Matthew R. Davis
Emergent Expressions
June 6, 2022
Reviewed by Brian “Skull” Lewis

Hello there fans of dark fiction, it’s your old pal Skull with a new book from Grey Matter Press’ Emergent Expressions Signature Line that is some powerful stuff. Before I go any further, I do want to mention that The Dark Matter of Natasha is a heavy book that deals frankly with sex, depression, self-harm, and the consequences of one’s own actions. If these topics are triggers for you, please try a different title from this press. This is an excellent book by Matthew R. Davis, but not one you’ll walk away from unscathed. That being said, let’s check in with our narrator in Lunar Bay, a place by the sea that harbors a certain darkness…

People who have a close relationship with death have a certain charisma. They seriously do not give a fuck and live each day as if it’s their last, because it might well be. Even if she’s poor, and possibly homeless, Natasha has that flair and the narrator of this story finds it irresistible. Even though she’s not really his type and he might still have a solid girlfriend who will love him with all her heart, a chance meeting sets him chasing Natasha and the darkness she carries with her. Because along with that darkness and lack of restraint are large breasts, a voluptuous body, and every high school boy’s erotic desire: Free sex with no repercussions or responsibility. Natasha even tells him, “I ain’t your fucking girlfriend, mate!” To make things clear.

But to a virgin with no real close friends, and what appears to be a dire future cleaning up a trailer park, this might be as close as he gets to love and living out the fantasy he only hears people boasting about outside pubs. So, he adopts Natasha’s religion of smoking weed and listening to Slayer, the heavier the metal the better. Goodbye to inane pop music with all its bogus platitudes and jingle-jangle guitars. It’s balls to the wall, no fear, and fuck her for glory. But as the days pass, things he hadn’t seen before come to light. Like how no one really escapes Lunar Bay, that he’s just a teenage boy playing at being a tough, but deep inside he’s too scared, and the biggie: sex isn’t love. Natasha is so broken that she’ll never be able to love anyone, and the only thing she has a true desire for is something the narrator cannot give her.

When Caitlin, the girlfriend he thought he’d lost, zooms back into the picture, it looks like it’s all blue skies and hooray the gang’s all here, yeah? But sometimes things turn out much differently than expected. Will our lad be able to patch up things with Caitlin? Does Natasha finally make her escape from Lunar Bay? How many times can “hope spring eternal’ before it’s shot down by a mean bastard called life that carries a sawed-off shotgun? Oh, and one more thing: NATSHA LOVES SLAYER.

So, what does your old pal Skull say about The Dark Matter of Natasha by Matthew R. Davis? FIVE STARS! This is another excellent book from Emergent Expressions and Grey Matter Press that meets readers on so many levels. There is a lot to be learned here by inexperienced hearts and some of us older will nod our heads because we’ve been in this place. Maybe some still are. Better to learn now before the darkness takes control. Want more info and to grab your own copy? Go to:  Want to find out more about author Matthew R. Davis? Go to: To keep getting news and reviews, follow your old pal Skull at:

Brian James Lewis is a poet, writer, and reviewer of urban poetry and dark fiction. He has written for Hellnotes, Aphotic Realm, Gallows Hill, and his own site Damaged Skull Writer and Reviewer. Brian’s most recent work is the immersive short story “Following My Destiny” about mass shooter Chance McCandless that gives readers a chilling look inside the criminal mind. Available NOW in Issue 22 of Trajectory Journal For more information message me or go to Thank you!

Matthew R. Davis


Resembling Lepus
Amanda Kool
Emergent Expressions
April 26, 2022
Reviewed by Brian “Skull” Lewis

Hey there regular readers, it’s your old pal Skull with some great news and a review of Resembling Lepus the first book of the Emergent Expressions imprint from none other than horror powerhouse Grey Matter Press. Yes! Is that cool or what? And, here’s a little secret from the Skull to you: If you go to the link below and pre-order your copy of Resembling Lepus before its release date, Grey Matter Press will give you 25% off the cover price. Now that’s something to smile about with a big, boney-toothed grin! See my previous post to learn more about Emergent Expressions and its plan to broaden readers’ options along with opening minds. Now, on with the show.

