Have you read this book?
Shadows and Teeth was edited by R. Perez De Pereda or at least I think it was. It actually isn’t clear. But I won’t this against Darkwater Syndicate because this is an excellent horror anthology. As some people may know, I don’t read many anthologies, but I’ve not gotten many new horror novels lately and needed a strong dose of the scary. Luck was with me for Shadows and Teeth delivered.
The tales are a little longer than some and even though this is a full-length book, there are only ten stories. I had no issue with this. It is great for authors to have enough space to ensure their complete tale comes across. These stories are not quite up to the ‘I need to leave the light on tonight’, but some of them left me unnerved. Below is a quick review of stories they present for us.
First up is Water, Ice, and Vice, by Antonio Simon, Jr. Wow, talk about a novel idea for horror–an evil refrigerator which gives you what you want, but maybe not in a way you would like it. Jeremy goes from being a promising young man to a victim who could die from horrid diseases, end up in jail, or worse. I liked how this story set the stage for the anthology. It let me know I could expect anything.
Second up is The Dinner Party by Trevor Boelter. Kaitlin has guests. She is hosting a party, but why does it feel so wrong? Why are so many bad things happening? Part of her dinner party seems normal, but other parts are quickly entering beyond weird and into a realm of dangerous terror. She needs to figure out what is really going on before she ends up added to the growing pile of bodies littering her bedroom. This was well done. It makes the reader work to figure out what might be happening before Kaitlin does.
Routine by Mia Bravo hits us next. Obsessive Compulsive Disorders can develop out of the need to keep ourselves safe. However, if taken too far, they can plunge a man into madness or worse start to make his life unsafe, the very opposite of what it set out to do.
Mark Meier brings us The Final Spell. I read this while sitting in my car on the outskirts of a high desert town and as the wind blew dust over the unfamiliar streets and faces, I have to admit the story made me feel a little uneasy. A student in the school of Magick finds a mysterious trainer. Perhaps he should have been more wary, but each step he takes leads him that much further from any hope of salvation.
Back Through the Mists is by J.S. Watts. This is about time traveling hosts who continue to reenact the gruesome sacrifices of their time. I liked the main character, but I felt to many things were left undone and this one did not leave me loving it.
Paige Reiring wrote Spawn. This short could be made into a book series with some effort. More urban fantasy than horror here, although what this female assassin has to battle is horrible indeed. In a world where some talented folks are given familiars, one should always consider there could be a bigger and badder familiars out there and if it comes for you, only the best will be able to survive.
The Pied Piper’s Appetite, by Rich Phelan comes next. This is a more low-fantasy number. What starts out as a reasonable guy quickly becomes a vicious and plotting serial killer. He does not just kill his victims but likes to play with them first. Not a situation I would want to be in. After all the supernatural in this anthology, it was a little hard to shift gears for me. I am not too into torture style horror as much.
Viktoria Faust presents Riana in the Gray Dusk. The shortest story in the compilation. In this a photographer makes a study of a girl who lives to be on film. But what if the film is also robbing her? Like a junky seeking a high which leads to doom, could the same thing have happened to this girl?
The Autobiography of an Unsuccessful Author was written by Brittany Gonzalez. Maxwell is writing a horror story. Have his characters come alive or has he snapped and who is really trying to kill his wife? This one became brutal. I suppose there are many brands of horror, but the ‘oh crap I’m in a living hell and beating up my wife,’ is not as much my thing.
Crying by Darren Worrow could be considered a novella and is very nicely done. A well told tale about a man having issues in his life and wondering how his past may be affecting his choices. When he uncovers a curse might be involved with his family, he starts to research the issue but discovers more about himself then he might have liked.
A few of the stories did not move me as much, but overall this is a great horror anthology. I would recommend it to all lovers of horror and look forward to receiving more from Darkwater Syndicate.