From Dark Places by E J Newman – Review

From Dark PlacesFrom 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.

You can get a signed copy of the book directly from Emma at her website here. Or you can order from Amazon here. Follow Emma on Twitter at @EmApocalyptic.

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.

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14 thoughts on “From Dark Places by E J Newman – Review

  1. Thank you so much, Alan for the time you invested in reading Em’s anthology and also for writing the review – without which I would have been lost for what to put in the blurb (I would have liked to have filched a whole heap of quotes to use on the back)

    My dark place? The place where my thoughts converge and there is no future – for our entire planet. (I need to get out a bit more and stop producing post-apocalyptic fiction!)

    Thanks again…

  2. Huddled against the back of the closet, all the lights out, waiting for The Thing on the other side of the door to go away.

    Think about it. 😉

  3. My idea of a dark place is that recess of your mind where all bad thoughts are created – and you never know if one day you’ll snap or not and become just as bad as the people in the books…

  4. I too wanted to thank you for the review, it means a great deal to me. No need for me to tell you about my dark places – you have already read stories that come from them!

  5. Thanks guy! Emma, you’re welcome – I’m really pleased that Jodi introduced me to your writing.

    Keep the creepy things coming in, folks. Someone will get a book.

  6. The creepiest dark place I know of was immortalised in the 1993 film “Boxing Helena”. That’s the one where a surgeon becomes obsessed with the seductive woman he once had an affair with and, refusing to accept that she has moved on, he amputates her limbs and holds her captive in his mansion. Creep-y!!!!

  7. My dark place is most probably within my own mind – that place you sometimes find yourself stuck when things look bleak, the place that turns the shadow of a coat hanging on the door into a looming figure of evil, the place that turns the ringing of a 3am phone call into a report of a death in the family, the place that turns the sound of the house settling at night into furtive footsteps in the hall outside your room, the place that turns the absence of my wife’s night-breathing beside me into the thought that she might be dead.

  8. Woo Hoo a challenge – A Dark Place:

    Sitting on the patio with one glass two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon – one empty the other half full six weeks after the funeral. Her sisters have come by just once to get the good jewerly then leaving without saying good-bye. Her kids call to ask about the insurance. Friends coming by with their stories about bad breaks and how a loan would save their home, their marriage, keep them from doing something they might have to do unless you help them out and you do because you don’t give a rats ass about the money. Being reminded constantly of her and it doesn’t help that you have to go through her things – decide what to do with them – and you found that shoebox full of letters you wrote to her in the beginning and you planned on spending so many more years with her, but someone’s god decided it was not in the master plan. So you sit there drunk – alone – hearing her voice from months before she left, “I expect you to live and I want you to continue to write” and you didn’t know what she was telling you her secret.

    That says it all for me.

    🙂

    John

  9. My idea of a dark place: Body completely paralyzed yet aware of my surroundings so I’m unable to move or scream as I watch them pull the plug on my life support. Not that I give much thought to such things.

  10. Holy shit, Tim, you just made me cringe. Well done, we have a winner! Tim, if your life support hasn’t been turned off, email me your mailing address and I’ll get you sent a copy of Emma’s book.

    Thanks to everyone for entering. I wish I could send you all copies of the book. But please do buy a copy – it’s well worth your hard-earned.

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