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    Here are 17 of the author's favorite stories, including the Bram Stoker Award-winning novella Five Days in April, along with the preceding Watchers story "Ten Days in July" and a story published here for the first time, "These are the Moments I Live For". Hopkins also won Stokers for his novel The Licking Valley Coon Hunters Club, his novella El Dia de los Muertos, and the second volume of his Extremes anthology series. He is the author of several other collections, including Salt Water Tears, Phoenix, and Road's End, as well as two mystery novels, the aforementioned Coon Hunters and The Bikini Bottoms Optional Oyster Bar.

    ©2021 Brian A. Hopkins (P)2022 David N. Wilson

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    • Char
    • 19/05/2022

    Gorgeous, Poignant and Moving!

    Brian A. Hopkins is FREAKING AMAZING! I don't know why this man is not included on the lists of the most popular dark fiction writers of today, but he should be on it and near the top. I was introduced to his work by one of my favorite audiobook narrators, Joshua Saxon. I am so glad! Otherwise Brian and his work might never have made it onto my radar and that my friends, would have been a tragedy.

    Brian's stories are always moving, some are poignant, some are painful, but they're all engaging and often overlooked by the mainstream. (Am I belaboring the point? Probably.) Below, I'm going to mention the stories that moved me the most.

    FIVE DAYS IN APRIL: Before September 11th, there was a bombing in Oklahoma City which, at the time, was the biggest act of domestic terrorism ever, in the United States. I realize that 168 dead souls sounds somewhat paltry now in this age of war and near daily mass shootings, but back in 1995 it was shocking to most Americans. This story talks about the rescue workers and the rescue dogs and what happens to them during the search for survivors. (There was a day care center inside the building, and 19 of the murdered were children.) This tale broke my dark, black heart. I'm not ashamed to say I finished this with tears openly running down my face. In fact, I bet there will be a tear in your eye if you read it too.

    THE SCISSORS MAN: I don't even know what to say about this story. It's an unflinching tale that looks at all the aspects of death. And death always lies.

    THESE ARE THE MOMENTS I LIVE FOR: Featuring dreams and a fallen angel, this dream-like tale requires your careful attention.

    ALL COLORS BLEED TO RED: I remember reading the book The Hot Zone back in 1994 and it scared the hell out of me. So did this story.

    THE ENDLESS MASQUERADE: Abuse suffered as a young child is NEVER forgotten and the consequences are hard to forget in this dark tale.

    THE GROTTO OF MASSABIELLE: In a few small ways, this reminded me of Stephen King's THE DEAD ZONE. It's one of those times when what should have been a gift turns into some kind of curse.

    DEAD ART was so unique, and I don't even know what else to say.

    THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH is that you cannot escape it no matter what you do. It always catches up to you.

    There is a wonderful foreword by David Niall Wilson and there are two short pieces at the end by other writers who were lucky to discover Brian's work much earlier than I did. I enjoyed listening to all three.

    Joshua Saxon narrates the hell out of these stories, I have to mention that. He is a master of voicing and his range as far as accents and dialect go is beyond compare.

    Betraying myself by revealing that I am a native of Massachusetts: This book is WICKED good! Excellent prose and my emotional reactions to it will keep THOSE I KNOW BY HEART at the top of my recommended books list for the rest of my life. What else is there to say?

    My HIGHEST recommendation!

    *Thank you to Joshua Saxon for the free audio download in exchange for my honest feedback.*

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