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Places We Fear To Tread Paperback – September 16, 2020

4.2 out of 5 stars 92 ratings

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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08JBCXJRF
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (September 16, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 347 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8686259751
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.12 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.87 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 92 ratings

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
92 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best anthologies I've read this year
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2020
A well curated and edited anthology will prove, without a shadow of a doubt, the importance of short fiction; especially in Horror. I have found dozens of my favorite authors by encountering their work first in an anthology. I especially enjoy anthologies where the stories stay in step with a prominent theme.

In PLACES WE FEAR TO TREAD edited by Brhel & Sullivan, the theme, loosely translated, is “places”. The authors seem to have all interpreted the ambiguity of the theme in their unique way which worked for me. Haunted places. Terrible places. The place where people have died or are about to die. I've put an asterisk next to my favorite stories. More than just a few stories didn't work for me so this wasn't a total home run, which very few anthologies are--especially one with so many stories but I did find several new authors to seek out and read more from so that's a success in my eyes.

Sara Tantlinger’s atmospheric poetry sets a foreboding tone for the stories to follow:

“A funnel cloud of ashy white propels copper flavors to stain my tastebuds, omens of my own blood to be spilled as I stand paralyzed on the skywalk’s edge,

And I should not have come here.”

*“The Storm on Kinzua Bridge” Sara Tantlinger

And now, just a few thoughts on each story:

*“Lost Girls Don’t Cry” Gwendolyn Kiste- It was strange, I felt like I read this story before but then I remembered I had read another short story this year about Crybaby Bridge- an Urban Legend about missing children haunting a bridge or a woman who abandoned her baby to the icy depths under the bridge and if you visit it at night, you can hear a baby crying or even see the despondent, spectral mother. Gwendolyn Kiste’s twist on this real urban legend explored the idea of “lost girls” and their impossibly alluring siren’s song to one girl who hears them. I liked it, Kiste’s seductive, poignant fingerprints all over it.

“Puppet Show” Julia August- I don’t know why, but I found this story to be slightly disjointed. I felt like I couldn’t find my bearings or the author’s lead.

*“The Wrong Turn” Angela Sylvaine- Intensifying, creeping dread made me feel like I was trapped in the makings of an Urban Legend while it was happening to the protagonist in real-time. Very unsettling. I would look for more by this author.

*“The Deer God” Wendy N. Wagner- An emotional tale of parental sacrifice. The pain/helplessness of going through the trial of unexplained mental health issues of a child. A father turns to unconventional methods to help his son. A cruel ending. I liked it! My first engagement with Wendy Wagner’s work and I’m eager for more.

*“Here in this Place is a Means to an End” Chad Lutzke- In classic Lutzke fashion, a character-driven story about a woman who has met her friend for their usual jog. The narrative is inside the protagonist’s head as she sorts through some newly realized feelings about the woman running alongside her. Even though I picked up on some breadcrumbs that ultimately made my brain consider what the outcome was going to be, it still packed a punch. I always enjoy Lutzke’s storytelling.

*“Bare Bones” Jude Reid-I enjoyed the setting and tone of this story. It stands apart from all the others. I felt like the author took their time establishing visuals and atmosphere with little details that collectively make a very clear picture in the reader’s mind. I will look for more by this author.

“The Sand Knows” Zach Shephard-This was an absorbing story because I almost always love child protagonists but I have to admit, I got distracted by all the cuss words in such a short story. The dialog was littered with it and while I’m not offended by it at all, it was distracting. I live in WA and have visited an abandoned bunker on a beach at a campground in Port Townsend so this was an especially visual read for me.

*“Hopscotch For Keeps” Hailey Piper- Quite possibly my favorite story. I love child protagonists in Horror. This one is about ‘the hopscotch kid’, a strange girl in the neighborhood playing a game all by herself. Some of the area kids come out to join her. Things do NOT go well. This was an absolute joy to read. A memorable ending.

*“This is Home” Laurel Hightower- I have grown to recognize Laurel Hightower’s unique storytelling voice. Reading her stories is beginning to feel like home. I loved this haunting, ghost story. It’s perfectly splendid in every way.

*“Black Fatima” Muhammed Awal Ahmed- The tone of this story is bleak; pressing. The tale of Black Fatima, possessed by a Djinn. The ending was startling; shocking. I looked up the author immediately to see if there were more stories or books out there. I’d like to learn more.

