Review: Screams Before Dawn by Heinrich von Wolfcastle

Screams Before Dawn is a book after my own heart… possibly with a butcher knife. A collection of short stories by Heinrich von Wolfcastle (see interview), his writing style is vivid, visceral and entertaining. Dark humor hides in unexpected word play. More than once I was shocked out of the story by my own laughter.

But don’t be misled. This book is pure horror. In “She Said Her Name Was Spookie” the prose reads like poetry up to the bitter sweet end. “Things in the Attic” was another treasure with interesting twists. Morbid and lovely, “Marvin’s Tavern” was another of my favorites with an unexpected twist.

Probably one of my favorites was “Employee Assistance Program” due to Wolfcastle’s deft handling of humor. An ironic example of how we become products of society, I was in complete empathy with the voice behind the first person narrative. I think everyone has experienced a ‘Mary Anne’ in the office at some point. If only…

It was the ending to “Bird’s the Word” that prompted my first unexpected laugh and won my appreciation. I was deep in the graphic details, balanced between disgust and fright, when the joke dropped. Like a cherry bomb, it appeared out of nowhere and shocked. I stopped and read the line again, probably twice, before I chuckled out loud.

Some of the finest work I’ve seen from a first book, Screams Before Dawn is definitely worth the read. I look forward to good things from this author. You can find Screams on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She is a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. She co-publishes Space and Time, a publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction since 1966. Join the community at
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