#Horror Review: A Trilogy of Terror from Eric J. Guignard, Doug Murano, and Simon Dewar

With few rare exceptions, I am not one to binge short story collections. Instead, I'll linger over them, reading a story here or there, cherry picking favorite authors, and making notes along the way. It means I often get distracted by other titles, especially if I've hit a soft patch of stories, and I often have more than one anthology on the go. That's just how my mind works.

Fortunately, I do make notes . . . scattered across my Kobo, my phone, my laptop, and the scraps of paper on my desk . . . so it's just a matter of collating those notes and taking the time to weave them into a review. That brings me to my final anthology wrap-up of the year, showcasing not one, not two, but three collections of horror for your seasonal reading pleasure.

Because, really, is there anything more frightening than holidays with the family?

A World of Horror, edited by Eric J. Guignard, is the longest lingering collection on the review shelves, an anthology I started exploring at the tail end of the summer. It was an entirely new-to-me slate of authors, which is probably why I lingered over it for so long. While there are a handful of Western stories - Canada, USA, England, Australia - the others are from South Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Japan, Philippines, and more. A truly global slate of horror.

That diversity was something of a challenge for me. Some of the stories were just too different from what I am used to, from what I look for in horror, that I struggled to find my way into them. Highlights for me included the weird horror of ON A WOODEN PLATE, ON A WINTER’S NIGHT
David Nickle and THE MAN AT TABLE NINE by Ray Cluley; the body horror of THE SECRET LIFE OF THE UNCLAIMED by Suyi Davies Okungbowa; the creepy road trip horror of SICK CATS IN SMALL SPACES by Kaaron Warren; and HONEY by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, a story of ghosts and memories.

ebook, 332 pages
Published September 10th 2018 by Dark Moon Books

Welcome to the Show, edited by Doug Murano, is next on the review shelf, a collection that I was drawn to because of authors like Brian Keene, John Skipp, Jonathan Janz, and Jeff Strand. It's an unusual collection, in that it's based around a fictional concert hall known as The Shantyman, a building that connects the stories and (pardon the pun) sets the stage for the horror.

It's an uneven collection, perhaps because I'm just not that interested in the stories behind the music, but there were definitely some winners. Jonathan Janz brings a tale of atmospheric horror to the stage with Night and Day and in Between; Glenn Rolfe has some dark fun with a Ouija board in Master of Beyond; Matt Hayward explores a deal with the Devin in Dark Stage; Jeff Strand rocks the house with some Weird Al themed horror in Parody; Brian Keene goes morbidly humorous in Running Free; and Mary SanGiovanni closes out the set with a post-apocalyptic encore in We Sang in Darkness.

Kindle Edition, 220 pages
Published August 3rd 2018 by Crystal Lake Publishing

Suspended in Dusk II, edited by Simon Dewar, closes out this year's slate of horror anthologies with an interesting mix of new-to-me authors and genre heavyweights like Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, Christopher Golden, and more. Here, the running theme is that of dusk, the time between times . . . the time between the light and the dark . . . the grey area . . . the tipping point.

Overall, I'd say this was an average collection with a few above average stories. While there were a small handful that didn't really work for me, there was a bigger handful that wowed me. Love is a Cavity I Can’t Stop Touching by Stephen Graham Jones was a creepy tale of young love and cannibalism; There’s No Light Between Floors by Paul Tremblay was a monstrous tale of apocalyptic horror, easily my favorite; That Damned Cat by Nerine Dorman was the lone bright spot in the collection, a darkly humorous tale of demon summoning; Another World by Ramsey Campbell was another fantastic tale of apocalyptic horror; Mother of Shadows by Benjamin Knox was a powerful tale of a mother's love . . . and her secrets; while Wants and Needs by Paul Michael Anderson was a sad tale of survival that really resonated with me.

Paperback, 280 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Grey Matter Press

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