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Night Chills – Volume 1 Number 1 – Winter 2010
Edited by Guy Kenyon
Cover Artist: Char Reed
Review by Sam Tomaino
Black Matrix Publishing  
Date: 29 March 2010

Links: Black Matrix Publishing / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The first issue of Night Chills is here with new stories by Paul Robinson, Jason Muller, Christopher Green, Adrian Ludens, Christopher Meades, Martin Turton, William Wood, Pete Mesling, John P. McCann, Robert Essig, John F.D. Taff, David Bernstein, C.S. Fuqua, Jameson T. Caine, Aaron Polson, Harper Hall, Jay Lowery, Dev Jarrett, Carolanne Patton, David Vahlberg, and Bryan Hall.

Night Chills is the fourth magazine I've read from new publisher Black Matrix Publishing. The others were Encounters Magazine, Realms and Outer Reaches. They say they will be publishing four quarterly magazines a year with an average of over 80,000 words per magazine – all fiction. Night Chills is described thus "If it lurks in the dark or creeps through your yard late at night, you will meet it face to face" in this magazine.

The issue begins with "The Family House, After Dark" by Paul Robinson. Jake Sutton complains to his friend that he's having trouble sleeping. His real problem isn't getting asleep, it's staying asleep. He's having nightmare about his family farm when he was a boy and something lurking in the cornfields. Robinson spins a good story here.

In Jason Muller's "The Thing in the Marsh", a boy and his mother visits a relative in southern Louisiana and the cousin promises to show him something "amazing and unbelievable". This turns out all too true in an exiting tale.

"Stickman" by Christopher Green is a brief little tale of a man who discovers a crucified frog in his driveway. Is his nine-year old son reacting to his newborn baby brother? There's more going on and it is quite unsettling.

Adrian Ludens" "Step up to the Plate" starts out with a man being nagged by his wife to do something about their sick cat. As this creepy little piece unfolds, he finds he must do things that take more and more intestinal fortitude.

"Leave" by Christopher Meades features a man and his family fleeing something in the dark. Unfortunately, this one does not have enough to it to really come together.

In "Never Forget" by Martin Turton, a man returns home after a long absence. He had fled after seeing something truly horrific in a cinema, something that was not a movie. Things come full circle in a gruesome way.

Next up. is "All Hands" by William Wood. Mason is a sailor on the U.S.S. Mortimer and sees something strange on the deck of the ship. He fires at it, but his fellow sailor, Brannigan says there's nothing there. Of course, something sinister is going on in this effective horror.

In "Decisions, Decisions" by Pete Mesling, Simon sees something with wings land in his hometown of Blysedale one night. It changes shape, more than once and disappears. A man and a woman appear later. Are they related to what he saw? Simon wages a different kind of battle against the powers of darkness and Mesling gives us a very good story about it.

Justin finds himself at sea in "Bane Fish" by John P. McCann. On a pleasure boat, Justin must fight more than one kind of monster in another scary piece.

Next, is "Dark Side of the Tomb" by Robert Essig. A woman visits her mother's grave after a long absence and discovers some nefarious goings on that are quite unsettling.

In "The Mellified Man" by John F.D. Taff, a candy aficionado is offered the ultimate treat. For reasons I won't give away, he resists at first, but ultimately tries it. The end is a bit predictable but it's still a pretty good story.

"The Serial Killer's Ghoul" in the story by David Bernstein is just that, an eater of the dead that serves the purposes of a serial killer. This one was just okay.

"Grace" by C.S. Fuqua was a nothing story about a general on his deathbed with disturbing visions.

Jameson T. Caine contributes a good old-fashioned monster tale in "Ground Zero". Tom battles giant beasts in another pretty good read.

Aaron Polson's "Guided by Wire" is just another trifle about a man eating the wrong thing on a trip abroad. That is followed by “That Maternal Instinct” by Harper Hull. In a seacoast village, babies disappear from a maternity ward and the police are so incredibly stupid, they can't make obvious connections. One nurse does, but that doesn't save this piece.

In "Crawl Space" by Jay Lowery, we get a ho-hum bit of writing about a man confronting snakes. So what?

"Reality Check" by Dev Jarrett is a short, narrative by a vampire to someone who wants to be a victim. This was a welcome antidote to the romanticizing of the vampire that we’ve been getting too much of.

In "Night Thief" by Carolanne Patton, something is wrong with Alan's dog, Cooter, but that's just the start of his problems. This one was a worthy addition to this issue.

"Long in the Tooth" by David Vahlberg is a brief, amusing story about a man who complains about noise to the wrong neighbor.

The issue concludes with "The Dark" by Bryan Hall. Two guys discuss what happens when you die and one finds out.

This was another slickly produced magazine at a reasonable price. Like I've said before, I'd like to see Black Matrix Publishing succeed. You can check out Black Matrix at their website if you want to support new writers and their publisher.

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