First off: I received an ARC of this book from Horrific Tales Publishing, in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals, and even fully staffed and lighted ones have their creepy sides: basements, creaky elevators, empty hallways at 3 AM. After reading “Dead Shift,” I may never see a hospital in quite the same light.
Arthur Lipscomb is a sick man: too sick to be alive, really, but he’s come into possession of an arcane book, and is frantically trying to complete the bloody ritual it contains. He lands in Northcote Hospital when his attempt is interrupted, and that’s when things get…interesting.
When Arthur puts a blood bag to use and performs the ritual in his hospital room, he disappears–and so does the outside world. Inside the hospital, reality bends: corpses come to life, bloodthirsty tentacles break through walls, living people mesh with stonework. And in the middle of it all, a handful of medical personnel are left trying to keep their sanity long enough to save the world…
“Dead Shift” is a solid, fast-paced mix of medical horrors, malevolent eldritch entities (*lots* of malevolent eldritch entities) and dark, sarcastic comedy. The protagonists are engaging in their determination, the story’s imagery would make the most devout Cthulhu cultist squirm, and the ending…well, I’ll let you find out for yourself.
One of the best and most visceral horror tales I’ve read in quite some time. I’m already feeling unsettled at the prospect of my next medical appointment.