Working for Dread Central leaves me little time to read for pleasure, but one author I always make room for on my schedule is Alan Draven so I’m happy to pass on the news that he has a new book hitting the market: The Bitternest Chronicles, a collection of five previously published short stories and two brand new novellas.
This isn’t the first time Draven has visited Bitternest, a foggy city in the heart of Louisiana where unnatural things happen on a daily basis. For a taste of what has taken place there, check out his novel Bitternest (review here), which combines vampires and massive death and destruction from a viral outbreak.
So, what can we expect from The Bitternest Chronicles. Below you’ll find a video trailer for the anthology, but first here’s a synopsis of the various offerings:
“The Bypassed Mind”: A man travels to Bitternest, Louisiana, for a conference on hypnosis. Once in his hotel room, he is mesmerized by a painting of a lady in a blue dress. Upon staring at it, he finds himself transported to a different era. Who is this mysterious lady who seems to have put a spell on him?
“Breaking and Entering”: Chase Sands enters people’s home for kicks. It’s a game for him; he doesn’t steal anything, just likes to see how people live. One day upon breaking into a random house, he discovers something truly shocking and realizes that he isn’t the only one playing games.
“The Errand”: Merrick Murray is a man who frequently walks through a strange and supposedly haunted forest to run errands. One day, on his way back home, something happens and he loses time. When he comes to, he will have to come to terms with a very grim realization.
“Hershell’s Motel”: A couple spends the night at a strange motel in Bitternest. They get into a fight, and the woman takes a room alone. She soon witnesses strange things occurring in her room—or are they really happening?
“The Chilling Hour”: A horror radio show host by the name of Nick Kubrick decides to debunk the myths of Bitternest. He embarks on a quest to seek out Bitternest’s famed Gargoyle: myth or reality? He will find himself thrown into a scenario straight out of a horror movie and facing translucent beings that turn people into stone and go by the name of the Dark Emissaries.
“Cellar Door”: Justis Meyers, a court proofreader, picks up white noise on the recording of a transcript he’s proofreading. He hears a girl say, “Help” and “Find cellar door” on it. He begins to dig deeper and discovers troubling details about a little girl that went missing in Bitternest. He embarks on an investigation to uncover the truth and answer the ultimate question: “What is cellar door?”
“The Dark Emissaries”: Harmony Evans returns to her hometown of Bitternest for the funeral of a friend. She begins to suspect that he was murdered by something unnatural. A strange and charismatic man who only goes out at night confirms her fears and tells her there are dark beings sucking the life out of Bitternest’s inhabitants and turning them into stone. They are called the Dark Emissaries and a sign that they are but a taste of much worse things to come. Harmony will learn that she has a bigger role to play in the fight against the Dark Emissaries. Will she and her mysterious new friend find a way to defeat them before the irreparable happens?