Joining Demain Publishing’s line up of Short Sharp Shocks mini-books is Mike Thorn’s “Dreams of Lake Drukka” and “Exhumation.” This is an excellent double shot of Thorn’s brand of creeping, slow burn horror, continuing from 2017’s short story collection Darkest Hours.
You might know Thorn through his film criticism in the MUBI Notebook or Vague Visages, among others. His fiction has appeared in Dark Moon Digest and Tales to Terrify. His style is somewhere between the weirder short works of Stephen King and the more down to earth works of Clive Barker. I found Darkest Hours to be a surprisingly fun read where I often didn’t know where I was going or why, but when I got there I felt fully satisfied with the journey.
These two tales show even more growth for Thorn. They are haunted, emotional, and unique. Both dealing in a form of family trauma and dark secrets and both drawing the reader into a terrible place charged with the darkness of both. I did get a sense of HP Lovecraft with “Dreams of Lake Drukka.” Lovecraft has a number of stories where dreams are important guiding factors that touch on physical reality (and they’re all collected in a single volume) and that feeling is prevalent here, but I don’t know if that was intentional or just me bringing my taste into the story. Either way, it works and the ending is something I’d like to see on film. It’s hard to review the details of such a short book without giving anything away, as both stories combined are only 48 pages long, but if you’re looking for a quick, creepy read, I guarantee you’re going to enjoy “Dreams of Lake Drukka” and “Exhumation.”