Reviewed by Tim Curran

Six reasons to fear the light.

The toughest thing for any new writer to pull off is creating the sort of haunting imagery that sticks in the reader's mind and stays there with disturbing clarity. For it is this very thing that defines the best horror fiction. Period. Lovecraft knew it and so does King...and, I'm happy to say, so does Tim Johnson. In Wakemares, he creates a grim world of daylit, wide-awake nightmares in which unseen forces and malefic influences reach out from the dank subcellar of reality, using human lives and souls as pawns, as playthings. From the biological, visceral horrors of “Pulling Teeth” to the stark dementia of “Impermeable” to the malevolent spirit possession of “Where it Belongs”, each story is a gem, a blueprint for the mutation and erosion of reality. My particular favorite was “Erasing Punishment”, an EC-horror type conte cruel in which a shrewish, vindictive teacher gets exactly what's coming to her. There are a mere six stories in this slim chap, a sampling of Johnson's budding talent. And as such, each comprises a casual flirtation with his dark imagination. Just a taste and have no doubt, after reading these stories, you'll be hungry for more.

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