“Cellophane” Michael J. Moore- A prank goes horribly wrong and one bad decision gives birth to another. This was hard to read-people just behaving irrationally and then suffering through the terrible consequences. I felt like so much happened in just a few pages. Not sure if it works but it was entertaining.

*“Cold-Blooded Old Times” J. A. W. McCarthy- My favorite subgenre of Horror is, “Coming-of-age” and it’s uncanny how many of those stories involve swimming in lakes and first kisses. This is one of those and I enjoyed every minute of it. A nostalgic tone with a sense of underlying dread and the potential for something supernatural. I loved it.

*“Laughter in the Night” Sonora Taylor- This was an interesting mix of several recognizable horror tropes all rolled into one, succinct short story. I thought the climax of the story was intense and scary-the descriptions of what was happening outside the school were perfectly cinematic. Well played.

*“Bring Out Your Dead” Beverley Lee-This story had an age-old, careworn, timelessness about it. I felt like I could be reading something from a Charles Dickens ghost story collection. Lee’s rich prose always amazes me. Her use of descriptive words placing the reader right smack in the center of the story with vivid details. Perfectly splendid! The ending gave me goosebumps.

“The Swim Instructor” Eddie Generous- This was one of the more compelling stories at first. I was immediately hooked by the first page. Generous entices the reader into the private life of a newly divorced Meredith as she fantasizes about a tropical getaway and a young scuba instructor but can’t swim. She decides to take some private swim lessons from a creepy guy at her gym and things become...dangerous. I actually didn’t like the direction this one ended up going in-the storyline went from a cautionary, plausible story to somewhat of a satire. Even the last line read like a punchline. It was confusing to shift gears like that.

“Ho‘okaulike” Michelle Mellon- I love Eco-Horror. Plants, especially unidentifiable ones that are potentially hostile, are always a treat! I love the way this tale unfolded right up to the end. Nice, natural build of suspense.

“The Sad Museum” Alex Payne- I felt a little disoriented in my reading experience. I admit to reading it twice-the first time was at night and I thought maybe my brain was being lazy. Then I read it during the day and my experience was the same, it was difficult to track. A little experimental/transgressive and I’m just not the target audience I’m afraid.

*“Teke Teke Teke” Michael David Wilson- This one scared me! Michael David Wilson does this thing where he distracts the reader with all this casual dialog about mundane things and then he drops something scary right in your lap. In this case, a man is trying to eat his burger in a hotel room that is rumored to be haunted by something that will kill you. Lighthearted and almost funny until, it’s not.

“One Badly Hit Ball” John Leahy- I’ll admit, I didn’t finish this one. It’s just that I loathe golf. So it’s my fault, nothing about the writing.

*“The Wet Dream” Jill Girardi- Oh man! This one starts off with such a bang. I was immediately uncomfortable with everything. Uncle Tony! Gah! What a douche. I loved the awkward tension between the girls; very authentic. This tale is full of subtle meaning and intentions floating just below the surface. I enjoyed it.

*“The Hound of Brackettville” Bev Vincent-I was so excited this was a creature-feature! With a recognizable creature. I enjoyed how intentionally Vincent unraveled this story. It was utterly captivating. This stranger in town talking to a pretty waitress gets involved in something...unreal. I liked it.

*“Bussell’s Bog” Cameron Ulam- I get so excited when a story starts off this rich! Instant horror gratification. This one has colorful language, thick fog, the threat of alligators, and some hilarious dialog. This was one of the more fun, raucous stories in the whole lot. A great example of the sub-genre

*“The Bone Man of Sanatorium Lake” Andrew Cull- So this story appealed to me in the same way I love reading about unexplained phenomena happening to hikers/campers in State Parks. Like X-Files. This has a very “The truth is out there” vibe that I loved. Can I just mention, Andy Cull never disappoints.

*“Devil’s Elbow” C. W. Briar- An intense coming-of-age tale with a strong sense of impending danger. I loved the details in the writing that made pictures in my mind, "His skin was so tan that it reminded me of my sister's bronzed baby shoes." That description is so specific, it lit up my mental images instantly. This story is full of these details and most likely why this is one of the best stories in the anthology. I will be looking for more C. W. Briar stories.

“Women of the Mere” Jessica Ann York-- What a way for the collection to go out but with a creepy old lady story! I got really invested in the story but I feel like it ended so abruptly. I definitely wanted more from this one--it was just a little underdeveloped for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ...and chain smoking deities...
Reviewed in Canada on April 28, 2021
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