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Friday, December 2, 2016

Horror Review: All In Fear edited by May Peterson

The introduction of All In Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales promises a "compilation of chilling horror stories from six of the top names in queer romance." While I felt it missed the mark on the terrifying side, and wasn't quite as titillating as I expected, there were still some exceptionally strong stories here that make it a worthy read.

'Company' by Roan Parrish was a creepy little tale, featuring a lonely teenager, his first real love, and a comic book obsession. While you never know whether Michel is a real threat or just a figment of Nick's imagination, Nathaniel's accidents do seems to suggest the former.

'Love Me True' by Kris Ripper was one of those stories where I saw the big twist coming very early on, but it does deliver on the titillation, and it had a very kinky Hitchcock type feel to it.

'The Price of Meat' by KJ Charles was probably the best written story in the collection, and the most engaging. It's period setting captured me from the start, with some great set pieces and a few fantastic characters. It also has the best payoff of all the stories.

'His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl' by Steve Berman was an interesting story with some Twilight Zone style promise, but it just felt too . . . well, thin for my tastes. The whole frat hazing didn't help (I've never understood that culture of bullying and torment), but I really expected more of a payoff from that mysterious flask.

'Legion: A Love Story' by Avon Gale was definitely the weirdest story here, told through journal entries, emails, browser histories, and voice recordings of a lone Marine, charged with observing a strange prisoner. The slow, gradual seduction of evil was very well done, and the ending was nicely creepy.

'Beauties' by J.A. Rock was a fascinating study of human behaviour, of nature versus nurture, and of the potential in artificial intelligence. It's a dark, sci-fi mystery, with a lot of tension, questions, and suggestions throughout. This one had twists aplenty, including a final scene that tops everything else in the collection.

More creepy and surreal than terrifying, and more suggestive than titillating, All In Fear was still a strong collection of well-told stories.

ebook, 245 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Open Ink Press

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

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