The Screaming Book Of Horror Edited by Johnny Mains

There was a time when I wasn’t really a fan of the short story.  I know, I know I sound like a heathen.  However in recent years I have slowly but surely changed my opinion, I now look forward to getting my hands on the latest anthology, don’t get me wrong there is still a lot of poor anthologies out there, anthologies where both the production values and the stories held within fail to deliver.  So how do you make sure you get a good anthology?  Well for one, you can go back and read my reviews, or you could  just pick up a book that has been edited, collected and published by an editor  who knows their stuff.  Johnny Mains is one of those editors, and with The Screaming Book of Horror Johnny has collected together one hell of an anthology.  I don’t know if it’s my impending middle age, or the fact that world is due to go into Apocalypse mode just before my birthday in December, but, lately I have been talking a lot  about books that take me back to that long forgotten time, where the only thing I had to worry about was where I was going to the money to pay for my next book.  And Johnny’s book is anther one of those books.

The Screaming Book of Horror  is full of stories that remind me why I love horror so much. From the wonderful opening story Christenings Can Be Dangerous by the brilliant John Llewellyn Probert, this story of witch craft and revenge is told with typical Probert flair.  John Brunner’s Larva is a hard hitting story that has  a rather obnoxious and nasty main character getting his comeuppancein a rather gory way.

Robin Ince gives us a nasty line in black comedy with his story about a woman’s obsession about finding a perfect man. I particularly liked his line about a bag for life.  It’s hard to pull of a story that is both horrific and humorous at the same time but Robin pulls this of brilliantly.

Christmas Toys  by Paul Finch is the perfect story for those who like a bit more bite to their Christmas stories.  In this tale two thieves get a little bit more than they bargained for when they rob a house.

Rhys Hughes, is an author who has intrigued me for a while, this is the first time, that I rememeber actually reading anything by him. His story The Quixote Candidate ticked enough boxes to make me want to dig out his book that I have and give it a go.

Kate Farrell’s Helping Mummy, is probably the most chilling story in this anthology, as the story unfolds you just know this is not going to end well.  Your stomach will be doing cartwheels by the time you finish it.

Alex Miles shows exactly why he should be an author that everyone needs to read, with this near perfect Lovecraftian fantasy The City of Plenty.  

 I know I go on and on about zombie stories and just how bored I am of the genre.  But when a giant of the genre such as Christopher Fowler tackles it you just know you are in for a winner.

The anthology is rounded off with a story from Charlie Higson, yes that Charlie Higson.  This really is a tear jerker of a story, where Higson handles the subject of dementia with grace and dignity.

If you are looking for an anthology that collects some of the best genre fiction around then you would be hard pushed to do better than this.  This is a deeply satisfying read that delivers exactly what you want in an anthology.



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