Thrills, chills and crazy feats of survival – Rage Against the Night reviewed

Rage Against the Night - ed Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Rage Against the Night, edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings – 3 out of 5 stars

Rage Against the Night is an anthology of short stories with elements of fantasy, horror and the paranormal. The collection was published to raise funds for Rocky Wood, who was previously President of the Horror Writers Association. Rocky was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND, also known as ALS) and proceeds from the book went towards the purchase of an eye gaze machine which Rocky used before his death in 2014.

Horror is about fear, about rising dread and unknown terrors, and in the face of such nightmares, the acts of good people can seem insignificant.

The anthology took the theme of hope and of fighting against the forces of evil, even when victory is uncertain.

In this anthology, you will find stories of brave men and women standing up to the darkness, staring it right in the eye, and giving it the finger.

The sheer number of stories here means it’s a bit of a mixed bag. For me, most of the strongest stories were in the first half. Some of my favourites included:

The Gunners Love Song by Joe McKinney – A good, solid, Stokeresque horror about things that go bump in the night. There are no big surprises here but it’s short, sweet and so well written that it’s probably the reading equivalent of driving a fancy car from the adverts.

Afterward, There Will Be A Hallway by Gary A. Braunbeck – This is easily my favourite story from the whole collection. It’s haunting in the sense that it’s both a ghost story and stays with you long after you finish reading it. If you don’t shed a tear or sniffle a little before the end then you’re made of sterner stuff than I am.

Dead Air by Gary Kemble – Remember those airplane disaster movies from the 1970s? Throw in a touch of Shaun of the Dead and you won’t be too far off what to expect here. It’s gory, gross and hilarious.

There are perhaps a few too many dystopian futures all bunched together towards the end of the book for me, but there are definite gems in this if you’re brave enough to jump in and give it a go.

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