Read Dark Gods by T.E.D. Klein Online


Four unusually literate horror novellas, by the former editor of "The Twilight Zone" magazine....

Title : Dark Gods
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670805907
Format Type : hardcover
Number of Pages : 259 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dark Gods Reviews

  • Char
    2019-04-06 06:52

    First, I would like to say thank you to my friend Ryan Cagle for so kindly sending me a copy of this book. Thanks, Ryan!Second, this collection of 4 novellas was a find example of literary horror fiction. The stories were well written, dripping with creepy atmosphere, and thought provoking. There were some Lovecraftian references that I enjoyed, as well as a few shudder provoking scenes; most especially with the first novella, Children of the Kingdom. Well done!Highly recommend for fans of literary horror fiction!

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2019-03-24 06:58

    Dark Gods is a collection of novellas that bring to mind something that I could imagine HP Lovecraft writing if he was a baby boomer. Or maybe that isn't quite right. Because I think T.E.D. Klein has a subtle, grounded approach that distances him from Lovecraft's style in a crucial way for this reader. Klein seems to eschew melodrama, and Lovecraft embodies it in his writing. The similiarities to Lovecraft lie more in his overall fatalistic viewpoint and his character choices. I had to say I wasn't quite comfortable with the way race is handled in these stories. Characters are labeled far too quickly by race and ethnicity, also by social status. That definitely made me think of how Lovecraft would view the melting pot of NYC in the modern age. I want to say that this was done on purpose. That these characters in the stories are people who don't see the world in a rosy way. They don't look past skin color, ethnicity, or social status. They are way too disenchanted, too immersed in the world's darkness to see things in a higher way. The worldview also brings to mind Lovecraft. His fatalistic view of the world, in which doom is certain, in which goodness cannot prevail, and mankind is merely going through the motions. And then there are the references to those in the know when it comes to the occult and the arcane, those who have pierced the veil. The doomed fate of those who seek to know more than they should. That's here as well.How is this different from Lovecraft? Well, I touched on that in the writing style. Mr. Klein has a smooth writing style, a modern (well at that time, which is like the late 70s/early 80s or so?) feel to his work. His ideas might bring to mind some of the pulp notions, but they are entirely his own. I'm not much for the dark, sure doom approach when it comes to horror, but for that type of story, he writes it well. Mr. Klein has a way of building atmosphere in a very subtle manner. Before I know it, I feel my stomach tighten with unease, just by a mere sentence. Things seemed normal and 'okay', and suddenly there is that suggestion of dread where I didn't see it before. And before I knew it, the point of no return had passed for the character in the story. Maybe he didn't intend for some aspects to be funny, but they were. I guess it's my weirdo sense of humor at work, because I laughed out loud at some parts, and then I almost shuddered at some other part. What I thought about each story"Children of the Kingdom"This story was just kind of twisted. Some aspects were pretty sick, but kind of absurd, in that way that has you wanting to laugh until the idea that this is not played for laughs hits you. It's not so funny if you're actually in this story, and this utter weirdness is playing out around you and involves you in ways you really don't want to be involved. This story makes me think that Klein writes in a subversive way to bring race relations to the reader's mind and to make one consider how absurd racism (largely due to unfounded fears behind it) is. In this case, the main characters fear the blacks and what they seem to represent (seen as the arbiters and cause of social decay) in the neighborhood. What they should fear is lurking in the sewers, and they aren't black, and hardly even human. They are a primitive version of humanity that could care less about race, other than furthering their own once great civilization. This was an eerie and disturbing, like a stomach ache, story."Petey""Petey" seems to be a look at the Yuppie drive to 'have' and to 'flaunt' what one has. In this case, George and Phyllis have gotten a huge mansion way out in the boondocks for a song, and they throw a party to show it off. Actually they got the mansion for a 'steal', and they will find it's going to cost a lot more than they bargained for. Klein shows just how different his writing is from Lovecraft, even with a story that could have come out of the master of horror's imagination. In this case, this story is so subtle, it takes some careful reading to look for the threads of threat and horror. (My personal opinion is that Lovecraft is not a subtle writer) They are there, but the social commentary seems to be more of a focus in this story. However, careful reading assures the reader that they are not mistaken about the wrongness of it all. This is definitely a horror story. I felt the ending was too abrupt, and that disappointed me. But it was a good story overall."Black Man with a Horn"Definitely a story that could have come out of the pulps with the fears of the Yellow invasion and the antiquated views towards black people (bestial, subhuman, you name it), also that fear of native/tribal cultures. This story felt the most like Lovecraft to me, and probably in the ways that make his stories hardest to read as far as racist elements. What I liked about this story is that the narrator is a contemporary of Lovecraft, who was seen as a protege of Lovecraft instead of a respected colleague. That smarts, and you find out more than once as you read the story. He views the world through an aging lens. One gets the impression that his views on race are expected for a man of his age, even if they made me uncomfortable. This one is a double-edged sword for me, as I liked the pulpy feel, although not the undesirable aspects (see above sentences) of pulp literature. You have an idea of what's going on here, but there's still an ambiguity to the threat. And when the story ends, that is a huge component of the unease that is left behind. It's as though you can only see what you have seen, and no more, without losing your grip on sanity. That's very Lovecraft right there."Nadelman's God"This story was the most interesting, and the most disturbing one in the collection. Heavy shades of black magic here. It makes one afraid of what lurks in your imagination. Could I create something with this malevolent force behind it? On one level, I could wonder if it's Nadelman's very lack of positive belief and optimism that created the spark that brought this creature to life. If religion is seen as an opiate, could it not also serve as a protective force against something much darker, much more detrimental to mankind? Instead of belief hurting, maybe belief could protect. And its absence opens a doorway to a dark force that hates all good in the world. When this story concluded, I felt that fear like a weight on my back that it left behind.Dark Gods is a good book to read around Halloween. It will have you reaching for lighter fare afterwards, though.

