Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs: A Horror Collection by Israel Finn takes readers on a wild ride through a collection of short stories that leave you wanting more in a way that will entice many a reader. Finn’s ability to create a collection of horror snippets that whet the appetite is nothing short of masterful as his detail to characters and the horror-filled world they find themselves in gives you just enough information to pull you in, before he leaves you there alone and afraid.
In this collection by Finn, there are offerings that focus on horror and some that cater to dark fantasy, but at the heart of each one is a person, much like us, exposed or forced into circumstances that decidedly mark their fates. Finn manages to bring a “Twilight Zone” feel to his work that somehow managed to mate with the likes of “Creepshow” and “Tales from the Crypt.” It had a vibe that was reminiscent of the 80’s while still being relevant for any era, a fun ride to the land of nostalgia while scaring you senseless. Each story within the collection is standalone, but each story takes the reader further into the dark world Finn has created and the characters that he perfectly serves up. As you read, it seems to implant itself into the dark recesses of our minds before coiling around our own fears and phobias and as its written seems to be the overall intent.
Marked as horror and dark fantasy, Finn’s work is steeped in both, though not usually at the same time. Some of the stories were bloody, some were dark and sinister, while others played on human fears that when brought to life among the pages did little to quiet our racing hearts and sweaty hands as Finn’s ability to take us there makes you feel as if you’re stepping into the role of one of his characters, I mean victims, yeah those.
It was not as bloody as I expected going in, but as I read along it became more terror-ridden than I could have imagined. The stories are short, some a few pages long, others a few longer than those, but each was enough to satisfy anyone who enjoys this genre, and each was vividly created enough to make you crave another helping. Detailed and filled with psychological twists and turns, Finn expertly explores the human condition and the horrors within ourselves while providing highlights into the often, shocking and shadowy, side of life. Finn cleverly creates a world within his collection that seems to shift from monsters on the inside to monsters on the outside and is perfect for the reader who enjoys dipping their toes into the murky waters of the horror fiction world because when it comes to Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs, you may not scream outright, but you sure as hell will be sleeping with the lights on.