Now that you've read those reviews and decided you like what I have got to say, lets get on with our newest book: A Book of Horrors. First and foremost, I need to mention this is an anthology and I do not usually care for those. Although I pick up quite a few, I find many short stories are disappointing, under-developed and lacking of a decent ending. So, it was with great hesitation that I began this one compiled and edited by Stephen Jones. The premise was both refreshing and original: keep it old school. Leave the modern overly bloody, unnecessary (but awesome!) gore out and focus on the root of what scares people. Sometimes it's ourselves, what awaits us when we have no light or it's the unknown or what we think we see from the corner of our eye.
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What I liked: Kicking off with Stephen Kings' story "The Little Green God of Agony," the book immediately provides an alternative to why we feel pain. A unique take as to what lies beneath our skin and claws to get out. While some of the following stories do become forgetful, the majority are an enjoyable read. The short that has stayed with me the most was "The Music of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer" by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I can not stress how much I loved this story!! I was completely entranced by the telling. Once I thought I knew what was going to happen, I was startled by many unexpected twists. A man moves his son to a new home to escape the sadness left behind by his recently deceased wife. The only thing he keeps of his beloved is her piano and he encourages his teenage son to take lessons so as not to become completely desensitized by video games. Only their new house has a story of it's own and music is more powerful than we ever knew. Other notable stories were "Ghosts with Teeth" by Peter Crowther, "The Coffin Maker's Daughter" by Angela Slatter and "Last Words" by Richard Christian Matheson.
What made me say meh: Honestly, there was only one story that I truly did not like and just a couple that did absolutely nothing for me. One in particular, and I'm not calling anyone out here, involving plastic mannequins just angered me. Perhaps it's my day job involving dressing these lifeless props that has jaded me but it could have been much better.
Who is this book for: Anyone who likes to make the hair on the back of their neck stand without an overly graphic platter of blood and guts. One story, "Near Zennor" by Elizabeth Hand, made me realized I am terribly claustrophobic and afraid of the dark. If you like primal fear, this book is perfect.
Who should wait this one out: There is not one zombie nor vampire in this book. Anyone looking for those monsters and a lot of blood should pass.
Recommended: Most definitely. It's a good break between novels. No long term commitment and the stories are clever.
Overall: A light read in the classic realm of horror. A Book of Horrors touches on a variety of fears and provides the reader with many captivating tales and delightful spine tingles. I give this anthology 3 tasty bits of brain matter and a half of a still beating heart. (That's 3.5 stars out of 5 and for those "whole star" systems, round up to 4. I'm telling you, I just loved Lindqvists story!).
Look for more reviews here in the future. While you wait, don't forget to check out ZombieWorldNews.com. Until next time when we reveal the true underdog of the post-apocalyptic world, remember to stay pretty and prepare!
**The details: A Book of Horrors
Edited by Stephen Jones
St. Martin's Griffin