  • Cheryl
    2019-04-14 06:46

    Four horror novellas that were influenced by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Though many Lovecraftian themes are present in these stories, the author has his own distinct and modern writing style. One of the better examples of this horror sub-genre.Children of the Kingdom - 4 stars. An ancient race of hidden Old Ones, living in New York City. Set during the 1977 Blackout.Petey - 3 stars. Revenge for a shady real estate deal.Black Man With a Horn - 3 and 1/2 stars. A writer who was a protege of H. P. Lovecraft finds himself in a real-life drama involving characters from a Lovecraft story.Nadelman's God - 4 stars. An old occult poem, written by Nadelman back in his college days as an act of rebellion, is taken very seriously by a fan who's into witchcraft.

  • Tom
    2019-04-03 05:53

    The lack of T.E.D. Klein material out there is one of the grave sadnesses of the publishing world. He's not a particularly prolific author, I'll grant that - a handful of stories and a single (great) novel over 30 years is not exactly a Dickensian output. But it should really all be in print, starting with this. Four novellas that surpass the normal expectations of "horror fiction" by being smart, original and genuinely unsettling. It contains "Children of the Kingdom," set during New York's apocalyptic summer of 1977, and the eerie meditation on mortality "Black Man With a Horn," which uses postmodern pastiche techniques in its loving homage to Lovecraft.

  • Orrin Grey
    2019-03-31 04:40

    This is more like it! While Reassuring Tales was something of a let-down, Dark Gods was exactly what I was looking for. It was reading "Black Man with a Horn" for what I thought was the second time but was actually the first that drove me to pick this up. I was pretty sure I'd read it before, but I turned out to be dead wrong. Everything in it was new to me (except "Black Man," which I'd just read in The Book of Cthulhu), and everything in it was pretty much superb.Now if someone would just package these up with "Events at Poroth Farm" and then take my money, please.

