Book review ‘Dark Lines: Haunting Tales of Horror’

  • Author: Jack Harding
  • Publisher: Darklit Press
  • Publishing year: 2022
  • Number of pages: 282
  • Illustrations: Nicola Spencer
  • Cover Design: Donnie Goodman
  • ISBN: 979-8813737633
  • My rating: 4/5


From the author of Ripper Country comes fifteen tales of psychological horror, each more frightening than the last. Venture into a dark and brooding world of twists and turns where things are rarely as they seem, and terror reigns supreme…

A mother is haunted by an apocalyptic vision…a husband banished to the couch is awoken by a bump in the night…a vampire catches up with an old friend…a brooding man-child suffers some unpleasant side-effects from a new medication…an office worker’s routine commute home turns out to be anything but…

Let Jack Harding take you on a perilous journey into the nightmare-inducing landscape he has crafted for your enjoyment. Dark Lines: Haunting Tales of Horror is a versatile and gut-wrenching collection that will stir your senses, and stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.


I will pick a few stories out of the collection (not necessarily my favourites… some of them I had already read when they were published before as ‘solo’ stories (much like a single from an album)

1. React: (read before on 6 November 2021) – this was my review then (on Goodreads)

It is the ending, my god! This is a punching to my gut!

One, two, three, four…

𝓢𝓸𝓶𝓮𝓽𝓱𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓲𝓼 𝓬𝓸𝓶𝓲𝓷𝓰! Nina senses this in a nightmarish vision, where she tries to save her little girl, Anna. The ferris wheel looks rusty and old, ashes are whirling around both of them but the crowd doesn’t notice any of this… only Nina does! Waking from this nightmare, Nina still senses the dread… will she be in time to avoid what is to come? My God, this was a punch in my gut! That ending! Jack suckerpunched me and I’m still recovering! The story is short (only 21 pages) but leaves such an impression! As it is short and I can’t say much more, to avoid spoiling anything, I will keep my review short as well! But let me end with telling you that I’m definitely looking forward to read more of this writer! Highly recommended!!!

9. Devil’s Mountain: (read before on May 1st – this was my review then)

When a couple is exploring an abandoned site somewhere in the woods near Berlin, they stumble upon a dark figure, while the dark approaches! The Devil’s Mountain is a place you better avoid!

This story builds slowly towards an eerie conclusion. Dylan’s musings and fear in this dark tale give off a claustrophobic vibe. It has the same atmosphere as Cabin in the Woods or Cabin Fever, mixed with a little of Overlord’s Nazi remnants. Urban exploring can be a deadly thing that much is clear!

I wouldn’t read it in the dark, at night… and I don’t plan on wandering in woods alone in the dark either!

15. Driving in the Dark: (read before on 8 December 2021 – this was my review then)

‘Keep your eyes on the road, dickhead’

Riley is off from work for 12 days! The only thing separating him from this freedom and from his sweetheart, his Emma, is an hour and a half drive, 70 miles of road! And his only companion is The Boss, Mr. Bruce Springsteen! But why is that one sentence said by Emma ringing constantly in his head?

This is the second short story by Jack I’ve read this year. His other, React, had such a surprising ending while this was a little more predictable. That being said, I loved how Riley’s thoughts in the car along the long drive sound so familiar. Don’t we all just meander when we’re on a long drive, by ourselves? Don’t we all overthink the things in our lives when we’re doing something as monotone as driving in the dark?
If anything, this story does learn us all to not do stuff while driving… leave that phone, don’t go fiddling with the navigation… concentrate and keep your eyes on the road, dickheads!

It stands to say that Jack Harding has a way of telling a story… he takes you by the hand, pushes you in his worlds of terror and then twists it all around till you come out eyes popping and heart racing… His take on our fears and our bad habits is refreshing. If it’s a fear of spiders or a travelling vampire, or if it’s about a demented old guy or maybe a guy driving a nightly road with in his one hand his cell phone, or maybe it’s about sleep paralysis or the fear of snakes… all of these themes are tackled by Jack’s amazing talent.

Not all the stories in this collection are favourites of mine… some of my least favourites were ‘Cells’ (I didn’t really get what was going on there), ‘Be a Man’ (not bad but I feel like there could be more here), ‘Roxie’ (the ending was disappointing)

But apart from those, I loved reading all the others and my definite favourites are ‘The Vagabond’ (bloody), ‘The Foot of the Bed’ (spooky), After Eight (creepy), Driving in the Dark (teaching a valid lesson), Sadie’s Snake (funny) and of course React (surprising even after a second read)!

So after ‘Ripper Country’ Jack has delivered another great collection. I am really excited to see what he brings us next! (In 2023 he will publish another collection of short stories ‘Warning Signs’ called… but I am waiting for that novel by him… His writing and his fantastic mind are bound to bring an Indie Bestseller!

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