Monday 22 February 2016

REVIEW: Onyx Neon Shorts Presents: Horror Collection - 2015

Genre: Horror Anthology
Publisher: Onyx Neon Press
Publication Date: 23rd Oct 2015
Pages: 185


A copy of Onyx Neon Shorts Presents: Horror Collection - 2015 was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by one of the contributors, Jeremy Thompson, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Onyx Neon Press.

So a new collection of thirteen tales, by authors I know nothing about, apart from one. I read The Phantom Cabinet by Jeremy Thompson last year and it totally blew me away. You can read my review of it here. When he emailed me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this collection, I initially jumped at it to read his own short story in it. After having a good look at it, I discovered I have never read anything by any of the other contributors. This is the sort of collection I love. It inevitably ends up with my list of authors I like to read growing, and needing to get an extension for the ever expanding to be read pile.

It also appears that this is the first of a planned annual collection from Onyx Neon Press so let’s see what these people can do!


Three students are on the lookout for an adventure. A drinking adventure. One of them being local suggests going to Ellie Hill. They don’t however let the others know the significance of Ellie Hill, or the terrifying legend.

This is a very dark story. Very atmospheric. Very scary. The place where they go almost feels like Royston Vasey. Dark and weird and well, just scary. I don’t know how to describe this story. No plot as such but just perfectly written to give you goose bumps from start to finish.

A perfect way to open an anthology.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Trask and Severin are working in a sewage control room, one hundred feet underground. They are there on a six-month contract with no contact with the outside world. It’s a boring but well paid job.

Until they are left there longer than the contracted six months. And something has come to join them.

This is quite literally, one of the scariest short stories I have read in years. It has all of my fears rolled up into one tidy little ball. Working underground, in isolation, with monsters and with no escape.

This story is, quite simply put, short story writing at its very very best.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


This is really a flash fiction piece about a brutal killer of children who has an accident in the pit he keeps the bodies in.

Told through the spirit eyes of, I guess, one of his victims, this is a quick but harrowing tale of the terror and torture of being the victim and the terror and torture of the perpetrator when he cannot control what is happening with himself and the souls come back to haunt him.

Very effective little piece that is very haunting.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Sylvia is a young girl. The only thing she ever does is draw. She draws the same picture over and over. It’s of the Raggedy man, who took her mom away. She says he is coming back.

Told through the eyes of Sylvia’s step mother, this is a chilling tale of a little girl haunted by life after her birth mother goes missing.

This is some scary stuff right here. Another one in this anthology full of a very chilling atmosphere. This is expertly written to give you that creepy chill up your spine feeling from the very first line and will leave you with your jaw trailing the table with the very last line.

This story left me looking over my shoulder to make sure there was no one behind me!

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Teresa Philips is in turmoil. Both in body and mind. She is caught up in the aftermath after making a terrible discovery in her garden shed. Regret is the name of the game.

This is psychological horror at its best. Total headfeck. After the physical horror has passed, how does the mind cope with things?

Told through the eyes of an innocent woman whose husband is guilty of the most horrific of crimes, this story is a perfect illustration of how isolation and insanity go hand in hand.

The reasons become clearer as the story progresses but that doesn't make it any better or any less brutal.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


A woman likes to watch people through their windows. One window in particular fascinates her. She always sees the same thing. Nothing changes.

Fuelled by alcohol and bravado, she ventures out to look at the window early one morning. She doesn’t see what she thought she would.

Bit of a strange one this. I can see where the drive the character had came from. We have all noticed something over and over and over again and felt amazement when it changes. This one just felt a bit empty at the end. It didn’t really answer the questions for me.

Chilling but just lacking that something.

★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror,


George is trying to make contact with his recently departed wife Delia. He enlists the help of a psychic to try and help him piece together his wife so he can communicate with her one last time.

Didn’t get this one at all. It was very surreal, almost like a psychedelic dream that I was always on the edge of and I could not quite get deep enough to understand it or follow it.

Not what I would call scary either. Disappointing.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for horror.


Vanessa is in a hospital. Something has happened to her mother and the doctors are trying to establish exactly what. At her sessions with her doctor, he keeps asking about the rayis. These are beings that Vanessa can see, but no one else can. They should believe her.

Perfect. Not much else to say. Perfect writing that is perfectly paced with the perfect amount of tension, build up, fear and intrigue.

