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Horror Library Volume 2, edited by R.J. Cavender Book Review | SFReader.com
Horror Library Volume 2, edited by R.J. Cavender Genre: Horror Anthology Publisher: Cutting Block Press Published: 2007 Review Posted: 11/25/2008 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10
Horror Library Volume 2, edited by R.J. Cavender
Book Review by Ray Wallace
Have you read this book?
As a reviewer, I read my fair share of anthologies and collections. And, for the most part, I have to say they are hit and miss. Some hitting more often than others. Usually, there are a few standouts that make the whole worth undertaking. So it is always a pleasant surprise when I come across an anthology that is relatively strong from start to finish. Such is the case with Cutting Block Press's HORROR LIBRARY VOLUME 2. It's a relatively meaty anthology, too, with nearly thirty stories in the offering. With too many to cover here, I'll just spend a little time on the ones that really caught my attention.
"A Season of Sleep" (John Rector) deals with a young brother and sister left to fend for themselves in a world overrun by the undead when their father leaves to find help and doesn't return. "A Chainsaw Execution" (Stephen R. George) is about exactly that - - a gang member cut to pieces with a chainsaw after being captured by a rival gang and the horrifying realization that death, even one as grisly as this, is not necessarily the end. "I Am Meat, I Am in Daycare" (Cameron Pierce) relates the bizarre series of events that occur when a woman who runs a daycare service is asked to watch a rather peculiar hunk of meat. And "Trapped Light Medium," (Sunil Sadanand) one of the collections strongest works, brings us into the world of a freelance photographer who finds that his ability to see future events gives him quite the edge on the competition, especially when it comes to capturing gruesome images of office shootings and mass murders.
In "Phaedra's Baby" (Matthew Fryer) a man out walking in the woods finds himself caught in a nightmare when he discovers a cement room buried in the ground and a woman who's been trapped inside for years. "Free to Good Home" (Lon Prater) treads solidly in Stephen King territory by showing us what happens when a man finds a PDA at an estate sale that prompts him with the question: "What do you want?" When the man answers, he is pleasantly surprised to find his wish granted. But there's a catch, of course. There's always a catch. "Alien Fajitas" (Boyd E. Harris) is a fun little tale about a popular restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico and just what it is they've been putting in those fajitas, the most popular item on the menu there. And "The Trauma Statement" (Stephen Bacon) brings us into the world of a man who must make a series of choices that will benefit people who are close to him while simultaneously harming others that he does not know. Sometimes, we come to find out, such decisions are not as easy as they seem.
Then there is "Drawn" (Daniel L. Naden), my favorite story of the collection. Pat and Teresa have a good life together, one that gets even better with the birth of their baby daughter, Anna. Or so they think. Until they realize that Anna is no ordinary child, that she has the ability to pull things toward her simply by willing it. The author has a lot of fun taking this premise to its furthest extremes and then brings it all together with a great ending. This one would have been perfect as an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. With "The Losers vs. Beelphegor" (Mark Justice) the reader gets to tag along as a group of dope smoking friends inadvertently thwart a threat to planet Earth. "We Fall On Each Other" (Paul Walther) is a strong piece involving two cousins, both of whom have survived a traumatic, life altering event, and their attempts to help each other face the ordeal that befalls them one Thanksgiving weekend. "The Show Must Live On" (Matt Hults) is a bizarre tale that takes place in some abandoned fairgrounds and brings together an imprisoned clown and a couple desperate to have a child. And finally, "The Horror in the Bookstore" (Clinton Green) wraps things up nicely with a little ode to everyone's favorite eldritch storyteller, H. P. Lovecraft.
HORROR LIBRARY VOLUME 2 proves that you don't need a list of "big names" to put together a worthwhile anthology. Of course, as is to be expected, some of the stories presented here work better than others, with a few of them working exceptionally well. Overall, a strong effort. Hopefully the editors can maintain the level of quality in future editions and can lure in buyers without any "big names" to help sell the books for them. Because this one, as far as fans of horror and dark fantasy are concerned, is worth owning.
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