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FRIGHT TRAIN features stories centered around trains. I thought perhaps the theme might get dull, but these authors built all kinds of narratives around these engineering behemoths and this volume ended up being a lot of fun!
I can't get into all the stories here but I will mention a few.
Mercedes Yardley's story THE RHYTHM OF GRIEF was so poignant and not what I expected at all. I've been a fan of her writing for a while now, so I'm not sure why I was so surprised. Just...heartbreaking and beautiful.
THE HABIT OF LONG YEARS by Charles Rutledge. I flat out ADORED this tale. I love when vampires show up where they're least expected. On steamboats in the Mississippi, (George R.R. Martin's FEVRE DREAM), and here, on trains. Bravo, Mr. Rutledge! This was a blast!
PEPERE'S HALLOWEEN TRAIN is another poignant tale-this one about a veteran, that is at least, how it started out. Tony Tremblay never lets me down.
I'm not sure what this says about me but Jeff Strand's contribution might be my favorite in the volume. DEVIL-POWERED DEATH TRAIN OF DOOM had me laughing my butt off. First I was confused, but I was glad I rolled with it. Sometimes I think that Jeff Strand is criminally underrated. He can bring the laughs to even the worst of situations. In the horror genre that's rare.
Elizabeth Massie is an author I want to read more of. I read SINEATER back in 2013 and loved it, and have been meaning to get deeper into her work ever since. (So many books, so little time!) Anyway, the aptly titled TUNNEL VISION was delightfully twisted and satisfying.
For me, the closest competition to the Jeff Strand story is Eric Nunnally's LUST FOR LIFE. Starting out with an adulterer going on a train trip as a gift from his new mistress, and ending up with him...well, I don't want to spoil it. This was a rip-roaring gore fest and I loved every minute of it. Again, I'm not sure what it says about me but I may have laughed quite a bit throughout before I sobered up at the end. I need to read more of this guy's work, STAT!
Lastly, a previously unknown-to-me author, Amanda DeWees, enters with her tale A TRAVELER BETWEEN ETERNITIES. It was just...sad. Sad and beautiful and more sad. Well done!
There are also two classic tales-one from Dickens and the other from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (I liked Dickens' story best.)
Overall, this selection of train stories surprised and pleased me with the variety presented. It's almost Halloween, my horror people, why not catch the FRIGHT TRAIN to terror town?!
*A thank you goes out to author and friend Tony Tremblay, who offered me a paperback copy in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2021
A terrific anthology for Hallowe'en or any season when a few chills are in order. From classic authors like Dickens and Doyle to modern signalmen like Golden and Tremblay, they all keep the horror train running on time. I know some of the writers so I hesitate to say which stories I like most and least, but I WILL say there is not a bad story in the bunch. Happy to recommend this one and to have it on my shelf!