Published by Poltergeist Press, Various States of Decay is a collection of deliciously spooky short horror stories. The book features twenty different stories, ranging from a cannibal collecting meat for the post-apocalyptic winter, a company seeking to use dreams as advertisement spaces, and other weird and unusual events.
Matt Hayward has a talent for writing horror and this book is no different, showing short looks into nightmare worlds birthed from an exceptionally creative imagination.
The cover is just as enticing as the rest of the book, feeling reminiscent of the 30 Days of Night comics, and the contents of the book are equally as haunting. Most of the stories follow nightmarish creatures that lurk at the furthest edges of the imagination, otherworldly gods that take the disguises of humans to prey on men, and other manner of beasts that view humanity as dinner.
However, there are a handful of stories which feature monsters that are all too human, the strongest of these being the story Where The Wild Winds Blow. The best example of how nightmarish Hayward’s writing can be is in the short story In The Pines, when a dad and his son’s stay at a cabin goes downhill very quickly.
However, some of these stories are more mysterious than they are creepy. Dark Stage will leave the reader wondering what force they encountered was rather than leaving them in a state of terror. Hayward’s talent for writing is obvious, penning his stories in a style that makes it easy for everyone to follow.
Various States of Decay is an interesting little book to read. Though it isn’t Matt’s best piece of work – check out What Do Monsters Fear or A Penny for Your Thoughts for that – it is still a strong piece of literature and a worthwhile read, featuring dark snippets from the haunting imagination of one of the horror genre’s most underrated writers. If you want to see what weird and scary places the imagination can take someone, pick this book up.
Various States of Decay will be available on the 15th of December.
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Various States of Decay is a nice little collection of short horror stories that is sure to leave you confused, frightened and at the edge of your seat in fearful anticipation.
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