  • Steve
    2019-04-02 07:50

    One of the very best collections of horror short stories I've ever read. I think short stories are where Klein really shines, which makes sense, since there are many who say that horror works best in the short form. Unfortunately, this is pretty much it for Klein. I wish he would of written more.

  • Aric Cushing
    2019-03-21 03:00

    Fantastic short stories. T.E.D. Klein said,"I will do anything to NOT write." Unfortunately, he created his own fate, and we are only left with 1 novel and this collection of unbelievable short stories.

  • Paulo
    2019-03-22 03:41

    What an amazing book. Why did the writer only wrote one book and two novellas? For what I know they were well received by the critics. Maybe he is lazy, like Wikipedia says he is.Now you've got four stories in this anthology. Each one with, around 60/70 pages. Believe me when I say each story has a Lovecraftian theme or characteristic.The first story is Children of the Kingdom. New York City blackout of 1977 is the setting. The sewers and ghettos of Manhattan conceal a race of faceless mutants connected to the Gnostic Gospels and MesoAmerican lore. Only the last pages brought a feeling of dread. The rest of the tale is the bulding but unfortunally it felt short. The second story was Petey a tale about a haunted house. A couple have a party with some friends to show them their new big house and we start learning some of it's secrets. In the beginning I thought "-Unfortunally it ended way short. What?? Who was..? No, what? Darn time lost for a weak finale. I thought that it was missing a page somehow..." Now that I think back I thought it ended like the first. You really have to think about it. It's not those tales of horror or not that it ended, good or bad. No, here you have to think about it and draw a conclusion yourself. Nevertheless the weakest story of the bunch, nevertheless way better than most writers out there. Black Man with a Horn the third story. Here not only has some Lovecraftian theme but also as a protagonist of some sorts. This tale is told in first person perspective. The writer even say that "There is something inherently conforting about the first person past tense. it conjures up visions of some deskbound narrator puffing comtemplatively upon a pipe amid the safety of his study, lost in tranquil recollection, seasoned but essentialy unscathed by whatever experience hes about to relate. its tense that says: "I am here to tell the tale. I lived through it."Its a tale about a old writer, like many others out there than are told in the same way of what this writer says... "So this is what I was reduced to - a lifetime work shrugged ff by some blurb-writer as "Worthy of the Master Himself," the creations of my brain dismissed as mere pastiche. And the tales themselves, once singled out for such elaborate praise, were now simply - as if this were commendation enought - "Lovecraftian." Ah, Howard, your triumph was complete the moment your name became an adjective."It's a funny because the writer creates a satire about the pastiche by creating one. Almost every horror writer knows Lovecraft. It's impossible not to know him. Most of our contemporaneous writers of horror have written something with a lovecratian theme. King, McCammon, Little, Lumley, Robert Howard, Ramsey, Frank Belknap Long, Charles L. Grant, Clark Ashtom Smith, Robert Bloch and many many others. So did they create something or merely copied? My belief is that they create. They use a theme to their purpose. What's so wrong about that? Any fantasy writer created anything after Tolkien? And even Tolkien created something or simply used Folklore and Myth Tales or even Lord Dunsany tales? Sci-fi? Any writer created something after Verne or HG Wells? I think so.They use but create something new. That's life. Everything in life works that way.Now the tale itself. A elderly man talks to a priest on his way back from Malasya where he learns of his discoviries of an ancient race living there that was the backbone inspiration of something Lovecraft created. Maybe the tales by Lovecraft were not merely fiction. Then the story change to a kind of detective tale and the ending was equal to many the master created. The unease - the unknown. Are we losing sanity to think things that are not really there? Excelent story. Nadelman’s God is the last story and it ends with a BANG. Excelent. What are we? Our thoughts exist? Yes. So when I put something on paper does it exist? Yes. So what is written down is it real? Are we all creators? Gods? What are myths and legends and religion? Either based on a book or told from father to son. So what makes it more "real" than a horror writer creating a being and setting loose on a world? Excelent premises. Excelent execution. TED Klein should have written more because he is a excelent writer and creator.Overall, the writing is similar to pulp fiction from the thirties. Some people will be upset with the characterization of black people. Don't forget that Racism always existed but in 1920/1930/1940 this kind of behaviour was accepted.The characterization of the main characters is at times lacking but wasn't Lovecraft doing the same? What's important is the tale. The horror behind. The atmosphere od fread and the sense that the story was moving to something that will make you crazy if you would understand it.Would I advice this anthology? YES. Undoubtly YES. To anyone who wants to enter the horror genre or likes Lovecraft writing style but modernised.This book will stay with me and I bet I will be reading it again after ten or twenty years.

