About the Author
Thirty authors from all over the world, and thirty stories which represent deep variety.
Horror Library Volume II is an excellent collection of short stories that can be enjoyed all at once or savored over many days. The pleasant surprise with the Horror Library is that in addition to stories covering familiar territory, as seen in John Rector's "A Season of Sleep" and Kevin Donihe's "Preacher Mike and the Black Cross Revelation ," there are also original ideas that result in enjoyable tales, such as "Charlotte's Frequency," by Ian Rogers. The collection has no particular theme and the stories cover a wide variety of subjects...
Although the stories in Horror Library Volume II vary in length and in theme, they are all strong, entertaining reads. Most are short enough that readers will find themselves easily starting another. then another. in fact, the book should come with the tagline "you can't read just one." Strongly recommended for public libraries. Contains: gore, violence, suicide.
All the stories in this anthology are fine examples of and additions to the genre of horror. Absent were clichés or repetitions upon tropes, and this volume easily lives up to the moniker, Horror Library. ... starts out with the short but haunting A Season of Sleep by John Rector. The characterization makes this story Mattie, a young girl left in her parents farmhouse to care for her sick brother; Nathan, burning with fever after being attacked by a strange man; and even the setting itself, a house far off the beaten track surrounded by corn fields that give birth to wandering zombies. Aspiring horror writers should take note of the skill with which Rector weaves emotion and desolation into words, crafting an ending that creates an inescapable feeling of doom, no twist required. In A Chainsaw Execution, Stephen R. George walks an impressively delicate line between a first person narrative and losing the story to the character. Greyeyes is a chilling gang leader who punishes an invader from another gang with the most brutal of executions. The seriousness of the man s crimes is not that great, but Greyeyes demands an example to send back to the rival gang, the Tráiganos. But, as is usual for these stories, violence begets violence, and it s not only the memory of the chainsaw execution which haunts Greyeyes. Neither the gore nor the musings of the narrator intrude upon this story, though the ending will haunt the hand shakes of those who read it. I am Meat, I am in Daycare by Cameron Pierce is a bizarre tale. The prose is dreamlike, or nightmare-like, a twisted bit of the strange. Susan is hired by Ted Branson to add his child, a large slab of meat, to her in-home daycare service. The substance of the story after that consists of this child moving around and infecting others, turning them into meat puppets wearing human, or other, skins. A sense of horror and the surreal is strongly woven into the story, but the lack of an explanation or even a resolution is off-putting for readers whose tastes don t extend that far into the bizarre. Trapped Light Medium by Sunil Sadanand is a horror story of a more passive nature. The main character is a psychic who sees events of extreme brutality and arranges to get access to these scenes before the cops show up in order to take pictures. The photographer, it seems, is not just after the money the horrendously gory pictures bring; walking through these scenes, making no attempt to save a life or report a crime, he hopes to find a true evil. Sadanand leaves it up to the reader to decide if witnessing the darkest deeds of humanity and not doing anything to change them makes someone part of the evil or not. At first glance, Apple by Marc Paoletti appears to be yet another tale of a serial murderer, a man with a questionable percentage of soul, lying in wait to complete his latest job the assassination of an African leader. It could also be just another story of a man twisted by his childhood into acting out against humanity. But as the reader follows the killer s thoughts through anticipation to action, a layer comes to light that sets it apart from other serial killer stories as it tightens to a horrific ending like a silk scarf around your throat. Next Stop, Babylon by John Mantooth is a chilling glimpse of the future in which Tamara, seeking to escape the cruel fate shared by those members of society who are no longer useful, must balance her fear of the grim, prediction-making robot bus driver against her terror of being found by the sweepers even though she suspects the driver is taking her to her doom. A glimmer of terror, this tale lets just enough slip that the reader knows why they should be scared, but not enough for more than a momentary stab of fear. Opening the Eye by Michael W. Lucas is a trepanning --The Fix Online
Horror Library, Volume 2 - an Anthology Worthy of a Stoker Nomination Every once in a while you get lucky with an anthology. You flip through the table of contents and you only see a few names you know. You think, Well, maybe. Hell, even a blind hog finds an acorn every once in a while, right? Then, you read the first few stories, and they're pretty good. You think, Ah, they just put the heavy hitters up front, that's all. So you read on, waiting to get to the soft, worm-eaten spot in the wood. And you keep reading...and you keep reading...and the soft, worm-eaten spot in the wood never appears. You find a few stories that don't exactly grab you, but nothing's soft, nothing's worm-eaten (at least nothing that's not meant to be worm-eaten), and before you know it, you're done with the book and then there you are, sitting in front of your computer late that night, logged on to the Horror Writers Association's website, recommending the damn thing for a Stoker Award...because it's that damn good. That was what my weekend was like after reading Horror Library, Volume 2, the latest multi author anthology from Cutting Block Press. There is a lot of blood and guts in this book, so if you're squeamish, beware. But then, that's not really a secret. Clara Chandler's introduction waves off the faint of heart at page 1. Many of the stories included here would fit more or less comfortably under the heading of Splatterpunk. They are disturbing and graphic, they revel in the shock of violence, and many are frankly nihilistic. But none of the stories here resort to violence as a smoke screen to hide bad writing. Where you find blood, you also find well-drawn characters, snappy dialogue, and tight plotting. But don't make the mistake that everything here is Splatterpunk, because there's a whole lot more. A good many of the stories are science fiction-horror cross genre pieces. Some are dark fantasy. Some are almost gothic. A few are traditional horror in the pulp era sense, with delicious little Twilight Zone style hooks at the end. And there are a few others that simply defy any attempt at classification. I'm not going to try to discuss all the stories in this anthology. There are way too many for that. But I do want to mention two in particular because I like them so damn much. First of all, Sunil Sadanand's "Trapped Light Medium." This is an outstanding tale of premonition faintly reminiscent of Stephen King's The Dead Zone. The main character is a photographer. He gets these pictures in his head, pictures of violent, horrible things that are going to happen very soon. And when the bad things do happen, he's there with his camera to capture it all. The other five star story in this anthology is Tom Pendergrass' "Immortal Remains." Somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan is a picturesque little valley where the women really enjoy taking a bite out of their men. Armies from all over the world, and throughout history, have moved through Afghanistan. This story shows you why none of ever managed to stay very long. You need to check out Horror Library, Volume 2. I can almost guarantee you that my favorites won't be your favorites, but that's okay. In a book like this one, there's a lot of potential favorites to go around. Enjoy!!! --Skullring - Joe McKinney
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