Greg Chapman Strikes Again With ‘The Sublime Darkness’: Book Review

September 19, 2020

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

Greg Chapman is a horror author in the truest, purest sense of the title. He thrives in darkness and basks in the bleak world of fear. I am a big fan and I was so happy to read his short story collection: The Sublime Darkness: And Other Dark Stories. This is the second book I have read of Chapman’s and so this time I was prepared for the dive into the depths of darkness…and it was a fantastic journey!

Characters

The characters in these stories are impressive. Not only are they always unique and intriguing, but they are realistic. Even in the darkest of his universes, the characters in Chapman’s stories seem like regular people in traumatic situations. They could be your neighbor, or the person you just passed on the street last time you went on a walk. Not only does he create such great characters, but he does it in an impressive way. Chapman excels at fully introducing readers to his characters with a few words. He has no need to spend paragraphs and pages meandering on about all the subtitles of his creations, but within the world of his short stories, creates the needed depth and lives in only a few carefully chosen words.

Plots

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories for many reasons, but one of the main ones was the variety of plots. Each story was its own. Dealing with death, demons, insanity and many other dark elements, Chapman thrives in it all. If you like horror, you will like these stories. The plots are heavy with real meat in them and there doesn’t seem to be an area of horror that Chapman avoids.

Not only are the plots full of darkness and horror, the emotions that accompany each event are so well shown. With the feelings of losing loved ones, to outright terror, Chapman paints perfect pictures and shows real, tangible emotion throughout his stories.

Writing

I am a big fan of the way Chapman writes. He never falls into cliché or expectation. He uses words not to simply portray the story, but instead uses words as tools to paint and create life and worlds. Chapman creates the unexpected and never holds back when it comes to the darkness we all love in horror. His writing is unique and recognizable, yet still unique from story to story.

I don’t know how to work this part in smoothly, but one thing that really stood out to me that Chapman does (and many pother authors don’t) is that he uses different points of view from story to story. This may seem like a small thing, but it is not. It shows that Chapman is not afraid to push himself and try new things in his writing. His creativity and adventurous writing style is refreshing…even in the darkness of his stories.

Critique

The critique that I have for The Sublime Darkness is more opinion than anything else. I found that some of the endings in the stories were a little vague. It is a very usual thing in horror to have twist or vague endings, but I think that some people would find a couple of the endings little too vague. Some mystique in the endings is a good thing, but a couple of them were a little too vague for me.

Eulogy

I have now read 17 of Chapman’s short stories between his two collection. He is shockingly consistent at writing good, entertaining stories with no fluff or filler. I expect some weaker stories in collections like this, but with each plot being so unique and written so differently, there was no down-time. Each story excited and intrigued individually. I recommend this book wholeheartedly. If you like darkness, horror, worlds full of bleak hopelessness, Chapman is the author for you!

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