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The Devil’s Due: Nothing Is Ever As It Seems (full reviews here)

“When I first picked up this anthology, I had the idea that the theme was obvious: bad people getting their just deserts. I’m a fan of the karma come home to play genre, and so many of these stories really hit that mark for me, and adding in real demonology and lore just makes it all the sweeter… but the anthology actually has a different message and that message is shouted with every single tale: if you mess with dark forces you will always suffer for it.

Good intentions? Too bad. Innocent mistake? So sad. If you play a game with demons, devils, or other dark forces, you’re not going to come out of it on top. This isn’t an anthology of redemption or lessons being learned, except perhaps for the reader. A few stories left me feeling satisfied, others crushed, but not a one of them really leaves you feeling happy—and that’s great, that’s not the theme here!

If you enjoy stories about demonic contracts, this anthology is for you. If you want daring, last minute escapes, happy endings, blissful peace… you won’t like this anthology. And not every story is going to leave you feeling the same. Sometimes it’s like being torn from emotion to emotion, sometimes you feel sick to your stomach, sometimes you feel scared. It’s not always sneering at the misfortunes of others who have done wrong, it’s quite often forcing you to realize that these things can happen to anyone, even those who didn’t think they were involved, those who learned their lesson, or those who were simply in the wrong place…” – Rob W. (4/5 stars)

The Devil’s Due is an “unlucky 13” stories about people who make Faustian bargains (sometimes unwittingly) with the devil or one of his infernal agents. It’s a familiar literary trope, but the authors in this anthology breathe new life into it, sometimes by recasting a story in an unexpected setting. Bobby Nash’s story “Dante’s Teeth” is set in the Old West, and it’s an excellent Western as well as a horror story. “Genevieve and the Owl” by Mark Allan Gunnells takes the form of a dark fairy tale, and as a lover of folk horror I found the story fascinating. “Mary’s Secret” by Winfield Strock III (an author who is new to me) gives us a story of Victorian-era spiritualism and a historical setting in the form of a secret letter written by Mary Todd Lincoln in 1882. And one of my favorite horror themes, the cursed book, ends the anthology with Adam Messer’s “The Known and True History of the Djin.” Highly recommended for all lovers of horror literature. – Darrell Grizzell (5/5 stars)

The Devil’s Due: Nothing Is Ever As It Seems: Horror dark spec fiction anthology (The Devil’s Due: Horror dark spec fiction anthology Book 1) is a great anthology written by a lot of different author. I really liked reading this and I recommend this to all. I read a complimentary Advanced Reader Copy of this book & am voluntarily leaving an honest and unbiased review. – Scarolet Ellis (5/5 stars)

I really enjoyed the stories I read in this anthology. They really did a great job capturing my interest and holding my attention and I especially enjoyed reading “Genevieve and the Owl” by Mark Allan Gunnells. It has a very sympathetic protagonist and in my humble opinion, sets up a perfectly creepy atmosphere in the woods although more horrifying is the protagonist’s home life. The story on the whole was very satisfying and I highly recommend it. I also really enjoyed the first story “The Resurrection and the Life” which finds it’s protagonist in a very desperate situation and one he won’t be easily able to get out of. All in all, if you enjoy stories about making deals with the devil, than this is the anthology for you. – Stephanie Schwartz (5/5 stars)

The Devil’s Due is an excellent collection of 13 short stories, each one written by talented authors. Published by Valhalla Books and edited by Adam Messer, this collection carries one continuous theme throughout, deals with the devil. While there is a theme, none of these stories are anything like the others. Each carry a weight all their own, with a tragic tale to tell.​

In the Black Rock” by Alledria Hurt, an overall bad day beginning with a fender bender sets off a chain of events that cannot be undone. “Face It” by Carol Gyzander was a tragic tale involving a husband grieving his wife’s fatal illness as doctors continue to tell him there is nothing more to be done. I found this story to be the most gut-wrenching out of the collection. This story will not play out like you think it might. In fact, it is nothing like many of you are already thinking, as you nod along thinking, ah yes, that sort of deal makes sense.​

Another ominous tale with tragic undertones caught my attention, “The Plan” by Josh Vasquez. A plan for revenge plays out with the most curious of twists. I did not see this ending coming, not by a long shot. This story carries a powerful punch as it ends, making you wish that there were more pages to turn. I loved every word of this exceptional story.​

One more great tale, out of 13 great tales, is “Here Comes Mr. Herribone” by Tim Jeffreys. This story truly creeped me out with its disturbing tale. One half of a comedy duo, Jim Game, is still standing after a tragic accident that claimed the life of a long-time friend, Tommy. Clearly haunted by grief and sadness without his long-time partner that played a character named Mr. Herribone in their act, Jim’s tale begins a slow descent into madness and despair. The tone of this story stayed unsettling and disturbing throughout the entire tale.​

The final tale is written by Adam Messer, the editor and founder of Valhalla books and it is an intriguing tale about a Djin. “The Known and True History of the Djin” is an epic short story that tells the tragic backstory of a Djin, or genie, if you will. the legend of the Djin has always fascinated me and I loved this unique take on the creature. Everything about this story was perfectly executed, from the set-up all the way through to the bitter end. The character is relatable, as are his circumstances and the legend that it details is superbly written.​

The Devil’s Due: Nothing Is As It Seems is a perfect collection of horror, despair, sadness, and the overall human condition as told by its authors. It is a perfect name, as none of these stories are what they seem. All 13 stories are well deserving of their place in this collection. Each one is remarkable and will leave you wanting more. I strongly recommend this collection to any horror fan, buy it today. Add it to your shelf, buy one for a friend. They will thank you for it. 5 out of 5 stars. Candace Nola

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