Review: Other People's Darkness and Other Stories / Author: Nicholas Vince / Publisher: Bibiofear / Release Date: Out Now
Nicholas Vince may have forever earned his place in the hallowed halls of horror fame with his heavily made-up turns as the Chatterer Cenobite in the first two Hellraiser movies and the moon-faced Kinski in Nightbreed, but if there's any justice these should soon be eclipsed by his endeavours as a writer in the genre.
Following his inaugural collection, What Monsters Do, Other People's Darkness is a second collection of short, sharp shocks in the same style and format. Laced with uneasy comedy, each tale shows us that our monsters within are perhaps to be feared as much as any that may or may not be lurking out there in the darkness, and that every action we take has its consequences.
The opening tale, from which the present collection takes its title, concerns a young man who after a near death experience finds he has gained the dubious gift of being able to tell from people's faces if their death is imminent – and also if they are about to murder someone. The situation, seen through to its logical extremes, ends on a note so chilling that you could freeze a pack of sausages in it.
'Having Once Turned Around' finds an errant husband on a clandestine weekend tryst in Wales getting much more than he bargained for when he and his lover run afoul of a pack of Beast of Bodmin-esque cat creatures, eventually finding refuge with a strange old lady who's looking less elderly with every passing minute. 'Spoilers' concerns the misadventures of a former soldier in the employ of a sinister modern day Star Chamber, who finds it necessary to take extreme measures when it becomes clear that he and his estranged family may soon become surplus to requirements.
'This Too Solid Flesh' deals with female jealousy, with the frumpy protagonist scheming to do away with her sexier, more successful housemate, with consequences that we defy you to predict. Finally, the brief 'Why Won't They Tell Me?' is set somewhere in the late Victorian period, giving a child's eye view of the fate that befalls a family of music hall folk when they get their hands on a malefic magic lantern slide show.
Make no mistake, despite the Hellraiser and Nightbreed associations, these tales are in no way 'Clive Barker lite'. Vince is developing a distinctive new voice of his own and it's only going to get better. Seek out this clutch of creepy chronicles today, and tell him that Starburst sent you.