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Close To Midnight Mark Morris Main

"Close to Midnight" Book Review

Written by R.J. MacReady

Published by Flame Tree Press

close to midnight mark morris poster large

Edited by Mark Morris
2021, 304 pages, Fiction
Released on October 18th, 2022


Close to Midnight is the third in a series of anthology books published by Flame Tree Press and edited by Mark Morris. Featuring stories from mostly well-known authors, the book is thick enough to keep you occupied for quite some time.

As with most anthologies, book and movie, it’s a grab bag of tales that will hit or miss depending on your tastes.

I’m not going to detail all of the stories, because I don’t want to shame anyone for a story I didn’t like when it’s very possible that story will become someone else’s favorite. I’ll instead focus on some of the standouts:

Hands down, the most effective story is “Collagen” by Seanan McGuire, a difficult-to-describe yet frightening tale for how timely and realistic it is. One of those rare stories that I found myself thinking about days later.

Another good one is by legend Ramsey Campbell. Called “The Operated”, it's about a man with cancer who comes across a mysterious way to cure it. It’s a tad predictable at the end, but nonetheless a compulsive read.

“I Promise” by Conrad Williams is a poignant examination of grief as a man who’s recently lost his father begins to see his face floating in his bedroom.

“The Forbidden Sandwich” by Carl Tait is a bizarre, quirky and disturbing tale of an artist obsessed with the story of a forbidden sandwich whose ingredients are unknown, but if eaten will stimulate the mind and lead to unexpected brilliance.

The reliable Philip Fracassi gives another winner in “Autumn Sugar”, wherein a father enjoys burning piles of leaves in the yard as he reminisces on his childhood and family.

“Remains” is a ghost story from Charlie Hughes, about a spirit trapped at a train station, hoping someone will find her body when she sees the man who murdered her may be out to kill again.

Jonathan Janz’s “Room For The Night” surprises, as it starts with the sentence, “Mr. Nelson looks at me and says, ‘I almost fucked a cat once.’” The story is an uber-creepy tale about a man who wants a teenage boy to stay in his house at night to assure him that the things he’s seeing aren’t real.

“The Spaceman’s Memory Box” by Laura Mauro is a second-person tale that starts off like any other about a group of kids being dared to go into a haunted house, but veers off into very uncharted territory that I’m not even sure I understood. Described in exquisite detail, there’s something very haunting about this story.

There are a total of twenty stories in this book, and without reading them all, you’ll never know which ones connect with you. Other contributors are Jenn Ashworth, Sharon Goling, Muriel Gray, Carole Johnstone, Brian Keene, Stephen Laws, Alison Littlewood, Alison Moore, Adam L.G. Neville, Steve Rasnic Tem, Evenlyn Teng, and Rio Youers.

Close to Midnight is a very solid collection of horror featuring stories of varied themes and content, and yet they all feel very comfortable inside the spine of one book. Worth a look if you like chills down your spine late at night as you lie in bed reading.


Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Buy from Amazon UK.

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About The Author
R.J. MacReady
Staff Reviewer - USA
RJ MacReady digs horror movies, even though his first memory of horror films is watching the first Friday the 13th movie while a bear mauled his family in the other room. He admits that most of his bio is as fake as his moniker, but witness protection won't let him use his real name.
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