Friday, 30 September 2016

REVIEW: Daniel Marc Chant - Into Fear: 22 Bizarre Tales of Despair and Dread

Genre: Dread & Despair Collection
Publisher: Sinister Horror Company
Publication Date: 1st October 2016
Pages: 290


A copy of Into Fear was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Daniel Marc Chant, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by the Sinister Horror Company.

So another one by Daniel Marc Chant, or Mr Posh to his friends. A collection of stories no less. Twenty-two in all. Where does he get the time to write these things, let alone the ideas? It is no secret I like his writing and it is no secret that I have been impressed this year in the variety of his writing as well. The last one I read was sci-fi, this one is branded as “22 Bizarre Tales of Despair and dread” I seem to have quite a lot of both in my life at the minute but still thought I would give it a go.

I have to confess to having an ultra-rare paper copy of this book that I don’t even think got into print many moons ago but I never got around to reading it.

For that, I apologise, Mr Chant.

This is what I thought of the new version.


Lindsay and Susan are at the gym. Lindsay has new trainers and Susan wants them. She sets Lindsay a series of challenges and makes some promises along the road in trying to get her hands on them.

All this while the zombie apocalypse is going on outside.

When I read this story, I found it quite funny. It’s about two girls trying to get on with their daily lives as all falls apart around them.

But read between the lines and this is actually quite horrific in the way it shows how people deal with dreadful times yet still hold on to old jealousies and desires and will do anything to fulfil them.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for D&D (dread and despair)


Adrian Shotbolt has been left standing at the alter by his fiancée Cecilia. When he takes off in their honeymoon camper van, he stumbles across the mythical Gamarada rock, where he meets Deborah. She has a plan for revenge.

A familiar face turns up in a tale of betrayal and revenge. Its supernatural in essence but nothing new in the plot. This felt a little flat to me. A little predictable. But then this type of story often is. It is how it is executed that makes or breaks it.

Mr Chant made this one break about even.

★★★ for general.

★★★ for D&D


Jane, Mary and Stella are sisters. Whilst sitting in the parlour one evening, Jane tells her sisters about her dreams of Spring Heeled Jack.

She is convinced the evil villain is coming for her.

This I liked a lot. More and more I am finding I have a huge love for period horror but it is difficult to find people who can write horror from the olden days effectively.

Mr Chant achieves that very well with this one. His use of the language and the eerie, foggy nights gives a very effective atmosphere making this one very creepy.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for D&D 


Duncan and Debbie are married. Duncan is a zombie freak and Debbie is starting to question her choice of husband.

When an argument starts between them about whether zombies can run or not, little do they know, they are about to find out.

More familiar faces in this tale. This one is written in a style that will make you laugh but will also make you stop, and think what you would do if you were in that situation.

Where in the story Duncan is paying homage to his hero George A Romero, the story itself is paying homage to Dunk, our very own zombie expert and it is done extremely well.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for D&D


Albert Gibson has been wronged. Vincent Moffat stole his woman and he wants revenge.

Enter Varshok of K'taath. He must find the heartstone to help Albert with his quest.

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. This is a mix of fantasy and horror and thrills and mystery and just plain silliness and unbelievable stuff that could be every child's fantasy or every grown man's.

Loved this so much. Wonderful.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Jack Theseus is undercover. His mission is set. He knows what he has to do and he has the means he can use to achieve it. He wasn't expecting the help he was about to get.

Hmmm. Not sure what to make of this one. It's like a tongue in cheek James Bond story set in either the future or a mythical world.

Certainly has an entertainment value. Just not totally sure of its intent or purpose.

★★★.5 for general.

★★★.5 for D&D


Maxwell Blake is moving on to a remote light house as the protégé of Professor Bracken-Homes. They are turning it into an observatory so that the professor can search for ways to prove his unbelieved theory about the Hatton Comet.

The Comet is not the only thing they will find on the light house.

Another tale that has its fair mixture of genres. Little bits of horror and mystery and sci-fi.

This one is the true definition of the title of the book. It is full of despair and dread and a huge amount of madness.

Very effective at always keeping you on edge and looking around the corner to see what is coming next.

Best one yet for me.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Elizabeth and Sarah are doing what they normally do. Sitting sipping wine after shopping on Kensington High Street. Elizabeth has a thing for Monsieur Mathis, the local chocolatier. She insists she will have him, no matter the cost.

Monsieur Mathis has no interest. Well, up to a point.

This is just bonkers. Scary for many different reasons but so bonkers it’s brilliant. This is what chocolate is all about. Lust. Insatiable desires that must be met no matter the cost. And a chocolatier excited by nothing other than chocolate.

You sort of know where this tale is ultimately going to end up but it doesn’t matter. It’s still great fun getting there.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for D&D


Toby and Harry are trying to get to sleep on Christmas Eve but it's totally pointless. They decide to sneak down to see if Santa has been yet. After getting spooked by the strange teddy bear that one of them is getting they go back to bed.

