ARC Review: Dismal Dreams by Red Lagoe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An anthology that is sure to make your blood curdle.

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on!

Premise (from Goodreads)

Red Lagoe, author of Lucid Screams, brings us her follow up collection of horror shorts, Dismal Dreams, with a foreword by Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Devil’s Dreamland, Sara Tantlinger.

Every day is steeped in horror. An inexplicable force deep in the forest. A serpent lurking in the shadows. Or the sinister thoughts forged in the deepest abyss of a tortured mind.

Lagoe offers a gamut of horrific experiences artfully woven into thirteen stories. Explore the darkness within a selfish heart, face death among ghosts, and roar into the snarling maw of a beast. Horror can be empowering if we can survive our most dismal dreams.

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review (No Spoilers)

Thank you so much to the author for providing me with a free physical ARC in exchange for an honest review! The personalization in the book and the beautiful card really made my day!

Dismal Dreams is a horror anthology consisting of 13 (ehehe) short stories. I’ve never read a horror anthology before (aside from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when I was a kid and that book terrified the heck out of me) so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I mostly expected there to be a lot of creepy ghosts and haunted houses, but the book actually puts much more emphasis on the horrors that real life humans are capable of, which was a nice twist.

Throughout the book we experience basically every human-designed horror that you could think of: murder, kidnapping, greed, jealousy, rape, the whole lot. While there were a few stories with supernatural elements, the initial conflict was basically always human-caused. And though I was expecting some super scary ghost stories and was a bit disappointed (though honestly relieved because I’m a big baby), I think Red Lagoe’s Dismal Dreams will pack a much more powerful punch than any ghost story ever could. It’s very easy for people to dismiss stories with ghosts/zombies/vampires/etc. as pure fiction and totally preposterous, but when we’re confronted with the dark aspects of our very own human nature, there’s no real escape from that. I think that will make all the difference.

Dismal Dreams comes out on June 25, 2021! If you’d like to pre-order it, you can do so from your favorite bookstore or from Amazon by clicking here (affiliate link).

I rated this book an overall 4 stars, but if you’d like to see my rating by short story, you can continue below.

Rating by Story
  • Dismal Dreams (2.5)
  • The Creation of Man (3)
  • Shutter Stop (4.5)
  • Flicker (3.75)
  • A Cold Day in Hell (4)
  • Valentine’s Day (4)
  • Prospect Nowhere (4)
  • One Year Anniversary (3)
  • To the Ground (4.5)
  • Never Have I Ever (3)
  • Doll House (3.5)
  • The Terminator Line (4)
  • Burden’s Beast (3.5)

Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

One thought on “ARC Review: Dismal Dreams by Red Lagoe

  1. Ooh I definitely think that the human element is far more frightening than putting monsters into it. Great review – I’m definitely too much of a big baby to be able to go for horror mind you.

    Liked by 1 person

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