West Pigeon Press has done it again with “For When The Veil Drops”, a poignant collection of dark fiction. This anthology, featuring various short fiction by some wholly talented emerging authors, leaves one feeling unsettled in much the same way as Hamantaschen’s “You Shall Never Know Security”. This feeling of unease, however, is not a critique but rather a positive point, seeing as the work within this collection is explicitly meant to stay with the reader, in more than one way.
Worthy mentions include “A Coat That Fell” by Michael Wehunt, “Thicker Than” by Lydia Peever, and “724” by Christian A. Larsen. “The City Underneath” by Robin Wyatt Dunn is a particular favourite of mine, boasting quick, fluid language and descriptive prose. This bizarre and perplexing tale has dystopian themes that get right under the skin. Dunn is an expert writer, drawing in the reader from the very beginning by stating: “Come on, come on down with me into this too-beautiful city, this city you may have dreamt of on dark nights, half-asleep. That’s the only way you can come there, truth be told, half-asleep, in the twilight land of the mind, where you can almost remember that watchword, the watchword that gets you past that guard with his horrifying eyes…” I would also like to point out “The Third List” by Samuel Minier, a story which is all at once grotesque and yet psychologically intriguing. This short tale will have the reader re-thinking the holiday season, and what it means to be naughty or nice.
I recommend this anthology for any reader looking for horror and dark fiction that falls outside of what is usually found on bookstore shelves. These stories are grittier, more terrifying, many of which break typical literary style and form. Some of these pieces take older horror themes and reinvent them; others stand alone in originality and style. Either way, this book is sure to terrify, perplex, entertain, and captivate dark fiction lovers of all tastes and preferences.