Their mum can't get to sleep either. She is constantly hearing scratching noises under the floor.

Short and very sweet. I always love a scary Christmas tale. This one certainly has the creepiest factor.

This one gave me the Willie's.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Daryl Duncan has just woken up. He has no idea where he is or what he's doing there. He's not even sure if Daryl is his name or not.

What the hell is going on and what is that red stuff dripping from the ceiling?

Now this is one of my ultimate fears. Waking up somewhere strange and not knowing who I am. The way Mr Chant has written this story has not cured me of my fear.  In fact, I don't think I will stay in another hotel again.

Super creepy and really frightening.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Clark is going for a job interview. He is as nervous as hell. It's his first one in a long time and he really needs this job. Even though he has no idea what it is for.

It's OK though. Ludvig has coached him on exactly what to do.

Oh man. This is just superb. So simple and yet so powerful at the same time.

Full of mystery and weirdness and with a killer ending.

This is how you write short stories that will remain with the reader for a long long time.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Mary and Percy are brother and sister. Living in 1855 has its downfalls. It's not a pleasant time to live in. Especially when the lunatic is running around murdering at will.

Mary and Percy believe you can make a wish by saying the lunatics name a specific way. They wonder will it work on their evil parents.

Bit of a variation on the old tales of summoning demons in this one. I think it takes on an extra evil tint with it being young kids doing the summoning.

Imaginative and creepy again.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for D&D


Farley Arkwright is semi-conscious. He shouldn’t be awake at all. At least he thinks he shouldn’t. He can’t really see through the fog. He knows he is alive.

But for how much longer?

Another tale that deals with one of my all-time fears. Possibly being awake during a surgery or alive when someone thinks you are dead.

This shows the utter terror that comes from being totally aware of what’s going on but not able to do anything about it.


★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


An extremely handsome chap by the name of Nev Murray has been on holiday from work. Something is niggling at him. He can’t quite put his finger on it until he remembers he left something in his locker in work. It might have changed a bit.

This is not the only thing that has changed about his office.

I can’t help but be a little biased about this one as the main character is, well, me.

I am amazed though at how this story has come about. I literally pitched an idea about the first thing that came into my head and Mr Chant did the rest.

Cracking story that is horrific and weird and funny and totally out there. This stinks of The Twilight Zone.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Martin is currently experiencing the life from hell. Everyone hates him. He hates everyone. His life is about to reach boiling point if he doesn’t do something about it. Time for a holiday.

When his planned relaxing fishing trip doesn’t go to plan he thinks it’s just another nightmare day. Until the epiphany hits.

This is one of those stories that starts off with a picture of a horrific nature and then transcends into something completely different and makes you smile and laugh. Just when you are starting to get comfortable again, the killer twist comes and kicks you squarely in the googlies.

This is man’s base instincts in a story.


★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Emma and Brett are a couple. They love metal detecting. Whilst walking along a beach they discover an old bronze statuette. Their dog Bramble doesn’t seem to like it. Neither does Emma. Brett however doesn’t want to part with it. It soon becomes clear to Emma that the statuette is affecting Brett in frightening ways.

Another one I’m not really sure what to make of. I know this is a short story but it seemed a bit rushed to me and could have had more background and build up to the finale.

I read this story when it came out originally in The Black Room Manuscripts Vol 1 and wrote this review then. On reading the story again, I have the same feelings so it still applies.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for D&D


Madam Balicki is the fortune teller at a travelling carnival. She is an actual fortune teller. Not a fake. She can see people’s auras. She doesn’t know how she got her traits, like none of the other freaks in the show know how they came about. All they do know is that they hate Dr Gyorgy Sokal.

What will they do when he supposedly comes back from the dead?

A lot of tension and a lot of mystery in this one. You are always on the verge of finding out the unknown then like some strange time warp, it all goes back to the beginning.

A very intriguing story.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for D&D


Paul is expecting a kinky time in the forest with his girlfriend when she produces the handcuffs. He gets more than he bargained for.

Mac is on a mission with his crew to clear the forest for the railway. He could do without delays, or having to play the cosmic game.

This is a story so wonderful I want it to be a novel. It has a mixture of horror and fantasy and sci-fi and a few other genres as well.

So unexpected but so imaginative at the same time.

Mr Chant writes this stuff so well.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


The Caxton family are setting up camp on Bowline Moor. The kids are telling horror stories around the camp fire. When the tale of the beast of Bowline Moor comes up, everyone is scared at first then all have a good laugh about it.

They should have stayed scared.

Another that is very short and very simple but extremely effective at producing an atmosphere that will creep you out big style.

I can't figure out why Mr Chants writing freaks me out like this. That's very powerful.