  • Ian Casey
    2019-04-14 04:58

    It seems that supernatural horror enjoyed a resurgence in the late 70s and 80s, with the likes of Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker and Thomas Ligotti achieving varying degrees of critical and commercial success. Perhaps there’s no better example of the spirit of this revival though than here in Dark Gods, a 1985 collection of four short stories by T.E.D. Klein which reads like a veritable love letter to the heydays of supernatural and weird fiction.That in itself wouldn’t count for much unless the work was quality, and I’m pleased to say that quality is here in abundance. Indeed if not for the surprisingly small quantity of his output, Klein’s name may now be more often spoken of less as a disciple of the horror masters and more as an equal.Klein does not hide from his influences but rather proudly displays them. Shameless mentions of the likes of Robert W. Chambers, Arthur Machen and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are merely the tip of the iceberg in this regard.The first story, ‘Children of the Kingdom’, clearly owes a great deal to Robert E. Howard and I should be very surprised if its title was not a wink and a nod to Howard’s ‘Children of the Night’. He even makes a point of comparing one of his characters to one of M.R. James’. That said, in this as in all his tales Klein distinctly has his own voice. In this case it’s put towards the tale of a handful of characters going about their unremarkable lives around the time of the New York City blackout of 1977.Speaking of James, his literary spectre haunts the second story ‘Petey’. There is for the duration of this tale no explicitly or overtly supernatural occurrence whatsoever. All we have are a pile of allusions and inferences as to something bubbling away behind an otherwise thoroughly mundane tale of a housewarming party, then a thoroughly Jamesian conclusion wherein the final paragraph ties the disparate threads together and ends before their significance can be entirely comprehended.The third tale, ‘Black Man with a Horn’ ramps up the referencing into overdrive, as the main character is based on Frank Belknap Long and Lovecraft is frequently mentioned and quoted. I love the self-awareness with which Klein delivers this pastiche of a traditional Lovecraftian tale in which a horror from a far-flung corner of the globe (one might call it a ‘dark god’) gradually asserts itself. Also, the introduction reflecting on the nature of a first-person past tense narrative is worth reading on its own merits.Finally we have ‘Nadelman’s God’. Whereas the other stories were first published around 1979/80, this one is new to the collection and it shows. Klein surely must have seen ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ shortly before writing this story, as it’s packed with tongue-in-cheek references to hair metal bands which veer dangerously close to displaying overt humour for the only time in this book. Judas Priest rate a couple of mentions relating to their trial for alleged Satanic messages found in their records when played backwards, which was a fun easter egg as an avowed fan of the band.The story itself is of a stuffy advertising executive who leads a humdrum existence outside his extra-marital affair. But once upon a time he’d been an edgy college student writing an execrable and blasphemous poem about an adversary to the Judeo-Christian God. Was it all the product of an over-exuberant imagination, or was something else at play? This one I found to be a top-shelf take on that well-worn Lovecraftian trope of the barriers between dream worlds and reality being hazier than we’d care to believe.In their totality the four stories left me with certain impressions. For one, Klein is masterful in his subtlety and that is a quality at the heart of at least some of the greatest weird fiction. For another he had a certain vivid realism to his settings and characters which I think was aided by his limited scope. For the most part he wrote contemporaneously and within the environs of his New York home (that is to say both the city and the state more broadly). At times there is an uncomfortable degree of racism on display, but it is framed as if to suggest how silly it is to fear our fellow man when there are much more insidious things in the world.I could go on, but the bottom line is that Dark Gods proves Klein was both an enthusiast of weird fiction and a master of the form in his own right. If the genre appeals to you in the slightest then do not hesitate to read it.