This is how to write a short horror story and keep your reader plastered to the pages, gripped with a palpable fear, until you decide it is finished.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Harry Paterson has taken a night guards job at a museum. He has no idea why, but he has taken an extreme interest in two mummies on display in the museum and cannot get enough info of anything to do with them and their history. It appears he wasn’t the first.

This is an interesting one. Although not what I would call a very scary story, it has a certain amount of horror elements to it. I liked it as a story but would class it more as a supernatural story.

I also think I would have liked this one with a bit more meat on the bones.

★★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


A man who travels through times and realms is preparing for his latest journey through the mysterious door that opens in the floor for him.

Before he leaves his current world, he must deal with disaster on a catastrophic scale and also deal with demons that live around him and inside of him.

This is a fascinating tale. Set in an imaginative fantasy world, it is full of both beautiful and disgusting horrors. This is the sort of writing that makes you want to read the story over and over and over. I think if I read this again I would pick up something different from it each time.

Jeremy Thompson is a wonderful writer. His imagination knows no bounds and he can masterfully change your mood from utter serenity to utter horror in a few words.

Fantastic stuff.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Barbara wakes as normal on a cold and snowy morning. As she is making breakfast, there is a knock at her door. When she answers, there is a strange man there telling her all her neighbours have left and she should get ready to go somewhere safe as well.

That is all I can tell you about this one. Again this is short story telling at its very best. A calm and serene introduction but at the same time giving you chills just under your skin. Enough chills to stay with you and have every hair on your body standing on end to the very last word.

A story that ends with you wondering.


★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Jim is a writer. He is also recovering from a big loss. He needs to write his next big book so does the writerly thing and rents some old house, miles from nowhere, to do the writing. Bad move.

If you think this is the old writer goes to secluded house to write and things go wrong scenario, you would be right.

However, this is a unique take on the old plot. Unique to the point of almost refreshing the old plot and taking it to a new dimension that I can’t believe no one has thought of yet.

Full of tension and horror with an ending you would not expect, this is another superb short in this anthology.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Christine Bone is a social worker tasked with looking out for Joan, a blind, disabled woman who has a mixture of characters in her family, who are all fighting amongst themselves and not really taking her care seriously.

This reads as if Christine is giving a statement to police or some sort of an enquiry. It is very well written and is gripping as a story. It keeps you interested in what is going on and will take you through a lot of different emotions as you read.

It all culminated in an ending though that I found a bit strange. It didn’t seem to conclude the story for me in any way or make much sense. This disappointed me a lot.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for horror.

So there it is, my first taste of a lot of new authors in this new anthology. I have to say that for the majority, I absolutely loved this book. There are some very fresh new writers in this one and some of them I will definitely be checking out again.

If you do decide to pick this one up, then some of my personal favourite stories to check out would be: 82 Rungs, Sylvia’s Pictures, Insanity and Sacrificial Version.

Normally when I do my final score for an anthology, it is an average score for all of the stories included in the book. There are only a couple of stories that I would call weak in this one so for the book as a whole it has to get full marks in the general rating.

I said earlier that this looks like it is going to be the first in an annual collection released by Onyx Neon Press. I am already looking forward to the next one!

To summarise: if you want a book full of short stories with some rather interesting new blood to try out then this is definitely an anthology you will want to check out.

Overall general rating:

★★★★★ excellent stuff overall.

Overall horror rating:

★★★★ some scary stuff in this!

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Horror Collection 2015 or any other books from Onyx Neon Press. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

Fans of horror will be delighted by the dark delicacies in this collection of horror’s up-and-coming stars. "Onyx Neon Shorts Presents: Horror Collection – 2015" brings together tales of horror from authors all over the world. These stories are about haunted houses, obsession, insanity, cults, the unexplainable repetition of goddess worship, and the psychological and physical terror that only humans can inflict. This collection celebrates one of literature’s most popular forms of fiction by bringing together horror writers from all over the world, offering a unique vision of the genre.

Edited by Jacob Michael King (author of Postmortem) and Jeffrey P. Martin (Head Editor of Onyx Neon Shorts). This is the first in a yearly horror collection series.

We are a branch of Onyx Neon Press and we publish fiction and non-fiction of all varieties and we are always seeking new authors.

We believe in the power of short fiction. It’s a way to express ideas and emotions quickly and powerfully.

We are a collective of writers, editors, techies, nerds, book lovers, and artists who strive to find and make the best original content.

If you have questions or would like to submit a story, please email us at

And for more about Onyx Neon Press, visit their site or find them on social media:

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