Amanda Kool, the author of Resembling Lepus, kicks things off with a murder. We arrive at the grim scene that’s oddly juxtaposed against a lovely nature preserve. In better times, it would be a wonderful place to visit, but right now it’s sullied by blood and tears. Beautiful groves of trees become potential hiding spots for the murderer, who likes to kill their victims by hand. Yikes! And who is the victim? Why a lovely female rabbit-a real one, to be exact. The detective narrating this story, police officer on scene, and the doctor are deeply shaken. Wait, why?

In our current world, we might chuckle and shake our heads at that. But in the future Kool reveals to us, it will be no laughing matter. The way things are going in the present century, there is a serious chance that our luckier descendants will live in a dystopian world. The rest of us will be long gone, riding the extinction train with many plant and animal species. Maintaining the fragile, manmade ecosystem requires many sacrifices. Privacy and personal freedom are things of the past, thanks to 24/7 monitoring by CC TV, doors, and even the furniture we sit on. There will be strict rationing of food and luxury items for working class citizens. City air will be so polluted that everyone will have to wear an air filtration device. Personal use vehicles will be a thing of the past. Everything will be recycled, including life force. Perfection in motion, right?

Well…no. During her investigations, the detective uncovers a lot of bugs in the system. One of the major ones being that just like in our current modern day lives, the wealthy have a free pass to do whatever they damn well please. It’s the actions of some of these entitled people that produce a very dangerous killer. Do they care or even consider the situation? Nah! They’re too busy getting ready to go on vacation for a whole month. Even when the detective points this out by saying “Must be nice” to the man of the house, he just replies cheerfully “Oh, it is!” So spoiled that he’s unable to view his vast, spacious home with a real lawn, trees, houseplants, and pets through the detective’s thirsty eyes.

As the bodies pile up, the detective finds an ally in the forensic doctor who performs the autopsies, runs tests, and even manages to plug them into the brain of a manmade rabbit that lives in the nature preserve along with a mix of real rabbits and ones like itself. While they learn much about the killer, the experience brings some painful realizations about how well this artificial world is really working. Is the doctor truly an ally or is she something else, a spy perhaps? The detective has figured out the mystery and wants to move forward with nabbing the murderer, but her captain wants to follow the rules that perpetuate a system that clearly isn’t doing what it claims. Our detective is a strong woman and she’s not backing down after all she’s been through, which includes nearly becoming one of the murderer’s victims. There needs to be a conclusion. But how much will it cost her?

Damaged Skull Writer and Reviewer gives Amanda Kool’s novella Resembling Lepus a FIVE STAR rating and a place on The Wall of Fame! Emergent Expressions’ debut shows readers that this is a brave new imprint producing works that make us think while keeping our eyes glued to the page. There are myriad ways to read Resembling Lepus, and with every pass through the book I saw something new. What always asserted itself was the hard reality that there’s no such thing as a perfect world that works for every inhabitant equally. Humans have tried to play God for centuries and it never works right because no one can be totally objective. Even the Greek Gods of mythology were constantly making mistakes, so what makes us think we’re any better? The murderer in Resembling Lepus reminds me a bit of Michael Crichton’s Terminal Man. Something science claims will work perfectly but doesn’t, with drastic consequences. When caught by the detective, Peter screams “We are vengeful creatures!” And the doctor shows the detective the past when rabbits were considered vermin and hunted for sport because people liked to hear them scream. So why are they protected now? What’s wrong or right? I don’t know, I’m just a book reviewer who calls himself Skull. You catch this book and read it.

For more information and to order a copy of Resembling Lepus go to:
For more information about author Amanda Kool go to:
Tell them your old pal Skull sent you!