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Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite
A Dark Collection: 12 Scary Stories by Mark Lukens provides a year's supply of unique and eclectic stories for the discriminating reader of short fiction. Perhaps best known for his entertaining novels Ancient Enemy and The Summoning, with this collection Lukens proves he also is no slouch at penning short stories. The 12 tales herein run the gamut from merely creepy to horrifyingly realistic, but with one common thread: each is very well written, and will not let you go until you've reached the end. Beginning with January, which is a novella called Crow Manor, Lukens puts his proverbial best foot forward, and has you hooked before you have a chance to settle into your seat. Each successive tale has a tie-in to its corresponding month, taking you from Valentine's Day through Christmas, with the hard-won realization that you should be careful what you wish for.
If you've not yet read any of Lukens' work, A Dark Collection: 12 Scary Stories will have you searching for more fiction by this talented author. Even the Introduction will hold you captive, as he regales you with his back story. Many writers rely on a twist at the end to provide readers with the anticipated adrenaline jolt, but Mark can jolt you even without a twist. He manages to accomplish this without resorting to the gory, gross or crude. His vivid imagination is sufficient to fully engage you in the story, without using puerile sophistry along the way. If you have been seeking a new author to follow - one well worth following - this may be your lucky day. Read A Dark Collection: 12 Scary Stories, and join the unofficial Mark Lukens fan club.