As promised, today I am posting a review of a TRUE horror anthology, published by a small Indie publishing company, Cutting Block Press. While Cutting Block Press has several anthologies currently in print, my favorite of the bunch has to be this one, Horror Library Volume 2.
Horror Library Volume 2 is a collection of short horror stories, each gorier and more disturbing than the last. In total, there are thirty stories in all, with titles ranging from Filth Eater (by Glen Krisch) to Preacher Mike and the Black Cross Revelation (by Kevin L. Donihe). My favorite part of this collection is that it remains true to the genre of horror, with very little fantasy (no paranormal romance here). Many of the stories are gruesome, while others offer a subtler, more psychological form of terror. Regardless of the form in which it is served, however, the horror in each handpicked story is disturbing and satisfying.
Frankly, I am generally more of a novel (or at best a novella) fan; in most cases I simply do not enjoy short story anthologies as much. I rarely feel as though I get enough out of a short story to be completely satisfied with my reading experience. That was not the case with Horror Library Volume 2; each story was clearly chosen carefully, and each was a thrilling and entertaining read in and of itself.
Among my favorites of the bunch were I am Meat, I am in Daycare (by Cameron Pierce) and Apple (by Marc Paoletti). The stories were extremely different from one another, but each was my horrific cup of tea. I am Meat, I am in Daycare is nothing short of a totally disturbing surreal reading experience, strange and unpredictable. It begins with a daycare provider agreeing provide services to a disturbed man, who brings in a hunk of meat that is his son. Things quickly spiral to new heights of weirdness. It was old-school Bentley Little-ish in its surrealism, which I loved.
Apple was a different form of horror entirely, focusing more on the psychological aspect of horror, and (as the name implies) demonstrates that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Generation after generation of sociopathic killers are born and bred, with devastating results for those they are contracted to kill. After all, it is nothing more than a job.
All in all, I really loved Horror Library Volume 2, and I really have to give some respect to the folks over at Cutting Block Press. They have set up a very efficient system that allows readers to purchase their books, as well as books from their affiliates, directly from the site. Excerpts of each individual story are available for review, which is also a big plus. I have to give this one a 4 ½ star review, and I would encourage anyone with a penchant for true horror to pick up any of the volumes of this stellar anthology series.
Finally, I would not be doing this book (or series) and kind of justice if I failed to mention the truly exceptional cover art. It really is fantastic, and sets the tone for the book in an incredibly dramatic fashion, and between stories I can’t stop myself from looking at it again and again.