Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
It’s always a pleasure to find a horror anthology whose authors are not the usual suspects, famous as they may be, but a cluster of less known, comparatively new writers . Who knows, among them, perhaps, is hidden a new, extraordinary talent, the new King, Campbell and such.
Thus, the present book, the second volume in a series from Blood Bound Books, promised to be a treat and, to a certain extent, does fulfill that promise.
Mind you, the book assembles twenty-seven stories, therefore it would be naïve to expect constant, top quality from all of them. There is a fair amount of ordinary, run-of-the-mill material, of implausible plots and sloppy writing, but ,thanks god, there is also a bunch of excellent stories, so much so that I’m very sorry to have missed the first volume.
Take , for example, “Habemus Papam” by Desmond Warzel, a short, iconoclastic piece revealing the hidden, dark side of the conclave committed to elect the new Pope or “The Boy in the Well” by Danny Rhodes, an atmospheric tale graced by a solid storytelling, where a childhood incident casts is sinister shadow on a future tragedy. Two excellent stories indeed.
In “Until I Come Again” Justin Gustainis provides a quite original explanation of what really put an end to the Jack the Ripper killings, while in the well crafted “Darkly Dreaming in Black Waters” Jason Andrew sets Lovecraftian horrors on a nazi ship during WW2.
The creepy “A Mother’s Love” by John Peters depicts a mother ready to do anything to retrieve her lost son and the vivid “One For the Road” by Jason V Brock describes how a highway rest area becomes the site of a frightening nightmare.
John Morgan’s “The Prophet” is an allusive, unsettling tale trying to discover what’s awaiting us after death, while Bob Macumber’s “A Cat Named Mittens” , although always on the verge of getting preposterous, does exude pure horror and manages to keep the reader nailed to the chair.
A special mention is due to “All Cry” by Patricia Russo, , a tense, superb story where a happy family has to face an unexpected, terrible ordeal.
In conclusion, various , good new authors to watch and an interesting imprint to which we’d better keep an eye on in the future.