The villagers stand huddled at the edge of the river, frozen by the sight before them.
Horrific. Inexplicable. Monstrous.
Who would do such a thing?
The townspeople have become used to vagrants lurking in their streets since the fall of the Soviet Union, while witless officials shake their heads at mounting unsolved crimes. But the river sees everything. The drunks, and the abusers. The poachers and thieves. The children who walk into the twilight, and never return.
So many secrets trapped in its dark, icy depths, now all rising to the surface.
Up river, Sasha Karpov wrestles with the past; those times he’d rather forget, and the memories that leave his body flushed and sparking with excitement. He’s not a bad person, so he says, but his shameful secrets will go with him to the grave.
Unless of course, the river speaks for him.
A stranger meets a gipsy in the woods. One holds a gun and the other, a dangerous secret. Both are caught in a dance with the devil, but for one of them, this cold and grisly night will be their last. The Gipsy The forest is quiet. Too quiet. The ancient trees and hidden creatures hold their breath as the old man sits in his camp and waits. When a shadow breaks from the darkness, it bears the long line of a loaded rifle and a deeply-growled threat. The old man has been keeping a disturbing secret, and someone knows the truth. If he refuses to meet the stranger’s demand, the woods he calls home will be painted with his blood. The Stranger Desperation is a fickle friend. It fills a man with courage that soon turns to madness, until the red haze clears and he finds himself in a forest hunting a gipsi, with nothing but a gun and a prayer. No good comes of dabbling with the dark arts—or dealing with the folk who do the devil’s work. But the stranger has no choice. This is his destiny. Two men. One night. And a promise that will soon become a curse.
A PIECE OF HEAVEN
A piece of Heaven in the pits of Hell… Even with a college degree, He was still playing at El Sabaneta, a filthy tenth rate bar in LA’s poorest suburb. His face, his name were all unknown. His hard work and many failures lied under the radar until he met Joanne Duncan, a short and chubby woman who replaced the bar’s previous owner. It doesn’t take long for him and Joanne to move in together and for a spark of fire, of motivation to want a better life for his woman. So when Rodrigo, the money burner with his dirty drug dealing business, offers him work, he is all in. However, things don’t go as planned and he soon finds himself trapped, tried, and sentenced to jail in a country he can’t even speak the language of. There, he meets Pedro, a Hispanic habitual robber whose English is good enough to tell him that his days are numbered. Stranded without friends, without family, and so far away for Joanne, he resigns himself to the prospect of an early death amidst his violent new home. But Tapiolocas, the prison they’re heading to, won’t allow it. Death is too easy of a way out around there. Only those who have been forced down The Stairs know what dark and demonic secret is harboured within its basement. Armed with nothing but a stolen, abandoned prison guitar, he will soon find out for himself just what exactly Tapiolocas is hiding and maybe, just maybe, figure out a way to survive alive.
Step into Jack Darby’s terrifying world, where sorrow and despair meet hope, or the illusion of it, and you will surely be getting a taste of what the young writer has to offer.
Dark Tales of Sorrow and Despair is not all darkness, but Jack Darby effectively explores the human condition while infusing it with horror and terror. There are wonderful glimmers of hope and life woven into these stories but have no doubt, these stories touch shadowy places in human experience.
For those that haven’t read much foreign fiction, please be advised that each culture has different storytelling conventions. These tales, lovingly crafted by Mr. Darby, reflect his culture. There are some disturbing images that are not frequently examined in English-language fiction. That’s because Romanian, (or Irish, or Spanish, or Norwegian, for that matter) cultures have different histories and this provides diverse fears and terrors to be examined. Reading these tales from another place is both exhilarating as well as you may learn how others see the world.
The writing style of Mr. Darby is a combination of classic horror, traditional literature, and modern bestseller. The cadence of the language, as translated, is different than English but once you settle in, you’re in for a great read.
Reviewed by R.B. Payne at Cemetery Dance Publications … which is widely-considered the world’s leading specialty press publisher of horror and dark suspense. Check out the FULL R.B. Payne review of Jack Darby’s Tales of Sorrow and Despair.
About the Author
Jack Darby could have been a veterinarian, a police officer, a prison guard, a journalist, or a truck driver (and a few other small things, he says). He chose to become a teacher because “opening one’s mind is more important than anything else.”
In parallel with his teaching career, Jack Darby enjoys writing horror, science fiction, fantasy, and thriller, and is considered by many international critics to be “a very talented author, often described as a
Stephen King’s version from Europe.
He was born on March 19, 1976 in Dracula’s country, and until he found his vocation as a teacher, he tried several jobs. He traveled extensively in southern and western Europe, studying the mythology and urban legends from which he draws inspiration for his books.
During his free time, he reads and occasionally writes reviews for several profile magazines or for his own blog.
keep in touch with Jack Darby at his website: jackdarbyauthor.com/