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Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories Kindle Edition
A disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness.
From the Bram Stoker Award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing and the editing duo who brought you the critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories.
Terror becomes transcendence.
Regret gives way to rebirth.
Fifteen short stories and one poem span nearly every twisted corner of the horror and dark fiction genres:
- A woman experiences an emotional reckoning inside a haunted house.
- A father sees his daughter rescued after a cold case is solved, only to learn the tragic limits of his love.
- A man awakens a vengeful spirit and learns the terrible price of settling scores.
- A boy comes of age into awareness of a secret universe of Lovecraftian scale.
- A young woman confronts the deathly price of existence inside a German concentration camp during the Holocaust.
- And much, much more…
Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents:
Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia. Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward.
With a foreword from Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the Authors:
So what makes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories so special?
John F.D. Taff: Usually, horror stories tell us the dark side of dark stories, the bad stuff that happens during bad times. It's expected that there will be horrors in the kinds of stories horror generally tells. But Gutted explores the other side of things, the darkness that's there in moments you might not otherwise expect; those moments that touch our hearts or resonate more strongly with our other emotions. It's that beauty—that unexpected emotional resonance that can reside comfortably, side by side with fear, in a good horror story—that separates the stories in Gutted and makes them quite unique.
Tell us more about your story.
Ramsey Campbell: Occasionally I try to repay my debt to specific writers. Midnight Sun was my attempt to scale the awesome peak of Algernon Blackwood’s achievement, while The Darkest Part of the Woods clambered the Lovecraftian. “The Place of Revelation” goes for another giant of the field. If anybody guesses which one, I’ll count the tale some kind of a success. The naïve voice can be a highly effective way to tell a tale of terror, creating a tension between what’s told and how.
John F.D. Taff: My story is a distillation of my childhood. I grew up in the '70s, and I wanted to capture that time period as much as anything else. I also wanted to explore one moment during my childhood, when I got my first 10-speed bike—the freedom that bought a kid like me. It opened so many doors, the ability to go out on my own, far beyond my neighborhood. To explore the world, to discover new things. And then, of course, I wanted to explore the dark side of that, the dangers that same key also unlocked. It all boiled down, at least to me while writing it, to a central idea, that question of "How do you let go of things?"
Gutted eBook categories:
- Horror Anthologies
- Genre Fiction
- Short story anthologies
- Urban Fantasy
- Horror Short stories
- Disturbing psychological horror
From the Publisher
Our anthologies include the likes of Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Josh Malerman, Damien Angelica Walters, Orrin Grey , Brian Keene, Graham Masterton , Kathe Koja, Gemma Files, Lee Murray, Christopher Golden, Kevin J. Anderson, Jonathan Maberry, Gary A. Braunbeck, Rick Hautala, Tim Curran, Elizabeth Massie, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Mercedes M. Yardley, Kevin Lucia, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Jonathan Janz, Glenn Rolfe, Jeff Strand, Rachel Autumn Deering, Patrick Lacey, Bev Vincent, John Palisano, Tim Waggoner, Lisa Morton, Rena Mason, Tim Lebbon, Aaron Dries, Richard Chizmar, Mark Allan Gunnells, Kenneth W. Cain, Kealan Patrick Burke, Gene O'Neill, Maria Alexander, Michael Bailey, Lucy A. Snyder, Jason Sizemore, Laird Barron, S.P. Miskowski, Gwendolyn Kiste, Seanan McGuire, Richard Thomas, Taylor Grant, Armand Rosamilia, Todd Keisling, John Boden, Chad Lutzke, Gary McMahon, Jasper Bark, Jeremy C. Shipp, John Claude Smith, Scott Nicholson, William Meikle, and many more.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "We've grown accustomed to horror that pulls us into the depths and leaves us there, but this compilation shows that even at the worst times, humans instinctively cling to any ray of hope they can find. While it may not be the hope they thought they were looking for, sometimes, it's still enough."—Bleeding Cool
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Enough big-hitters to propel this collection to the top of any horror enthusiast's to-read list."—This is Horror
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Have you ever been punched in the stomach? You know, just hit so hard that it knocks the wind out of you and all you can do is sit there and try to catch a breath. That's how I felt after reading this book."—Horror Novel Reviews
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "I would say this collection is appropriately named and deserves to earn each and every author worldwide acclaim. Yes, it's that good."—Mass Movement magazine
"It's a book for readers who love language as much as story, who understand that horror can be beautiful, ecstatic and revelatory as well as down-right scary."—James Everington
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Up-and-coming writers such as Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, and Maria Alexander deliver the goods alongside Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, and other established writers. If you only buy one collection of stories this year, this should be it."—JG Faherty, multi-award nominated author of The Cure, The Burning Time, and Ghosts of Coronado Bay.