  • Randolph Carter
    2019-03-31 01:43

    Four beautiful literate longer horror stories, each one a modern classic. If all horror writers were like this the genre would become accepted as true literature.

  • David
    2019-04-09 03:03

    This is a remarkable book, offering four long stories showcasing the talents of an author who is not as well known as he deserves. The linking theme is, I think, the idea of a hidden world existing in parallel with our own - each hidden world may be different, but all are dangerously near. This is of course a rather Lovecraftian notion, but instead of piling on the horror Klein instead offers us good-natured, rather urbane and witty characters who only gradually realise that something has gone awry with the world.Spoilerish bits follow...'Black Man With a Horn' is almost a straight Lovecraft tribute, as an elderly man discovers that one of the standard tropes of the famous Mythos seems to be founded on a real - and very nasty - tribal custom. 'Children of the Kingdom' concerns a strange, Fortean account of a subterranean society supposedly lurking in New York's sewers. During a blackout, as society degenerates into chaos, the bizarre 'legend' becomes all-too-believable.'Nadelman's God' is about a regular guy who, when he was young and foolish, wrote a rather pretentious poem about dark and dangerous gods. Now someone has produced a rock album based on the poem, which is fair enough. If it was just an immature flight of fancy...'Petey' is the genuinely spooky tale of a group of wealthy urbanites who gather for a house-warming in the country. It turns out that the house was formerly the property of an eccentric who indulged in strange, alchemical practices. And what are those things in the jars?If you like well-written fantasy that straddles the ground between Ray Bradbury and Stephen King (sort of) you'll like this. It's downright exhilarating to find someone who writes as well as Klein, and sad to note that he writes very little, as editing is almost always a better career option.

  • Anne
    2019-03-25 07:44

    I give this collection of four novellas seven stars. I have read and reread them over the years, and they remain masterpieces of deep yet understated horror. The combination of Lovecraftian scope with minute contemporary detail and character-driven narrative is breath-taking. I especially admire Klein's settings -- I could live in the house described in "Petey," for example, and I feel that dreadful Florida humidity on my skin in "Black Man with a Horn."Truly, Klein's work is an inspiration.

  • Will
    2019-04-08 05:40

    I have wanted to read this book for a few years now, and it has not disappointed!Dark Gods is a collection of 4 stories that could be classed as weird fiction / horror. But they are so much more than that. The writing in these stories is simply brilliant! Even my least favourite in the collection, Black Man with a Horn, was superbly written. This is nothing less than a 5 star read.Children of the Kingdom wasn't what I expected going into the collection, but the last 25% of the story was completely different to the rest and was very chilling. The second story, Petey, was another step up. The story even dabbled into the occult and was very atmospheric. I was totally gripped and had to read more. The third story, Black Man with a Horn, was my least favourite in this collection. Nothing really happened compared with the rest of the stories, and was very much a tribute to H P Lovecraft. If I knew more about Lovecraft and his life, I may have appreciated the story a lot more. But again, the writing is amazing, so even though it wasn't a great story, it was enjoyable to read. The final story, Nadelman's God, has to be one of my favourite stories I've read. I was creeped out a few times whilst reading this. Not because it was graphic or gruesome, but because of the tension that Klein builds up throughout the story. This story actually felt real, and I experienced every emotion that Nadelman goes through in the story. Absolutely brilliant!If you manage to find a copy of this book somewhere, you must pick it up! When I saw a reasonably priced paperback copy online, I had to get it, and I am so glad that o did. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, horror, tales of the occult, weird fiction, then make this a priority. You will not regret it!

