There really is no competition here between the two collections of short stories. Stephen King when on, can write like a force of nature.
But in JUST AFTER SUNSET, Stephen King is not on.
Story after story fizzles against each other to create a collection that underwhelms. There’s a sense in these King stories, as in some of King’s novels, the sense of padding. Of words poured on just to have words, and the gist of the story stalled, till the mandatory word count is reached.
It makes for something of a chore to get through. The best way to describe the effect of JUST AFTER SUNSET is tedium. It’s a tedious, tedious read. One belabored story followed by another.
Thankfully Brandon Massey’s DARK DREAMS Anthology, while having its shares of misses (Kalamu ya Salaam’s story being one of the most egregious), on the whole is as fresh as JUST AFTER SUNSET is routine. DARK DREAMS’ pages are filled with enough strange, evocative and varied stories of the sinister and the savage; to make it a far more satisfying read throughout.
And I strongly recommend the almost sold out DARK DREAMS unabridged audio book read by a variety of great performers. A nice compliment to the paperback. Check it out here: Dark Dreams : A Collection of Horror and Suspense Unabridged Audio Book CD