Top positive review
Horror collection with something for everyone!
Reviewed in the United States on May 7, 2021
I love Janine and her writing. I've previously read and enjoyed her stories in the Kandisha Press Women of Horror Anthologies, so of course I immediately bought this collection. And yes, I loved this as well! Horror fans, you'll want this in your library, I promise.
I was familiar with a couple of these stories, having beta read 3 of them. I thought I knew what I was getting into--some nice folklore elements, supernatural creepiness, hauntings--but yeah, she goes way beyond that. This collection is a smorgasbord of horror, with something for everyone. Each tale has its own tone, unique characters, and surprise twists. Some are quiet and spooky, some are loud and bloody, and there's even comedy, but they are all entertaining as hell!
While I loved some stories more than others, which happens with every collection, I truly feel they're all good. I want to mention a couple in particular, my absolute top picks:
"Footsteps" - this was printed before, though it's my first time reading it, and it's already beloved enough by the community to be nominated for a Splatterpunk Award. Picture girls out in the wilderness, but something is drawn to them and begins hunting... I do not want to give away anything, but I loved this so much! Honestly, I'm glad another woman talked about this scenario cause I swear while on adventures in the wild, this exact fear has crossed my mind.
"When Doves Cry" - short and sweet, brilliant gothic folk horror. It reads like a spooky story recounted by a fire, some local legend or fairy tale just unsettling enough to keep you looking over your shoulder when you're far from home and vulnerable.
"Addicted to Love" - A pair of drunk partiers hook up, heading out for an unforgettable one-night stand. I kinda had a feeling about the twist, but that's a-okay. Still so fun watching the trap get set then snap shut!
"Sweet Child O Mine" - A woman wants to return for a vacation to the farm she loved as a child, relive those happy times with her daughter. And omg...I might have gasped out loud at the end. Hit a little close to home given how my sisters and I used to pass the time on family vacations... but no spoilers!
"It's a Sin" - Sam finally makes a friend, Jack. But Jack goes missing. Whatever could've happened?? Beautifully written, atmospheric, with such an empathetic main character, and what a twist... probably my favorite.
"Running With The Devil" - Did I mention how much I love folk horror and ghost stories? Read about the legend of Trent Barrow. Follow a bunch of teens on Halloween night as they go to find out if it's real. Such a good story with a banging ending!
"Paradise City" - All I will say is...so gross, but so hilarious. This story will not be for everyone, but we all need a dose of gross-out horror/humor every once in a while.
"School's Out Forever" - Remember that scary place in your hometown, the place you weren't supposed to go? Well, in this town, it's the shut-down Barwick School For Boys, and 2 girls decide to trespass. Haunted goodness awaits!
"Nobody's Fool" - This story was surprisingly touching. I really felt for Alex's parents. They love their son, but every night he has horrible nightmares which cripple him for years. But what if it's more than just a nightmare?? I would love to see this expanded into a larger story.
"They" - I often enjoy a narrator that's not particularly likeable, especially in horror. Meet Sammy - he's kind of a bonehead, but he's got guts for sure. Him and his friends dare each other to explore a creepy tunnel. Can Sammy beat the record and win his chance at a kiss? We'll see!