Way too short for me but doesn't take away from the score.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Winfield Scott is running. From what, and to where, you have no idea. He sees a house that looks derelict and decides to seek shelter there. When he enters the house, he detects the wonderful smell of food being cooked. Never eat the food of another without permission.

Another short one but one that again builds the tension very quickly and leaves you begging for more. This is more old skool horror that slaps you in the face before kicking you out the door.

I know the idea of a short story is to grip your readers and leave them hanging at the end but this one had me calling Mr Chant a name or two for finishing so abruptly!

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for D&D


Carter Donovan’s uncle has recently died and left him a small fortune. The solicitors looking after his uncle’s estate have just sent him a package. Inside, he finds a ring wrapped in some ancient parchment with a note scribbled on it from his uncle.

Thus begins a mystery that Carter is compelled to solve. No matter the cost.

Another wonderful tale from Mr Chant. This one had a really old Victorian feel to it even though it is set in modern times. It almost felt like a Carnacki story from William Hope Hodgson. Full of mystery and the supernatural.

I could imagine Peter Cushing playing the part of Carter if it was made into a film. It had that old Hammer feel to it.


★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D


Sam is on a trip down memory lane. Now in his eighties, he is visiting the old haunt where he used to live. He goes to his old local pub, The Royal, maybe in the hope that he will see old faces, maybe in the hope he will get closure.

This is haunting. An eighty-year-old man with decades of regrets, trying to face up to them and banish them forever.

A calm and serene way to end a collection of tales that, yes, are full of despair and dread.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for D&D

So there you have it. My feelings and thoughts on Into Fear.

As far as collections that I have read in this past couple of years go, this one surprised and delighted me. It always amazes me how an author can put a collection like this together. For example: there are twenty-two stories in this one. That is twenty-two unique story ideas. Twenty-two examples of putting something together in terms of writing, editing, editing some more and then some more until you have the final product. Twenty-two examples of how an imagination should work. Twenty-two examples of why some people, like Mr Chant, were born to write, and the rest of us were born to read it.

This is quite an eclectic mix of stories and genres. I think the tag line for the book of “tales of dread and despair” is spot on, rather than calling this an out and out horror story book. Don’t get me wrong, it is horrific in many parts, but the overriding feeling in the book is exactly what it says on the tin; dread and despair.

Every single tale has something that will fill you with dread and make you despair like you never thought possible. Some of the highlights for me though would have to be The Heartstone, Isophase Light, Head Librarian, The Ring of Karnak and of course, Good Morning, Mr. Murray.

Daniel Marc Chant has proven himself to me with this collection. Not that he needed to or not that I thought his writing was anything but great anyway. But, every author reaches a point where they come of age. To me Daniel Marc Chant has reached that point with Into Fear. He has proved that he is an extremely versatile writer with the variation in stories in this collection.

He need not be fearful of anything he puts out in the future.

General rating:

★★★★.5 impressive for a collection of this size.

D&D rating:

★★★★ and again.

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


Book Synopsis:

22 tales of despair and dread. Zombies, Godless beasts, Eldritch horrors, serial killers and more lurk between its pages in wait to lure you into dreams, into nightmares, Into Fear!

Featuring a Foreword by Tim Dedopolus, author and co-owner of Ghostwoods Books.

22 stories - Dreadmill, Gamarada Rock, Be Nimble, A Class of their Own, The Heartstone, Ball of Thread, Isophase Light, Le Ciel De Chocolat, Yo-Ho-Oh-No!, Daryl Duncan, Head Librarian, In the Bleak Midwinter, Continuity and Permanence, Good Morning, Mr. Murray, Bait Box, Conductive Salts, Zabobon, Titanomachy, The Beast of Bowline Moor, Shunned Stew House Special, The Ring of Karnak and The Royal.

Afterword by critically acclaimed author Thomas S Flowers.


Mr Robespierre

Aimee Bancroft and the Singularity Storm

Daniel Marc Chant is an up-and-coming author of Horror and strange fiction. His passion for H. P. Lovecraft genre and the films of John Carpenter inspired him to produce intense, gripping stories with a sinister edge.

Currently based in Bath -- a picturesque town in Somerset, UK -- Daniel launched his début, "Burning House," to rave reviews, and swiftly followed with the Lovecraft-inspired "Maldición," the story of a lone survivor of a desert island plane crash fighting for his life with an ancient predator.

Daniel continues to hone his craft with a number of dark titles waiting to hit shelves, including "Mr. Robespierre" and "Devil Kickers." He also created "The Black Room Manuscripts" a charity anthology featuring twenty stories from twenty experienced authors and talented newcomers.

He hopes to one day contribute to the Cthulu Mythos. Although hopefully not as a sacrifice.

And for more about Daniel, visit his site or find him on social media:

Website Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon Page

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