Right here goes nothing, my first ever real time review. I’ve had this book for what seems like ages. Whenever it came to selecting a new book to read. I always passed on this. The reason for this was not the authors collected in this anthology, for it contains a large number of authors who I like and respect, as well a number who I have never heard off. The main reason for holding of on this collection, was due to the feeling that I might not be able to do it justice.
D.F. Lewis, for those of you who know him is a genre heavyweight. One of those people who for no other reason than there sheer knowledge of the genre, kind of intimidate. I’m a fan, a big dumb fan, where as to me D.F. Lewis comes across as the extremely intelligent professor. Just search on the internet for intelligent discussions of the genre and you’ll find him there throwing intellectual right hooks like Mike Tyson after a few beers.
For this reason I thought I try and do what D.F does best and do a real time review. So each time a finish a story in the anthology I’ll post a review here and update the post. I’ll try and do them in order, but I’m a fickle person and I may jump around.
For those not in the know, the title may seem like a boast, however in reality, the title refers to the theme of the anthology. Each story relates in some way to a collection, or anthology, hence the title.
Kicking of the anthology is It’s Only Words by Colleen Anderson. In it Lloyd, who is an avid collector of horror stories, struggles with everyday life, he finds it hard to interact with people, and thinks that everyone is out to get him. One day he finally snaps, and kidnaps a smug smart arsed traffuc warden. Once he is bound and gagged in Lloyds house, Lloyd dsecides to tell his story to the traffic warden in a very unusual way. Soon Lloyd embarks on a quest top get his story told to all those who deems have wronged him. Colleen Anderson kicks off the anthology in a stunning fashion, this is a moving tale, tat shows there is a power in words and stories.
Next up is Tree Ring Anthology by Daniel Ausema , an unusual tale, where the life story of a tree, and the history of the world around it is told by reading the anthology of secrets held within it’s rings. I’ll be honest I haven’t read a story like this before, and it was a joy to read such a different tale. I never thought I would be moved by the story of a tree.
The Useless by Dominy Clements, is another unusual tale, it is a well written, spooky tale, with an image of a wierd woman who thows balls at trucks, that is really unnerving. However I’m not sure I really got the what the story was about.
Next up is a humorous tale by Rhys Hughes, where an avid book collector has to deal witrh a book that is suffering from appendicitis, yes Mr Hughes loves a pun, and story is filled with puns. It is a lightweight tale that after three very heavy and serious tales brought a nice bit of light relief to the collection
Right folks I’m going to jump ahead a a bit. Reggie Oliver has a story here, and I’m beginning to fall head over heels in love with his writing. Reggie is one of my discoveries of the year. Flowers of the Sea, is a heart breaking, moving, and poignant story that will move you when you read. After narrowly avoiding an accident, a husband has to watch his wife slip into the realms of dementia. Reggie’s sory sums up what a great short story should be.
Right back to the flow, next up is The Apoplexy of Beelzebub by Colin Insole. This one of the longer pieces of the collection, whilst researching the history of her Town for the Curator, ( sounds like a Dr Who villain), Cate uncovers, the horrific truth about the city, and in urns finds out the truth about her fate. This is a well written story that captures the readers interest, however I did think it would have been more powerfull if shortened slightly.
That’s all for this week, folks. work, life and house work means that I will have to postpone the reviews until next week, when I’m on holiday yeah for me
Paper Cuts, by Nick Jackson, one morning horror writer Mr Volpis is bitten by a serpent hiding in his rose bushes. Is a fine story that mix the comedic elements of the story well with the more tenser moments.
Horror Stories For Boys, by Rachel Kendall, has Gary a migraine sufferer having to make a journey to visit his dying dad, a journey that throws up old memories, and decisions that Gary must make. This is a grim and melancholic story that works very well.
Common Myths and Misconceptions Regarding Rita Kendall by AJ Kirby. Is an account of past her prime horror actress Rita Kendall, who is recounting her life for a reporter commissioned to write an article for The Horror of Horrors anthology. This is a well written, story, that draws you in with some excellent use of flashback story telling.
Midnight Flight by Joel Lane. Is a brilliantly moving tale of an old man loosing his mememory who feels completely out of touch with a modern world. He begins a quest to track down a book and its edititor , that he remembers reading from his youth. This is at times a hard and painfull tale to read, not because of bad writing, but due to the intense emotional imagary of the story.
The Fifth Corner by E. Michael Lewis, is so far the most horror story, horror story here. Looking to assemble a great anthology of horror stories, Vared Kyle wants an unpublished tale by Roman Maddox Booth. However, Booth after writing this story thought it too terrible see the light of day. It has been sealed in an envelope and stitched in to the lining of one of his limousines. This is an out and out horror story that tips its hat to both H P Lovecraft and Stephen King’s Christine. A nice change of pace in he collection.
The Follower by TonyLovell, charts the power andconsequences of reading through the life of Dorothy, from her childhood to thatof a grown up mother reading to her son Kevin. This story works very well, and I liked how the events of passed had repercussionsin the future.
Residua by DavidMatthew, Steve Bilty is in prison, and prisonguard Orwenson knows something about the crime Bilty has been charged with. When Bilty comes across a copy of and AlfredHitchcock anthology, strange and mysterious things begin to happen. This is fun story which could easily havefound a lace in Hitchcock presents antho. It will keep you guessing as to whether Bilty is innocent or guilty. Highly recommended.
The American Clubby Christopher Morris is a brilliant tale, Daniel Polzer is a student sittinghis final exams, but when he hears that his father has been put in hospitalafter a hit and run accident, he has to rush home. When he gets there he discovers that hisfather has been acting odd, and it all seems to centre around a collection oftales. A highly enjoyable read.
The Rediscovery ofDeath
by Mike O’Driscoll. This is another one of those tales thatreminds me of The Tales of The Unexpected, and that is a good thing. They were a staple of my childhood andI stillremember them fondly. Nicholas Cleaveris given the chance to save hissmall publishing company, when he meets Simon,who claims to have the rights to unpublished stories from masters of thegenre. Of course there is a catch, youget nothing for nothing, but you need to read this tsale to find out what thatcatch is.
The Pearl and The BoilBy Rosanne Rabinowitz This is a goodstory at heart, but it was a bit to flowery if you know what I mean for my owntastes.
The Writer by Clayton Stealback. This is one of those stories that keeps youguessing right up to the end. The worldsof fiction and reality start to meld into each other as author Steve strugglesto finish writing a short story. This isa very good story. That manages to be afresh take on this sort of tale.
Horror Planet byS.D. Tullis, I so much wanted to like this boy meets girl, then ends up inspace story. But I just found it to befar too over written, for my tastes.
You Walk the Pageby Mark Valentine . This is anotherstory that didn’t quite catch my interest, nice idea but it just didn’t gelwith me.
All His Worldly Goodsby D.P. Watt The anthology is rounded ofin great fashion with rather sad tale that builds with a great sense of menaceand dread, this is the perfect story to finish off this anthology.
Overall this is an excellent anthology, D.F.Lewis not onlyknows his stuff, but clearly has a love for the genre. Yes not all of the stories worked for me, butthat is probably more down to my personal tastes, than the quality of thewriting. I’m a fickle person, that knowswhat he likes and likes what he knows. Some of these stories where just a little bit to wordy for me. But please, please don’t let that put youoff. There is a great deal of excellentand brilliant story telling held with in these pages. The pay off for the reader very high indeedand defiantly worthy of your hard earned cash.