From Dark Places is a collection of short fiction from E J Newman. The title is well placed, as the stories are all dark in a variety of ways. They explore subjects from the existential to the personal, from infidelity to murder, from the supernatural to the super normal and they’re all bloody good.
A lot of these stories are really short, flash fiction pieces capturing a vibe or an event and searing a single scene onto the reader’s brain with uncomfortable clarity. Some of the tales are longer, exploring all manner of things from Creation to madness.
Newman writes with a tight turn of phrase, many a well placed word and an eye for place and setting that makes all these tales of urban unease extremely convincing. She inhabits her characters, their distinctive personalities entrancing. Newman explores the speculative with ease; gods, demons and angels inhabit these pages as much at home as the cheating spouses, spurned lovers and ugly, foul-mouthed orphans.
Some of the stories have a bit of fun to them, some a touch of the absurd or the surreal, all an edge of darkness that plays nicely with our boundaries of comfort.
Emma Newman is a powerful emerging voice in dark fiction and From Dark Places is an excellent selection of her work. I’ll be watching out for more of her stuff. You should too.
But before you do that, I’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky reader. Leave a comment with your idea of a dark place. The one that creeps me out the most gets the book.