I have been on a bit of a weird fiction binge recently and I have had my eye on this book for a few weeks, pretty much from the time I saw the cover art. Superb, isn’t it? When Laid Barron and John Langan talk somebody up I figure it’s about time I take notice. Mike Griffin’s collection of stories ‘The Lure of Devouring Light’ is a weird fiction fan’s wet dream. The quality of this collection should really come as little surprise after reading the accompanying blurbs and the introduction. Some of these stories have appeared in issues of Black Static, Apex Magazine and the Lovecraft eZine to name a few, but there are new stories included also. Griffin’s stories are dripping with atmosphere. These are stories that take the reader to a place that is at times surreal and often frightening and I have to say that there isn’t a dud among them. This is quite a feat as there are usually one or two stories that don’t resonate quite as much with short story collections, but personally I enjoyed all of these tales, particularly the final one. ‘The Black Vein Runs Deep’ was the longest of the stories but was also my favourite. It features an abandoned gold mine that begs to be explored by two friends, but something sinister lurks in the mines depths. This brooding story built up slowly as we got to know our two protagonists before things begin to unravel as the journey down throws them into a fight for survival.
Griffin’s tales usually feature only a couple of characters and often these characters are isolated in some way from the real world, sometimes even reality itself. The stories are brooding and often leave the reader wondering what direction they are heading, creating a real sense of mystery and unease. The characters are very human but find themselves in unusual situations. Relationships are examined, often pulled apart and dissected through Griffin’s prose. Many of the stories have a natural theme that runs through them, and after reading about the author at the end of the book I understood why so many of these tales take place in the wilderness, as a reflection of Griffin’s love for the great outdoors.
I love weird fiction. The genre features some truly wonderful writers and this collection pushes all the right buttons for this reader. Griffin has a wonderful ability to create realistic images through his words, particularly with his deft use of descriptive language, crafting delicious stories of dark, weird horror. This is a fantastic collection and I highly recommend it.
Word Horde is one of the finest publishers of weird fiction. This book should be on every dark fiction fan’s wish list.
You can pick up a copy of ‘The Lure of Devouring Light’ from here.