Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
David A Riley is a renowned horror author who’s been around for quite a while and has contributed numerous stories in various magazines and anthologies. Apparently (and incredibly) he’s having his first collection published only now, courtesy of Hazardous Press. I must say it was high time that somebody would take care of this unbelievable oversight, because Riley is a good writer, endowed with a solid storytelling proficiency and an expert craftsman of the horror genre.
His Own Mad Demons is a slim book of 167 pages collecting five of Riley’s tales. Why these particular stories have been selected among his prolific body of work I couldn’t say, it’s not clear and no explanation is provided by either author or publisher. At any rate all the stories are well worth reading .
The excellent “Their Own Mad Demons” is a strong, terrifying mix between a supernatural tale and a gangster story featuring a peculiar ghost. While “The True Spirit” is an intoxicating, horrific brew (not quite plausible, but deeply unsettling) the ingredients of which are witchcraft, carnage and reincarnation.
In the tense, claustrophobic “Lock-in” a group of men are trapped inside a pub surrounded by a deep, deadly darkness concealing a murderous horror.
“The Fragile Mask On His Face” is a spectacular example of graphic horror where the unaccounted disappearance of a young girl reveals an abyss of evil and violence. Squeamish people are advised to keep off.
Finally in “The Worst of All Possible Places” a tower building becomes a living hell, inhabited by the scum of the earth and by no longer human creatures in a scenery of dirt, decay, moral and physical degradation.
Enjoy and look forward to David’s forthcoming collection “The Lurkers in the Abyss”.