The Horror Zine Review
The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
by Taylor Grant
Paperback: 236 pages
The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
by Taylor Grant
Review by Jeani Rector
I first became aware of Taylor Grant in 2012 when he submitted a story titled “Masks” for The Horror Zine anthology A Feast of Frights. I remember thinking, “This story is a standout.” So imagine my pleasure when I opened his new fiction collection titled The Dark at the End of the Tunnel and realized that “Masks” is the first story in the book.
“Masks” begins innocently enough, a regular guy shaving in the bathroom. He could be anyone. That’s the beauty of this story; it could be you or me who is frustrated with his wife, his job, and his life. But Taylor Grant performs a feat that I have only seen created this well with such writers as Ramsey Campbell and Bentley Little: a normal guy is suddenly thrust into abnormal circumstances, and there is no turning back. The twist in “Masks” is that the abnormality comes from within. The ending is a delicious surprise that I didn’t see coming.
And that is hard to do, to surprise someone like me who sees horror stories every day as an editor of a horror magazine. Yet Taylor Grant did just that, not once but throughout this book.
Which brings me to the second story. I want to spend some time discussing “The Silent Ones” because believe it or not, it is even better than “Masks.” In fact, “the Silent Ones” is my favorite story of the entire book. Trust me here, I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the most effectively written stories I have ever read. I liken it to a cross between the passionate weirdness of Edgar Allan Poe to the “outside the box” of Stephen King. This one would make a wonderful film, except there would need to be really good special effects to capture the horrifying turn of events. I believe this story is brilliant, and more fiction like this could easily catapult Grant to best-seller fame.
“The Silent Ones” is disturbing on a level that is unforgettable. All at the same time, emotions such as pity and understanding for the character, and alarm for what becomes of him are brought to the surface by Grant’s superb writing ability. How many of us sometimes feel alone and unnoticed in a world of 7 billion people? But it gets worse for this character…he disintegrates, literally, in a shocking manner. I cannot praise “The Silent Ones” enough for its extreme psychological terror.
Now we move on to “The Infected.” Again Grant writes with such great character development that it feels personal. A man is grieving at his father’s death and rediscovers a footlocker that he hadn’t seen since he was eight. Of course it is a Pandora’s box, but Grant delivers demons that even poor Pandora didn’t see coming.
There is a tantalizingly-named story “Whispers in the Trees, Screams in the Dark” that delivers a primeval fear of unseen things in the deep woods. This one is a masterpiece of suspense, delivering moment-by-moment events as they occur. Exciting stuff.
Grant saved the book’s name-sake for last: “The Dark at the End of the Tunnel.” In this, a book of spells and a nameless demon takes us on dark adventures through time.
Now I want to talk about Taylor Grant himself. Having worked with him on “Masks,” I know he is devoted to his craft and takes his time with everything he writes. It shows in the final products. But he is also a multi-talented individual, because besides authoring this truly outstanding fiction collection, Grant is also a screenwriter, actor, graphic novel writer, and filmmaker.
I rarely gush about a particular writer, because I see so many good ones with what I do. However, I want to take this opportunity to gush about Taylor Grant.
Give yourself a remarkable experience and buy The Dark at the End of the Tunnel. As an added attraction, it contains a foreword by the esteemed Gene O’Neill.
The whole book is really good, and I mean really good, but the standouts such as “The Silent Ones” will last with you probably forever. When Taylor Grant becomes a household name (and that is already starting), you will nod your head sagely and say “I knew about him before…”
Buy the book HERE
About Taylor Grant
Taylor Grant is a Bram Stoker Award Finalist, Hollywood screenwriter, award-winning filmmaker and the Bestselling author of The Dark at the End of the Tunnel. His short films, Sticks and Stones and The Vanished both premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. His work has been seen on network television, the big screen, the stage, the Web, as well as in comic books, newspapers, national magazines, anthologies, and heard on the radio.
Grant’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in several Bram Stoker Award nominated anthologies featuring many of the biggest names in the suspense, mystery and horror fields. He co-authored and edited the #1 Amazon Bestselling comic book Evil Jester Presents, and is currently working with an interactive company to bring one of his original stories to life as a video game.
Learn more about Taylor’s dark imaginings HERE
About the Reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Blood Moon Rising, Hellfire Crossroads, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others. Her historical fiction full-length novel about the 1348 pandemic of bubonic plague titled Pestilence: A Medieval Tale of Plague is published by The Horror Zine Books.