogue (by J R Park): I made a note that said this – “gross! hahahahahaah”. What a great, sickening round-off to this anthology. A perfect closer.

The Black Room Manuscripts: Volume Two is an overall excellent and eclectic assortment of scary stories by some truly talented writers, and being a charity anthology, it’s all for a good cause. My favourites are ‘Spores’ (Jack Rollins), ‘Red Mask’ by Lindsay Goddard, and ‘Screams in the Night’ (J. R. Park).

If you’d like to tiptoe into the terrifying world of these anthologies, you can find this one here:


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