  • Tim
    2019-03-28 06:51

    If you are a fan of intelligent horror literature, your bookshelf should include this collection and Klein's novel "The Ceremonies." Klein's writing is subtle terror defined, his fictional universe offering brief glimpses into monstrous, inexplicable reality. Klein focuses on extended characterization (which is ever a good thing)and building mundane atmospheres which are shattered by quick views of weird evil, hints of unspeakable truths. Klein's philosophy is certainly fatalistic, but he crafts his tales with black humor and full-blown characters to whom most readers can relate.In regards to "Dark Gods," simply reading "Black Man with a Horn" is worth the price of the collection. This novella is perhaps what Lovecraft would have written if he could write as well as Klein. The other pieces in this collection suffer no lessening in quality. If you are a fan of Lovecraftian fiction, you will find no better writer than Klein.Sadly, Klein's output is limited to "Dark Gods," "The Ceremonies," and "Reassuring Tales." From what I understand, Klein suffers from writer's block and will probably never publish any more fiction. But here's to hoping that what I hear is inaccurate--because Klein's achievements are pretty remarkable.

  • David
    2019-03-19 06:44

    Fantastic collection of 4 terrifying novellas. I first encountered TED Klein's fiction in the "Cthulhu 2000" anthology back in the 90s and of all the stories in that collection it stuck with me the longest- long enough that I eventually picked this collection up and I'm glad I did.Klein does not write short stories and he really doesn't write stories where very much happens, at least at first. At various points these pieces teeter between boring and terrifying. Instead, every sentence is drenched in subtle atmosphere that builds and builds until you reach the shocking end. It's interesting to reflect on just how much of the strength of these stories lies on the sentence-by-sentence level. A synopsis of just about any of them would sound hackneyed and in any other format they would be, but, as executed, they are creepy as all hell. Also notable is Klein's evocation of New York city its environs. A native New Yorker, he does a wonderful job of making the city in the 70s come alive.Anyway, if you like a good horror story I can't recommend this book enough. Check it out!

  • Henrik
    2019-04-19 00:04

    June 1, 2009:"Children of the Kingdom":Klein didn't quite live up to my expectations with this one. Perhaps it's because I don't find it interesting that some weird albino humans want to have sex with older women and suchlike. There's a certain shock factor involved, of course, but a good horror story needs more than that to really work.The characters, the city life, friendships, and the rest home were all very well described, and I enjoyed the tale mainly because of these elements. The "alternate evolution theory" presented by Father Pistachio was fascinating too, and I did enjoy that it is hinted (suggested through actions, mainly) that this is what is behind the dark deeds going on. But it was too vague for my taste. Seemed to me this story would have won by elaboration, expansions, on various points. I'd like to see it as a novel.3 stars. I hope the next story, "Petey," is better.

  • Jail
    2019-03-29 00:54

    I was excited to read this book because Klein is so highly reccomended by many authors I like (thomas Ligotti, Ramsey Campbell, etc.) but I was a little underwhelemed by these stories as works of terror. They are all intelligently written but forgettable and not particuluarly scary. The scariest story "Petey" comes accompanied with such a hamfisted attempt at satire that it is also the most difficult to get through.Klein has a social conscience that belies his stated intention to merely entertain the reader. He surrounds the horror in the story with a liberal modernistic philosophy and a journalistic style that is quite innovative but when it comes to the actual horror in the stories it is definitely of a trite creature feature style that feels a little contrived coming out of the 1980's.

  • Nancy Carr
    2019-04-03 01:46

    This collection of four novellas, by the former editor of "The Twilight Zone" magazine, relies on subtlety and psychology rather than gore for its unnerving effects. Some elements seem dated now (these were written about 30 years ago), but not in a bad way. I give this 4 rather than 5 stars because of Klein's overreliance on Africa and Asia as the source of horror: he's got plenty of company in this regard, and his white narrators don't come off unscathed either, but it's still rather off-putting. The best story overall is "Petey": put together a a mysteriously underpriced house in the Connecticut woods, a mysterious Tarot deck, and some goopy-looking jars in the attic . . . .

