Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fear the Reaper, edited by Joe Mynhardt

(eBook; 2013: horror anthology)

Overall review:

Good mainstream horror anthology, worth owning.

Standout stories:

1.)  "Stumps" - Jeff Strand:  Darkly funny story about a man who seeks immortality and finds it.

2.)   "Death Squared" - Rena Mason: Two boys' friendship is tested when they visit a death site and encounter something more than ghosts.  The scenes will be familiar to those well-versed in ghost works, but the writing is fun and solid.

3.)   "The Death Catcher" - Robert S. Wilson:  Especially well-written and real-world plausible (within the context of this work) tale about a man whose ability to resurrect the dying brings heartache as well as relief.

4.)   "Cedo Looked Like People" - E.C. McMullen Jr.:  A boy's strange next door night- and day-divided neighbors make for equally strange - and later disturbing - friendships.  This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time.

5.)   "The Tubes" - Jeremy C. Shipp:  This is one of my favorite works in this anthology.  In a not-quite-bizarro science fictional world, death's dominion is political.  Like the preceding story, this one is memorable.

6.)   "A Life in Five Objects" - Ross Warren:  An interview involving the titular five objects takes a surprising turn.  Good read, entertaining.

7.)   "The Last Resort" - Sam Stone: Solid, plot-twisty piece about a man (Charlie), dying of cancer, whose eyes are opened to certain untimely revelations.

8.)   "Der Engel der Liebe" - Dean M Drinkel:  This story reads like a mid-Sixties to early Seventies Hammer film, with its ritualistic murder, sadism and blasphemous-religious elements.  It's predictable, aside from a Hammer-esque tale-expansive twist at the end, but this well-written work is all about enjoying the ride not the destination.

9.)   "The Final Peace" - Gary Fry:  A man, mourning his recently deceased wife and fearful for their offspring, goes to the fair with his too-curious-for-his-comfort children.  Well-written tale, with an effective, grief-realistic tone and a finish that made me smile.

10.)   "Do No Harm" - Joe C. McKinney:  Provocative, memorable work about a doctor (Turner) who's forced to help a group of creatures - who prey on mankind - conquer a disease that's held them in check.  One of my favorite stories in this collection.

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