Reviews | Written by Alister Davison 20/09/2021

WHEN THINGS GET DARK

Shirley Jackson left an indelible contribution to the world of literature, with her novels and short stories of horror and mystery. She’s undoubtedly one of the standard-bearers for those genres, an inspiration for the next generation of authors to follow. Editor Ellen Datlow has assembled a collection of tributes to Jackson and her works, from the leading horror writers of today, eighteen new tales that evoke the same sense of strangeness amongst the seemingly mundane that was one of Jackson’s trademarks.

There isn’t a bad one among them and, despite sharing the same mission brief, they’re all entirely different. While the atmosphere of each is as the reader would expect from such a compilation, each author’s voice offers a unique take on the world, seeing it through Jackson’s dark-tinted lenses; these writers aren’t amongst the best in their field for nothing. Despite their unique nature, the stories on offer share a certain feeling of inhabiting the same world, and it’s this that bonds them together, creating an anthology that all involved should be immensely proud of.

Just like Jackson’s work, there’s poignancy within the strangeness, humanity amongst the chills; all the stories have a sinister intensity about them, setting the reader on edge as they wonder what the final twist will be. In true homage to their inspiration, there’s a dark delight about these characters, and their situations will linger in the mind for a long time afterwards, just like those of their inspiration.

WHEN THINGS GET DARK is released on September 21st by Titan Books