Reviewed by David Brzeski
OK, this is “A Charitable Anthology”. All proceeds will be donated to amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, which is a great cause that I would hope we all would want to support.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s forget it. For the purposes of this review, this is just another horror anthology and I’m going to judge it on that basis alone.
It’s not a small collection. There are thirty-two stories in all and twenty-one of those are original to this collection. One of them is the author’s first published work. The eleven reprints are pretty rare material, by popular horror writers such as Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, Ray Garton, F. Paul Wilson and Jack Ketchum. You’d be challenged to acquire copies of the original appearances of these stories now.
There isn’t a turkey amongst them! Trust me, I searched. Granted, there are some stories I didn’t like as much as others, but the truth is (and I’m not saying this just because it’s for a good cause remember) this is the highest quality collection of horror short stories I can remember reading for a very long time.
The anthology covers all sorts of horrors. There are ghosts, demons, werewolves and those vilest monsters of all- human beings. There are even zombies, but even these most overused of horrors are handled with remarkable flair and originality. There are passing nods to King, Lovecraft and Rod Serling, alongside traditional monsters and science fiction horrors.
There just isn’t the room to comment on the individual stories in this review, but I’ve singled out a few for special mention.
Nate Southard’s ‘Mouth’, and Brad C. Hodson’s ‘The Other Patrick’ are both on my running shortlist of stories to consider when the time for award nominations for stories published in 2012 comes around. Joe McKinney’s story, ‘Sky of Brass, Land of Steel’ only misses that list due to it being one of the rare reprints in the collection, as does ‘Shiva, Open Your Eye’, by Laird Barron. There are many others that came very close, but these were my favourites. There are, I suspect, other stories that will appear on other readers’ best of 2012 list.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that I have absolutely no doubt that the book itself is going to win awards. It’s simply that good!
So, from the viewpoint of quality alone, if you only buy one horror anthology this year, you should seriously consider grabbing this one. When you add to that the fact that it’s for such a worthy cause, then how can you not buy it?
At the time of writing, Horror For Good is only available from to buy from CreateSpace, but it will be available on Amazon, in both paperback and ebook formats, very soon.