When presented with the opportunity to review Samantha Combs’ latest horror story anthology, I admit I jumped at the chance. I thoroughly enjoyed her last anthology, “Teeth and Talons”, which I reviewed here at HorrorNews.net and so couldn’t wait to see what was new in her world. As I expected, she did not disappoint.
“Way Past Midnight” is a collection of five short horror stories, up from four in “Teeth and Talons”, and is 72 pages long as opposed to 37. All the stories are still very easy to read and I had no issue at all finishing the entire collection in one day, although piecemealing it would work too.
The five stories are these:
Night Crawlers – A rogue ambulance driver does a lot more than just show up at the scene and haul off the injured. He has a puzzle to put together and all of the pieces must be accounted for. Just hope he doesn’t decide you are one of the missing pieces he needs to finish his latest puzzle.
WifeBeGone.com – A ten year old boy gets a new computer for his birthday. His mean stepmother is opposed to the idea from the start and does what she can to torture him while his father is away. Little does his stepmother know that his Uncle Jimmy gave him the website address that can fix all his problems.
The Offering – Megan is once again babysitting for the Parkers. With well-behaved kids, a large screen TV and all the food she could eat, what wasn’t to love about the job. Well, maybe the whole being set up as a living sacrifice thing. That might be a deal-breaker.
Killer Shoes – Darla sure loves her shoes. When she acquires a brand new pair of red leather high heeled shoes she is unstoppable at work, in the bars, and in the stores. That is, until someone else takes a liking to her killer shoes.
The Anglers – Chuck has been having a tough time with his new boss. He and his friend Al decide to take the new boss out for a weekend of camping, fishing, and beer swilling. Nothing could possibly go wrong out on the lake, could it? It isn’t like there’s a monster in the lake or anything.
Out of the five, I have to say that Killer Shoes was my favorite story. Samantha did a great job making you understand the personality changes that accompanied Darla’s new attitude towards herself when she donned the fire-engine red heels. Also, The Anglers threw out a little twist (a second twist, actually) at the end that I was not expecting and was a nice surprise.
Overall I really liked “Way Past Midnight”. The five stories were short (13 to 14 pages each), had decent characters, somewhat unique plots, and great storytelling. They do well conjuring up their mental images in your head and the endings leave you satisfied. If you are into short horror stories, you could definitely do worse than picking up this collection and giving it a read.
Book Review: Way Past Midnight – Author Samantha Combs