“Mike has a way of paying homage to his influences while creating something incredibly fresh and new, and combining very modern struggles with elements of fear that have plagued humanity for ages.”
“I could probably sit here and write an essay on why I think Mike Thorn is an author to watch, why I think he takes a great deal of time and effort to make his tales accessible and relatable, and why I think his creative imagination is going to take the world by storm at some point.”
“As a whole, Peel Back and See is probably my bleakest book to date, with only a few diversions into more playful genre territory (e.g. ‘Mr. Mucata’s Final Requests’, ‘The Furnace Room Mutant’, and ‘Virus’). For the most part, these stories are awash in the personal affective experiences of chronic depression, anxiety, psychological ruptures, post-postmodern despair, addiction, loss, grief, nihilism, pessimism, and suicidal ideation.”
In spaces both familiar and strange, unknowable horrors lurk.
From the recesses of the Internet, where cosmic terror shows its face on an endless live feed, to a museum celebrating the sordid legacy of an occultist painter, this chilling collection of sixteen short stories will plunge you into the eerie, pessimistic imagination of Mike Thorn.
Peel Back and See urges its readers to look closer, to push past surface-level appearances and face the things that stir below.
“I loved seeing Mike’s love for the genre shine through in his work. This occurs in the fiction pieces alongside the essays that can be found at the end of the expanded edition.”
“Thorn just has a way with description that makes the stories hit the reader hard because you feel like you’re part of the experience.”
“Darkest Hours is a fantastic collection of short horror stories with some of the most unique premises I’ve ever read! Body horror, terrifying visions, and monstrous creatures all make an appearance. The clarity and confidence in the writing made these stories come alive.”
“As I did with Shelter for the Damned, I have created here a list of titles that provide a kind of cinematic “mood board” for Darkest Hours. I included the films I reviewed in the expanded edition’s Criticism section, as well as the films that had overt or indirect impact on the stories.”
“No sober person had any supernatural encounters. Nothing good happens after dark, so stay the F*** home. Oh, and mirrors are evil so get rid of them! Now!”
“In the short story notes, Thorn cites a lot of influences (both literary, musical and cinematic) that inform his work, but Thomas Ligotti seems to be a name that crops up throughout. While Darkest Hours covers a lot of the same themes (nihilism, anxiety, and the human condition), Thorn’s work approaches them in a far more mainstream and accessible way. Still, I think this says a lot about the prevailing tone of his work, and there are stories here that scared (‘Long Man’, ‘Sabbatical’), disturbed (‘The Auteur’, ‘Fear and Grace’) and disgusted (‘Fusion’) like few other collections have managed for me.”