  • Robert
    2019-04-04 03:36

    This book is composed of four excellent novellas: The Children of the Kingdom, Petey, Black Man with a Horn, and Nadelman's God. Just reread it a week or so ago and it's still one of my faves. Each tale is smoothly written, scary, intelligent, thought-provoking and totally involving. The fact that T.E.D. Klein has written little else since this book and his sole novel, The Ceremonies, were published back in the late 80s is a crying shame. I recommend both to anyone who likes really good weird/horror fiction.

  • Aksel Dadswell
    2019-03-25 03:52

    Four mostly brilliant novellas that really go for the slow-burn horror. Some of the endings are a little problematic, particularly Nadelman's God, which seems cut short before anything of merit happens. My favourite of the four was Petey, which really gets under the skin and ends right at the reveal, and with a pretty interesting - and vaguely rendered - monster.

  • J.R.
    2019-04-06 05:54

    This is one of my favorite collections, and I generally dislike most everything. If you want to hear a pretty in-depth discussion of each story in this collection, check out my podcast, where we do two whole episodes on the book.

  • Brian Sammons
    2019-04-11 05:34

    Love this book. Mr. Klein, if you read this, please write more. Horror fans need you.

  • Canavan
    2019-03-30 01:41

    ✭✭✭✭½“Children of the Kingdom”(1980) ✭✭✭✭“Petey”(1979) ✭✭✭✭“Black Man with a Horn” (1980) ✭✭✭✭✭“Nadelman’s God” (1985) ✭✭✭✭✭

  • Steve
    2019-04-12 03:35

    This is a wonderful, creepy collection. I enjoyed it a lot!

  • Pete
    2019-03-25 04:03

    This is a great October spooky read. All four stories are very well written with excellent characters and concepts. There is a loose Lovecraft theme in all four but each is it's own unique story.All four stories would have been 5 star caliber if they didn't suffer from my usual problem with short stories, no real end. Each is well built and brings the reader on a fun journey only to end with a wink or tip of the hat at how the finishes without actually finishing it. This works great sometimes and is fine here but I won't say that's it's better than actually writing a nicely wrapped up ending.From the four stories you'll discover ancient gods, a yuppie house warming party, an old time horror writer turned detective, and an ad man turned with an interesting fan.The last story, Nadelman's God was my favorite. Shout out for the rock band, Jizzmo. Slurp this one up if you can find it.

  • Željko Obrenović
    2019-04-05 03:46

    Verovatno jedna od najboljih knjiga horor novela ikada. Mejnstrim momenat deluje uverljivije od horor momenta, ali ravnoteža nije takva da se celina bitno remeti.

