By Mark Samuels
Egaeus Press 2014,
Hardcover, 127 pages
A review by Mario Guslandi
The latest short story collection by British author Mark Samuels ,aptly entitled “Written in Darkness” , confirms his ability to unearth the dark side of the universe as well as the dark depths of the human soul. Darkness is everywhere, in the failing economy, in the breakdown of our place of work, in the emptiness of the daily routine, in the loneliness of our life, in the nature of our secret feelings. That is the common ground of the nine stories assembled in a slim, elegant volume published by Egaeus Press.
Obviously, not all the stories have the same intensity and some are more accomplished than others. The general tone may sound a bit depressing, so I advise you to savour each tale in separate reading sessions rather than being engulfed in a spiral of pessimism and melancholy : you will enjoy the stories more.
In my opinion the best stories are : “A Call to Greatness” a Kafkaesque piece featuring a stern Baron hopelessly fighting against the Bolsheviks, “My Heretical Existence”, a short, sinister tale about an elusive zone of an European city where a different, dangerous reality is lurking and “Outside Interference”, a puzzling example of urban horror involving the employees of a corporate firm located in a building,the basement of which conceals deadly secrets.
My favourite ,however, is a very traditional horror story, the deliciously creepy “Alistair” where a little boy becomes privy of the dark mysteries surrounding an old mansion and the adjacent cemetery.
- review by Mario Guslandi