HORROR LIBRARY: VOLUME 1

Edited by R J Cavender

Reviewed by Garry Charles

The HorrorLibrary.net was set up in 2003 by R J Cavender and 12 other authors wanting to have a place to showcase or - in their own words - “Unleash blood-curdling, exquisitely horrific stories.”

That was three years ago and the success of the website and the ezine has resulted in the print anthology Horror Library: Volume 1.

“Oh yes,” I hear you say. “Another anthology.”

I say, “Hush up and listen.”

Horror Library: Volume 1 is a fantastic work of word based art; 30 unrelenting tales chosen for their willingness to embrace horror in all its shocking forms.

The other unique quality this volume possesses is that not one of the tales within ever disappoints the reader (not this reader). Each and every entry reads like a tiny sample of perfection on paper.

Be it dark, gory, fantastical, touching or comical every story hits the mark dead on target.

I know I usually mention every story in the anthologies I review, but to do this here would mean sending Whispers' Review Editor Peter Tennant a 100,000 word essay (I feel this would be unfair on him, as he has much to do).

Suffice to say I devoured every single anti-fable with an evil smile on my face.

I will, however, mention a few of my favourites. It's been hard choosing, but I believe I've picked out an unhealthy cross-section.

PALO MAYOMBE IN MATAMOROS by Boyd E Harris

What an opener!!!!

Mr Harris drags the reader into a tale of ritual murder and places you--rather uncomfortably--in the victims' situation.

Not only a story, but a comment on real life atrocities that chilled to the bone.

FLAMENCO AMPUTEE by Paul J Gitschner

An entirely new look at how the parole system should be run. This bloody mini-epic had me rooting for the main character only to have my hopes snatched away in the final scene. Wicked!!!!!

UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS by Cordelia Snow

Ms Snow knows how to write scary and she does it in a way that has you reading with one eye closed and, at the same time, bringing out your sympathies. I'm quite sure she will be one worth keeping more than a close eye on in the future.

ONE BUTTON EYE by Jason Robert Beirens

A bizarre tale that started by making me feel unnerved and left me feeling sad for the isolation the character had suffered. I can't explain why I liked this one so much, it just left imagery lingering on the edges of my mind.

WINGS WITH HOT SAUCE by Fran Friel

This one isn't scary at all, but it's fantastic. An amazingly funny short about marital disputes, bar food and allergies. Oh, and Satan, Marilyn Monroe and Hitler.

Read with caution: May cause wetting of briefs.

THE EXTERMINATORS by Sara Joan Berniker

Very short, but the premise is soooo nasty it had to make the faves list. An absolutely horrible idea!!

I loved it.

SCAVENGER HUNT by R J Cavender

The volume ends with this, possibly one of the nastiest entries.

After reading so many great tales it was an added treat to finish on one that still succeeded in leaving a bad taste in the mouth.

I would say something bad about Horror Library: Volume 1 if deserved, but it has nothing I can find fault with.

The stories--all of them--are of the highest standard and clearly written with a love of everything scary. They are all held together in a quality cover that features some truly eye catching art work.

Horror Library: Volume 1 is the new benchmark for top quality anthologies. Anything less is just playing at it.

BUY IT, READ IT AND TRY TO TELL ME I'M WRONG.

YOU CAN'T, CAN YOU?

IT'S NOT POSSIBLE.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA (evil laughter that echoes in to the blackness of the night).

Horror Library: Volume 1 edited by R J Cavender. Cutting Block Press pb, 224pp, $16.95 (about £8.50) excluding P&P.

Website: - www.cuttingblock.net


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