  • Andy
    2019-03-24 05:46

    This collection is book-ended by two outright masterpieces of horror and suspense, the two middle stories aren't quite as impressive perhaps, but they're better than most horror I've read. Ever since I read Klein's great "The Ceremonies" this has been on my "to read" list.These often an urban, gritty feel like the horror stories of Fritz Leiber, the last novelette has some definite influences of Leiber's "Smoke Ghost." Klein writes in a clear, simple style -- none of the overly hallucinogenic, hazy "WTF Just Happened?" stuff we find in most modern weird fiction.These are long, "leisurely" stories which takes their time. Klein keeps his cards pretty close to the chest, but an experienced reader of horror (I guess I can call myself such) can see where things are headed, but not always. This is the case with most horror after you've read enough, but Klein makes the ride far more fun, even if you suspect the destination.Children of the Kingdom - This is prime horror. It's got a great tone of urban grit and crime built up throughout, with a queasy sexual theme. Half through the creepy details start to add up to a nasty, but not entirely predictable, picture. In the last quarter there's quite a few downright scary moments. Some charmingly dated references; Kojak, Mark Spitz, etc. After a man moves his grandfather into a NYC rest home he starts to suspect residents of it, and other areas are being terrorized by something far worse than just urban crime. Petey - I've never read a story that spent so much time in build up and then suddenly cut off, and was still completely satisfying. As with the previous story, this too is excellent, prime horror. Here we know even less than the other stories and the horror is kept at bay for longer. Its got a message too; it's full of materialistic people, showing off and we can't help rooting for them to get theirs. A couple showing off a large house they bought in the country from an insane hermit, start to get increasingly disturbing signs of the homes' dark past. Black Man With a Horn - This was another great story, a bit of a mystery/horror. I couldn't tell where things were going, it keeps you guessing, with it's disparate elements and details which present a picture, only vaguely until much later in the story. An author meets an old missionary on an airplane who is planning to retire after venturing into the realm of an evil, forgotten tribe in Malaysia. After a series of disappearances the author starts his own investigations into the tribe's history and folklore. Nadelman's God - Like the first story, this too is excellent. It has a lot of depth; exploring themes of disillusionment with one's youthful pursuits; a suitcase full of youthful aspirations and rebellion now shamefully hidden away. It's a very nostalgic story too. The horror theme shows some definite influences of Leiber's "Smoke Ghost" -- a horror created out of the grit and grime of the city itself. The horror and paranoia is skillfully mounted throughout what is a fairly long story. Nadelman is somewhat pleased to discover a irreligious poem he published in his old college newspaper (poetry being a long-abandoned pursuit) is being used in a song by a heavy metal band, until he starts receiving letters from a man obsessed with creating the horrible being spoken of in the lyrics.

  • Neil Mcrobert
    2019-03-21 23:55

    I've long heard about this collection of novellas being a key addition to the post-Lovecraft evolution/continuation of "the Weird". As someone who is usually s little underwhelmed by most weird fiction (including Lovecraft) I began with low expectations after finding it for a dollar in a used bookshop. I was very pleasantly surprised then, to find that 3 of the 4 stories are really quite excellent and owe as much to the modern horrorscape as they do to 1920s Providence. The last tale "Nadelman's God" was a bit of a chore - despite it seeming to be most people's favourite. The rest were great though. "Petey" is an oddity with definite evocations of "The Monkey's Paw" and nods to urban legend. It's also surprisingly funny in its indictment of middle class corruption and petty jealousy. As with all 4 stories the violent denouement occurs off the page and we are left to fill in the image of what exactly is "The Thing On The Doorstep" (pun very much intended). The other two tales: "Children of the Kingdom" and "Black Man With A Horn" are the real meat of the collection though. These both have clear, stated links to Lovecraft but take place in a contemporary metropolitan setting that ranks amongst the most threatening depictions of the urban labyrinth I've read since "American Psycho". Race is a huge part of these stories and i was forced to check up online as to whether the extreme prejudice expressed by the protagonists is a character conceit or the attitudes of the author. Thankfully Klein seems to be using race in s critical manner rather than merely following Lovecraft's own attitudes. Both of these stories are worth the price of a second hand purchase on Amazon. For anyone interested in the Weird Tale or anyone who wants to expand their horror reading beyond King et al, this is a must read.

  • James
    2019-03-31 01:54

    An absolute MUST-read in the field of contemporary horror. Klein deserves to be ranked with the absolute masters of cosmic fear: H. P. Lovecraft and Laird Barron! I can't recommend this book enough.Recently re-read. This book is like fine wine for lovers of horror in the Lovecraft tradition. Klein's characters are poignant and realistic. Though references to certain things date the writing, the characters feel very contemporary. "Black Man With a Horn" is perhaps the most anthologized story from this collection. But "Nadelman's God" is an even better tale. I can't rave enough about this book!

  • Karl Øen
    2019-03-24 23:45

    If you are lucky enough to come across this book, get your hands on it at once. Dark Gods contains some of the most chilling stories you'll ever read. Klein's prose is low-key, he never opts for what Stephen King called "gross-out", but slowly slips you bits and pieces, building from unease to sheer fright. For the strength of his writing prose, Klein has more in common with classic authors of the genre, like M.R. James. The two best stories of this collection, "Nadelman's God" and "Black Man with a Horn" are stand-outs.