[REVIEW] Midnight in the Pentagram – Edited by Kenneth W. Cain

MIDNIGHT IN THE PENTAGRAM

EDITED BY KENNETH W. CAIN

PUBLISHED BY SILVER SHAMROCK PUBLISHING

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

It took me more than a month to read this anthology, because it is MASSIVE. Just shy of 500 pages of fiction, this horror collection features many notable authors in the community/genre, including Brian Keene, Owl Goingback, Laurel Hightower, Catherine Cavendish, Stephanie Ellis, Chad Lutzke, Tim Meyer, Todd Keisling, Robert Ford, and more. At the end of this review, I will post a complete Table of Contents for your reference. 

Considering its size, it’s easy to find a healthy amount of stories to love in here. Considering the amount you have to choose from, you could dislike half of these entries and still have a strong collection. That wasn’t the case for me, but it’s a point I wanted to make. In most collections, if you don’t like half the stories, you’re usually left with a hundred pages of good fiction, give or take. Here, it would be closer to 3x that, so you’d still come out a winner.

I have a lot of favorites in Midnight in the Pentagram, so I will try highlighting a few here with quick notes as to why they stuck out for me. “The Corn Maidens” by Brian Moreland has a frightening premise that would serve well as a novel. “The Other” by Laurel Hightower had me curious throughout. The writing was good and the ending was quite interesting. “Legion Cast Forth” by Robert Ford was a lot of fun. Even though the ending was not what I expected, it was still satisfying. “The Oubliette of Elie Loyd” by Catherine Cavendish had a cool concept and was well written, but my favorite part was the Oubliette’s backstory (which was terrifying!). “The Gods of Our Fathers” by Todd Keisling was one of the top stories for me; it was grim and unsettling, and left me wanting more. “Family Reunion” by Stephanie Ellis has a horrific ending! The writing is great and I was left, again, wanting more. “Brujeria” by Michael Patrick Hicks was very well written, fun, and creepy (even if the concept of a haunted lost film is familiar). I think Hicks took a trope and gave it a unique enough spin to leave a lasting impression. “Black Jar Man” by Mark Steensland – which I think is being made into a movie – was very well done, but also very horrific and triggering. Put it this way – I wouldn’t go see this movie because it would bother me too much! “Babylon Falling” by Brain Keene was straight badass. It was very well written and engaging and horrific. The idea was cool and the ending had a bit of positivity. I haven’t read much of Keene at all yet, but this story made me want to purchase some of his other work. “Witches’ Night” by Owl Goingback was a really enjoyable story involving a group of kids getting into evil that don’t understand. With the exception of the “walkaway” ending, I loved it.

Of course, with practically any anthology, there were disappointments along the way. But the good definitely outweighed the bad, and like I said before – with how many stories there are in this collection, even taking out what I didn’t like amounted to more than 300 pages of excellent content. I highly recommend this anthology for any horror fan. It’s probably the best one to arrive in 2020!

**

Highlights: So much content … a lot of great authors are featured … this is an anthology you could easily read and read again over the years

Shadows: Some stories had poor endings that ruined their ride … there are a couple of foul and dumb stories I really disliked

For fans of: Demonic horror, folk horror, haunted things … anthologies of terror … stories that leave you unsettled and scared of the shadows

Takeaway: Midnight in the Pentagram will likely be named the Best Anthology of 2020, if I were to guess. There is just so much to love (and fear) here!

Would I read this author again? Yes, in reference to anthologies from Silver Shamrock specifically, seeing as this is a collection of authors. That being said, most authors within are authors I would gladly read again.

REVIEW BY AIDEN MERCHANT
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword by Ronald Malfi

THE CORN MAIDENS by Brian Moreland

FATHER MACLEOD by Tony Tremblay

OPENING THE DOOR by Kenneth McKinley

THE OTHER by Laurel Hightower

LEGION CAST FORTH by Robert Ford

ANGEL DUST by Shannon Felton

WHAT I WOULDN’T GIVE by Chad Lutzke

HELLSEED by Tim Curran

DEVIL’S INK by Mark Towse

BABY TEETH by Azzurra Nox

MY BODY by Wesley Southard

THE RED BUTCHER OF WROCLAW by Graham Masterston

DOG EAT GOD by Kenneth W. Cain

THE OUBLIETTE OF ELIE LOYD by Catherine Cavendish

DISCOVERING MR. JONES by Cameron Ulam

THE GODS OF OUR FATHERS by Todd Keisling

I KNOW HE LOVES ME by James Newman

SECOND SIGHT by Allan Leverone

FAMILY REUNION by Stephanie Ellis

A NIGHT ABOVE by John Quick

BRUJERIA by Michael Patrick Hicks

WHITE WALPURGIS by Tim Meyer

FAMILY BUSINESS by Charlotte Platt

FLAKING RED PAINT by Armand Rosamilia

DIMINISHING RETURNS BY P. D. Cacek

THE STORY OF A LIFETIME by JG Faherty

THE FURIOUS POUR by Amanda Hard

A VIRGIN BIRTH by William Meikle

COMPLEX by Jason Parent

BLACK JAR MAN by Mark Steensland

BABYLON FALLING by Brian Keene

EXPRESS by Edward M. Erdelac

WITCHES’ NIGHT by Owl Goingback

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