Around the Dark Dial by J.D. Sanderson

I received this ARC from the author in exchange for a honest review. Around the Dark Dial is a collection of short stories containing elements of sci-fi, mystery, and thrillers. This was just the novel I needed to recharge my brain before continuing on with my big epic novels coming down the road. 2020 has affected us all in devastating ways including the publishing industry. The publisher for this book shut down and the author has taken it upon himself to relaunch his book with a second edition. I am honored to review this book and I will do everything I can to help indie authors achieve their goals, even if it is just one review at a time!

Around the Dark Dial consists of 11 short stories with each one flowing seamlessly into the next. The pacing of each story was excellent and I never got the feeling of being annoyed or sad that a story ended. I would like to quote the author and how he describes his work. “Take a trip around the dark dial with eleven original and thought-provoking short stories that invoke the wonder and mystery of old-time radio dramas. Forget all that you know about modern sci-fi. In Around the Dark Dial, it’s all about the unexpected.” I was floored at the creativity, care, and spooky moments J.D. Sanderson brings to the page and it only made me eager for the next installment.

I will briefly discuss my two favorite short stories of the 11 and they so happen to be the first and second stories on the book. The first story, Hello there, revolves around a man named Gerren entering a bio-dome type structure that has manifested out of the blue. He is tasked with taking samples and photographs of the environment until something catches his eye that only he can see. The thriller feeling I got reading this story was the equivalent of me reading a great mystery novel even if it was short lived. The second story, Caller four, revolves around a late night talk show host who runs a show where calls dial in to discuss spooky and unexplainable events. When one call dials in to discuss her weird experience, the host starts to hear a voice in his head to stop the interview and change topics. At first the host thinks it is his manager, but he soon discovers he may be hearing voices in his head. Are they friendly? You will have to read and find out!

There is an overlap in tone throughout the 11 stories and some of the stories have direct sequels in what the author has called his “hidden trilogy”. My mom always told me that the proof is in the pudding and J.D. Sanderson’s writing is all the proof I need to keep his novels on my radar for the foreseeable future! The holiday season may be behind us but if you have just one goal for the new year, let it be to support more indie authors. This novel is just over 200 pages and I finished it in no time at all. Give Around the Dark Dial a go and you will have a smashing time even if you have to keep the lights on to do it!


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