Edited by Adele Hartley

Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Time flies. It seems like only yesterday that I was reading Read by Dawn the debut horror anthology from Bloody Books, and here it comes already a second volume, presenting the reader with twenty-six brand new stories from a group of comparatively new authors trying their hands in the disreputable field of horror fiction.

Predictably some succeed, some exhibit a promising talent although their stories fail, some just fail leaving us to wonder if they will be able to do better next time.

I will mention the tales I have especially enjoyed, wishing their authors a bright career as horror writers.

Between the Screams by Brian G Ross is a hard, cruel piece of fiction full of gore and violence, but written with such a captivating style that any reader will find it impossible to stop turning the pages until the end is reached.

David Turnbull provides the excellent Fat Hansel, a gruesome but ingenious sequel to the famous Hansel & Gretel fairy tale.

Morag Edward's Childhood is a fine study of children's psychology and of the horrific effect that worldly things can exert on young minds.

In FR Jameson's Adultery two lovers meeting in a cheap hotel realize that something terrible is taking place in the next room. The tense narrative displays the author's solid storytelling and his knack for producing perfectly crafted dialogues.

A Candle for the Birthday Boy by Christopher Hawkins is a brilliant, suspenseful story bound to make edgy any reader who happens to be a father.

Suzanne Elvidge contributes The Door, a superb example of psychological horror, and Gavin Inglis entertains with Guts, a bizarre piece of gastroenterological horror graced by a touch of black humour.

Finally, in Scott Stainton Miller's enjoyable The Night Animals disquieting family traditions disrupt the quiet daily routine of a happy couple.

Once again editor Adèle Hartley has assembled an interesting showcase of new voices whose literary efforts are a guarantee that horror is alive and well and that horror stories will continue for a long time to give us pleasant shivers during our long insomniac nights while we are waiting for the dawn.

Read by Dawn Volume 2 edited by Adèle Hartley. Bloody Books paperback, 240pp, £9.99/$16.95. Available in shops and from various online outlets including Amazon UK

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