The Mind’s Plague and Other Bites of Brutality by Morgan K. Tanner
Reviewed by S.J. Budd
Three friends search for an infamous internet video of an urban legend with devastating consequences; a passionate drummer joins the band of his dreams, or perhaps his nightmares; a man tries to find fame in a world where the mundane call the shots; and a grieving father loses his grip on reality.
These ten stories delve into a world of darkness and suffering, where the terrors are more vivid than they may appear. Blood is spilt, minds are destroyed, as madness ultimately reigns victorious.
I always look forward to reading a Morgan K Tanner tale. Over the years I’ve read a fair few and all of them brilliant. It really struck me whilst reading through The Mind’s Plague that he has gone on to develop his own really unique style of writing. Morgan K.Tanners knows how to bring the darkness to his stories!
Tanner’s slice of horror is extra dark, there’s a smithereen of supernatural horror in here but mostly he concentrates on the horror that is inside all of us. I’ve always thought that the real monsters roaming our planet are not nightly supernatural creatures but us; humans. It seems that Morgan K. Tanner also shares this opinion.
These stories are all the more scary as they can happen in real life and maybe they are.
The stories speak of the horror we inflict on each other, of dreams turning to living nightmares, hearts broken beyond repair and people slipping down beneath the cracks of society. Inside you’ll find stalkers losing their last shred of humanity, jealousy taking hold, and loved ones turning on each other with utmost brutality.
There are ten stories in this volume and I enjoyed every single one of them. There’s a great range of stories in here, each one very different in their own right.
My favourites included; Conflagration Desecration, Reluctant Bloodlust, Thieves and of course Room 405.
Conflagration Desecration is a tale about a young drummer looking for a new metal band to join. Craving excitement and the passion of playing live again he answers a strange ad from a band seeking a new drummer. This band is really something else. I loved the bleak darkness of this tale. I though the ending was brilliant.
I’m also currently reading Appalachian Undead from Apex with is a Zombie themed anthology and this tale, Reluctant Bloodlust, from Morgan K Tanner delivers a fresh take on a much visited trope. I really enjoyed this and if you thought Conflagration Desecration was dark, this is much darker.
Thieves was a great tale of two young men breaking into the home of a disabled man. There is a great build up of dread and terror. I knew something really bad was going to happen but it was impossible to guess how it was going to unfold.
Alongside Conflagration Desecration, Room 405 is my favourite tale from this superb anthology allowing Tanner to sign off leaving the reader wanting more. I loved this tale from beginning to end it was really creepy and mysterious and the ending was brilliant. I felt this was a short story that could very easily be expanded into something longer.
About S.J. Budd
S.J.Budd is a dark fiction author and HWA member from Cornwall. Her work has appeared in The No Sleep Podcast, Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome, Innersins, Aphelion, Bewildering Stories, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, Shadows at the Door and Danse Macabre Magazine, The Wild Hunt, Morpheus Tales and Freedom Fiction.