- ASIN : B01HALT6YW
- Publisher : Crystal Lake Publishing (June 24, 2016)
- Publication date : June 24, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 3604 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 318 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #247,942 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2019
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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Stephanie M. Wytovich — “The Morning After Was Filled with Bone”
Read this poem and then look at the cover again, this is a poem of empowerment. It encompasses the body of the book and is a great introduction to the stories within.
Brian Kirk — “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave”
A child abducted, and as hope begins to wane of ever seeing her again the unimaginable happens… she is found. But, can things ever go back to what they were? A father’s love is pushed to the limits.
Lisa Mannetti — “Arbeit Macht Frei”
It is said, ‘All’s fair in love or war’. But, what does that really mean, and how far should one go?
Neil Gaiman — “The Problem of Susan”
Survivor’s guilt, what a cross to bear. Or is it remorse? ‘Why not me?’ one may ask.
Christopher Coake — “Dominion”
I’ve heard it said that the soul will linger at the site of death until it can find a resolution. A group of kids ready to party are soon to find out whether this is true.
Mercedes M. Yardley — “Water Thy Bones”
Love comes in many strange forms, it’s just a matter of finding someone who is willing to accept what one willingly has to offer.
Paul Tremblay — “A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken”
This is a splendid interactive story where you, Dear Reader… are able to choose your path through the chapters. The outcome is up to you!
Damien Angelica Walters — “On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes”
Such a sad story of choices. How can one be sure which is the correct answer, until the choice has already been made?
Richard Thomas — “Repent”
When one’s soul has been blackened so darkly can there be any room for atonement?
Clive Barker — “Coming to Grief”
The grieving process comes in many forms, if one is not careful it has a way of swallowing you whole.
John F.D. Taff — “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare”
Oh my, I wanted to cry. How could a birthday gift go so terribly wrong?
Amanda Gowin — “Cellar’s Dog”
As in Androcles and the Lion, we find good deeds are rewarded when Laticia summons the courage to rescue a dog.
Kevin Lucia — “When We All Meet at the Ofrenda”
Ah, Day of the Dead… it’s the one day every year that we can visit with our loved ones long gone. Whitey has a date and a promise he aims to keep.
Maria Alexander — “Hey, Little Sister”
A brother’s love for his little sister can be a powerful thing. So powerful in fact, that it can raise the dead!
Josh Malerman — “The One You Live With”
Does anyone truly know who we are? Or, better yet, do you truly know who you are?
Ramsey Campbell — “The Place of Revelation”
To tell a story you must first own it. Uncle Lucian has been telling young Colin stories for years, now it's Colin's turn to tell his story.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Luke Spooner. His beautifully done artwork graces the pages of this fine book. Or, Crystal Lake Publishing for bringing this book our way! Truly one of the best anthologies I have ever read.
"Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave" by Brian Kirk is heartbreaking. In this day and age where everyone (even those who don't have children) are armchair generals in regards to parenting, this story is a super painful reminder that love and parenting is never easy and that you can never judge what someone chooses to do until you have placed yourself in their shoes.
"Water Thy Bones" by Mercedes M. Yardley explored a different kind of love, a dark love, an infatuation with what a person is within; a love for their bones. Beautifully written and fascinating, if not just a bit taboo.
"Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare" by John F.D. Taff quite literally broke my heart. The love and devotion good parents have for their children, and the desire of a child to branch out and explore the world he lives in could not have a more painful ending than this. My childhood came screaming back at me with all those small pleasures that meant so much as a child and it made me thankful that none of my adventures took me away from my parents.
"Hey, Little Sister" by Maria Alexander was a quick exploration into the intoxicating emotion of revenge that typically leaves us more than a little dissatisfied and often more broken than we originally were.
This book has something for every genre of horror-fan, or even for those who realize that life itself can be a horror, but still possesses something darkly beautiful as well.
I gave this 4 stars since there is a chapter I found to be distracting due to missing punctuation, but that's only me.
The stories are:
* The Morning After Was Filed With Bone by Stephanie M. Wytovich
* Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave by Brian Kirk
* Arbeit Macht Frei by Lisa Mannetti
* The Problem of Susan by Neil Gaimen
* Dominion by Christopher Coake ( I had a real problem reading this story, some punctuation is missing and I found it very distracting)
* Water Thy Bones by Mercedes M. Yardley
* A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken by Paul Trembly ( this was a cool book to read, it had links to take you to different parts of the house, so you had a choice where to go).
* On the Other Sid of the Door, Everything Changes by Damien Angelica Walters
* Repent by Richard Thomas
* Coming to Grief by Clive Barker
* Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare
* Cellars Dog by Amanda Gowin
* When we All Meet at the Ofrenda by Kevin Lucia
* Hey, Little Sister by Maria Alexander
* The One You live With by Josh Malerman
* The Place of Revelation by Ramsey Campbell
Each story is very different, unique and twisted, lol. I enjoyed the short stories since it gave me a spot in which I could put it down, lol. I enjoyed this book but personally, it did not thrill me. I will finish it and may check out some of the other authors books at a later date. As with other books of this type thee were stories that I enjoyed and some not as much as others, but judge for yourselves.
For bonus material be sure to start from the cover and go thru.
I would recommend for those that enjoy twisted stories. I personally would not consider this as horror but maybe thriller.
Top reviews from other countries
I totally connected with what Richard Chizmar said in the foreword regarding the reasons people write horror. When asked, "Wouldn't you rather sit down and write about something happy and filled with golden rays of sunshine?" he responds, "What makes you think I have a choice?"
Each and every story in the collection not only fits the theme but is of very high quality. Of course I had my favorites, I always do when reading an anthology. Stories by writers such as Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman will never disappoint, but what I loved about this anthology, and in fact almost every anthology I read, is that I get the opportunity to discover authors I haven't read before. Authors I'd heard of, but not read. Out of those, my favorites were:
Stephanie Wytovich's opening poem, The Morning After was Filled With Bone (Such powerful imagery!)
Brian Kirk's Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave (Such a tragic ending!)
Mercedes Yardley's Water Thy Bones (Poetic imagery which I loved! Great rhythm, too. Fitted the brief to perfection.)
John F.D. Taff's Card for his Spokes, Coins for his Fare (A pacy, adrenaline ride of a read with heartfelt emotion.)
Amanda Gowin's Cellar's Dog (Strong voice, packs a punch.)
Having said that, every single story earns its place, and then some! I'm sure others will have their favorites.
But, in the selection of stories and in the writing of them, this volume shows a haunting quality, a mesmerising style. The beauty lies not so much in the eye of the beholder as in the ear of the reader as elegant sentences and paragraphs wrap themselves around horrific cores. A juxtaposition reflected in the stylish cover of flowers sprouting from a skeleton.
Time prevents me from reviewing all the stories and, to be fair, some worked for me better than others. But below I have written more about my five top picks. Other readers may find different favourites, such is the nature of anthologies - and indeed of readers!
Water My Bones by Mercedes M Yardley
Those used to Miss Murder's writing will be familiar with the challenge she offers to conventions of victim and villain. This story is again about two people, in some ways it reminds me of her piece Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu. Again two damaged people meet, drawn into each other's gravity like a binary star system, swirling closer the one feeding off the other, the other more or less willingly giving. Nikilie is a woman much abused by those around her and - in turn - she abuses herself, fresh wounds in her flesh to match each cut the world makes in her psyche. But then she meets Michael and everything changes. He sees an inner beauty she did not know she had. "That night she took a razorblade to her inner thigh, but the cuts were heartless and shallow."
Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave by Brian Kirk
It is every parent's nightmare to lose a child to abduction, but what if the child is returned years later and the restoration of what was lost is a still greater nightmare. Kirk paints a vivid picture of a father reunited with a daughter abducted and abused long ago. It has echoes of all the real life abduction stories we have seen in the news, in some ways it reminds me of the Fritzl story in Austria. How can those freed return to a normal life, more importantly how can they find happiness after an experience that has changed and damaged them. The father in Brian Kirk's story will make many sacrifices to restore his daughter's happiness but the reader may ask - could they do as much?
On The Other Side of the Door Everything Changes by Damien Angelica Walters
Is it an accident that parenthood and horror are so akin? That having a child opens up a whole new vista of ways in which to fear the dangers of the world? Or is it that, being a parent myself, this story and others like it strike a resonant note more so than others. I also work in education, where everyday we have to confront another exploitation of new technology in old evils. Cyber bullying, the risks children are exposed to in the privacy of their own bedrooms, a world away from my own childhood. I've also relatively recently moved house and job dragging children in the vulnerable teenage years from their embryonic circle of friends. For my children it has worked out well, but those experiences and anxieties made this story sing for me. A two handed tale of child and mother, the one displaced, sullen, angry brooding with a horror she dare not share. The other, anxious - like all parents of teenage children finding that every word is the wrong word and so they stay on opposite sides of the same door trapped in a failure of communication. Beautifully written, horrifically real.
Coming to Grief by Clive Barker
As a child when I walked home from school (a school I shared with Nigel Farage - but that's an entirely different horror story) there was a lane I had to walk up Low Cross Wood Lane, it had a kink in it - a sort of chicane - which made the top half invisible from the bottom. As a small school boy I always had a fear of what might lie unseen around that corner. Would it be kids from the other local school waiting to beat me up - in truth I was only hit once there - but I try to remember the vulnerability of that fear when imagining what it is like to be a woman in today's world, a vulnerability that grown men cannot so easily empathise with.
There is much more in cleverness in the writing of Barker's tale than the ingeniously punning title. Miriam has returned home to tidy up the affairs of her estranged and recently deceased mother. The antagonist in this story is the Bogey-Walk a curving lane along the edge of an old quarry that haunted her youth and still has the power to terrorise the older successful woman that the child has begun. Besides the obvious resonance with that not-forgotten Dulwich lane - this story appealed because of the exquisite writing as Miriam picks through the bones of her relationship with her mother, rekindles an old friendship, and all the while orbits the old fears of the Bogey-walk in ever decreasing circles.
A Haunted House is a Wheel upon Which some are Broken by Paul Tremblay
Skilful evocative writing abounds throughout the anthology along with some innovative takes on the horror genre. Most innovative perhaps is Paul Tremblay's Haunted House story which took me back to a childhood of Steve Jackson scripted adventure books (anybody remember the Wizard of Firetop Mountain?) where after each page the reader had a choice to make and - depending on that choice - would turn to a different page to advance the story in a different direction. The miracle of embedded links in ebooks makes that all so much easier and the reader gets to choose how far and which route they take through a Tremblay's tale of a woman revisiting a house that scarred her childhood and still plagues her dreams
Favourites include 'On The Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes' by Damien Angelica Walters and 'Cards For His Spokes, Coins For His Fare' by John F.D. Taff. These two stories were really moving. Brian Kirk's 'Picking Splinters From A Sex Slave', Mercedes M. Yardley's 'Water Thy Bones', and 'Repent' by Richard Thomas were notably dark tales. But I enjoyed every single story.
And, given the context of the story and the style in which it is written, 'Hey, Little Sister' by Maria Alexander may have the best last line ever! But I won't spoil it for you. Just check it out! You won't be disappointed.