Monday, May 07, 2012

Shivers edited by Richard Chizmar

(pb; 2002: horror anthology)

Overall review:

Good horror anthology, worth owning. There's not a stinker in the bunch, though Kelly Laymon's "Throwing Caution to the Wind," while providing the anthology with an element of whimsical diversity, doesn't belong in this collection.

Standout stories:

1.) "Fodder" - Brian Keene & Tim Lebbon: American soldiers fight a more horrific and brutal enemy than they expected. Good, entertaining story, with a funny and ominous ending.

2.) "Whisper, When You Drown - Tom Piccirilli: Unsettling, clever tale about a storm, the restless dead and seduction.

3.) "Hermanos De El Noche" - Bentley Little: A man (Brock) sets out to rescue his wife (Marnie) from the mad, nude vampires who kidnapped her. Nasty, sexual and violent work, this.

4.) "Walking with the Ghosts of Pier 13" - Brian Freeman: Melancholic, mood-effective tale that recalls the feel of America in the days immediately following 9/11 (without the jingoistic bullsh*t that usally accompanies it).

5.) "265 and Heaven - Douglas Clegg: Excellent story about a tenement apartment whose filth-encrusted interior hides a deeper, more enduring and infinitely grimmer element.

6.) "The Sailor Home from the Sea" - John Pelan: In a pub, an ex-sailor gives voice to a familiar, yet intriguing personal tale about an angry woman and an avenging sea.

7.) "Always Traveling, Never Arriving" - Robert Morrish: The true nature of carnivals and how they're perceived by outsiders ("townies") is explored in entertaining and twisty fashion.

8.) "That Extra Mile" - David Niall Wilson & Brian A. Hopkins: A long distancee runner (Scott Danning) gets visions of roadside serial murders that appear to have real world consequences. Distinctive, fresh work.

9.) "The Green Face" - Al Sarrantonio: Concise, gripping work about a man (Lanois), whose dreams of strange killings compel him to necessary action.

10.) "Tender Tigers - Nancy A. Collins: Character- and action-interesting story about a monster-hunting vampire (Sonja Blue) tries to rescue a human family from an ogre who's taken over their family.

(Sonja Blue also appears in a multi-book series, starting with Sunglasses After Dark, also available in Kindle form.)

11.) "Portrait of a Sociopath" - Edward Lee: Short, sharp and occasionally gleefully sick (but believable) story, with an effective twist.

12.) "The Other Man" - Ray Garton: An extramarital affair takes on morbid and terrifying dimensions for a cuckolded husband. Excellent, distinctive read.

13.) "The Sympathy Society" - Graham Masterton: Haunting, wow-worthy story about a grieving suicidal widower who joins a cult-like support group to help him find a semblance of peace.

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