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With anthologies, it is always sort of a mixed bag. With this one, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the stories stayed on theme. Great editing job from James A. Moore (pick up his collaboration with Jeff Strand if you haven’t already: The Haunted Forest Tour). This is definitely light horror, but certainly had some terrific tales in the mix. Shout out to Dan Brereton, comic book artist, who created the cover and the interior drawings. Here are my ratings out of 5 (5 being excellent):
1. ‘Trial of Abigail Pierce’ by Bracken MacLeod.
Wonderful short story about the sins of man, and how we love to punish women for their misdeeds. There was an interesting flow to the story and the words. At certain junctions, there would be words written like poetry, with simple shapes like what you would think of in terms of old fashion witchcraft, but because I was reading on a iphone some of that symbolism I think was lost. This felt more like a good tale though than a spooky Halloween story.
2. ‘I’m not gonna make it’ by Christopher Golden and Brian Keene (just that combo should not even be fair competition)
Terrific story. Blended the new with the old, and without giving anything away, gave the reader a new twist on Samhain and Halloween. I could see this story blended into the Treat R Treat anthology. Gave off that kind of vibe. Interesting combo of Keene and Golden.
3. ‘Kettle’ by Dan Brereton and James A.Moore
Great ghost story with a fun storyline. The ending was a bit problematic for me, I didn’t understand the point of introducing the grandson of Farmer Pritchard and not tying him into the conclusion.
4. ‘The Cemetery on Blackwell Road’ by James A. Moore.
Nice tie in with previous story. The main character, Eddie, made the story thoroughly enjoyable because he is an interesting kid. Wasn’t crazy about the whole wrap-up of the story though.
5. ‘Marigolds for Flesh’ by V. Castro
Very unique story! Not sure I liked it though… was a bit offbeat and left much unanswered.
6. ‘Beneath the Veil’ by John McIlveen
Excellent short story. Simple, but to the point! Really enjoyed this revenge tale
7. ‘Mr. Flexxo Discontinued’ by Sheri Sébastien-Gabriel
Good idea for a story, but the story itself just seemed like such a mishmash of past and present. Did not resonate with me.
8. ‘My Favorite Halloween Memory’ by Jeff Strand
Mr. Strand is my hero. The sarcasm is biting and he always knows how to turn a story around. Literally laughed outloud. Great dose of humour and horror.
9. ‘Stains’ by Richard Chizmar and Billy Chizmar
Excellent story! Quick read and just flows. Superb writing.
10. ‘Hannah’ by Mary SanGiovanni
Creepy and emotionally charged story. Written with a practiced hand.
11. ‘Night Boy’ by Errick Nunnally
Meh! Sweet story for kids
12. ‘No one will believe you’ by Trisha J Wooldridge
Excellent story. Creepy and unique twist on a ghost story from a girl’s woman point of view. Sometimes a haunting is not about a person, but rather about the evil things that people do. This may have been my favorite story.
13. ‘Rawhead’ by Hilary Monahan
Very disturbing and creepy folktale. What a mother will do to protect her babe(s).