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Day of Demons edited by Colin F. Barnes

Day of Demons is a collection of powerful stories featuring the conflict of demons and humans over the course of a day.

Read how one women’s inner-self awakens to unexpected and frightening consequences, or how a charismatic half-breed thief is forced to strike a deal with a pen-stealing imp. Read about a mother as she struggles to cope with a deadly, satanic bargain, and a sword-wielding anti-hero as he returns out of exile to face his demonic fate.

Nine stories, nine demons, nine authors. From fantasy, to horror, to contemporary fiction, this anthology will fright, delight and grip you with tales of daring-do, danger and of course — demons.

Last year Anachron Press launched with the rather marvellous anthology, City of Hell. This week sees the launch of the second collection from this fledgling publisher.

The Deal by Karen Davies – A fantastical tale that follows a young adventurer who learns the hard way that coming to an agreement with even the lowliest of demons can cause you no end of grief. A nice balance of action, humour and re-interpretation of classic genre tropes gets things off to a great start. The ending is left wide open and I’d love to see this idea developed further. There definitely feels like there is a larger story here just waiting to be uncovered.

Inheritance by Phil Hickes – An old abandoned house containing hidden secrets and a grandson with a letter from beyond the grave, form the basis of a simple yet very effective tale. This story falls squarely into the short, sharp shock category and has an ending that will leave you open mouthed. The author gives you just enough detail for you to realise exactly how events are going to play out and it’s not going to be pretty.

The Serpent’s Kiss by Krista Walsh – An unexpected invite triggers a series of events that unleash Becca’s inner demon. Over the course of a few hours Becca goes from shy, awkward young woman to literal man-eater.

Sam & The Spear by Gary Bonn – Two children, one a bully the other a cowardly hero, face off against the toughest demons all the ones inside themselves.

Numen by V.D. Griesdoorn – Another tale of inheritance and one woman’s struggle to understand something that is completely alien to her. If I remember correctly this author delivered one of the most iconoclastic tales in the City of Hell anthology and she has done the same again here.

City of Light and Stone by Laura Diamond – Devils and demons are all about making deals. On the streets of Paris a man called Hector must complete a seemingly impossible task or face never-ending damnation.

The Cost of Glory by Edward Drake – Back firmly into the realms of fantasy and the last journey of Marek Stormheart.  Marek is a warrior of unsurpassed skill who is very nearly a living legend, famed for good deeds, shunned for bad. After a decade of hard fought questing, he is finally drawn homeward to face his demons. The highlight of this is the character of Marek himself. He’s not the nicest man you’re ever going to meet but I still found myself willing him on. Another story that I think screams out for further expansion. 

A Mother’s Love by James M. Mazzaro – The love of a mother pitted against the animal cunning of a demon, I know who I’d put my money on. I was worried for a moment that we’d get all the way through the anthology and there would be any stories that featured a deal made at a crossroads on a dark and stormy night. You can imagine me relief when that is exactly how this entry into the collection started. This was one of my favourite stories. The back and forth between the demon and the mother was pitched perfectly – one moment darkly funny, the next deliciously creepy.

The Devil and Mrs Milton by Sarah Anne Langton – The final story tells the tale of an old woman sitting waiting for her demon to arrive and collect on a bargain that was struck long before she was born. The question to be answered – is one lifetime time enough to discover a loophole in the rules?

Colin Barnes certainly has a knack for picking contributors that work well together. This anthology marks another solid outing from Anachron Press. The mixture of horror, fantasy and suspense mean there is something for everyone to enjoy. It’s always a pleasure to read the work of authors you have never come across before and, more importantly, to enjoy it. 

Day of Demons is published by Anachron Press and is available for your Kindle on Friday 13th April. A paperback version will be available shortly thereafter.

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