From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. After 22 years of pulling the horror content for the now-discontinued Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series, Datlow (Lovecraft Unbound
) goes solo with this stellar start to a new best of annual. As in the past, her picks confirm that horror is a storytelling approach with endlessly inventive possibilities. In E. Michael Lewis's Cargo, a haunting Twilight Zone
–type tale, an airplane picks up something otherworldly as part of its latest transport. Euan Harvey's creepy Harry and the Monkey turns an urban legend into reality. R.B. Russell's Loup-garou is a highly original shape-shifter story with a subtle psychological twist, and Daniel LeMoal's Beach Head a bracing conte cruel
with a Lord of the Flies
cast. In addition to the richly varied stories, Datlow provides her usual comprehensive coverage of the year in horror in an introduction that's indispensable reading for horror aficionados. (Dec.)
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During a prolific editorial career, Datlow has published many colorful thematic collections of horror. Until now, though, she has never put her stamp on a best-of-the-year horror anthology. True to her expansive vision, this inaugural volume of a projected annual series casts a wide net over the genre’s many outlets, from magazines and single-author collections to webzines and literary journals. It opens with Datlow’s own comprehensive overview of genre highlights and trends, then offers a smorgasbord of creative voices in 21 tales and poems. E. Michael Lewis’ unsettling “Cargo” eavesdrops on the duties of a military cargo plane’s loadmaster as he chaperones the restless coffins being shipped from Jonestown after the infamous mass suicide. Steve Duffy’s “The Clay Party” provides outstanding period detail in a pioneer woman’s account of a werewolf-plagued wagon train in 1846. There are stories about strange finds in a book depository, a Wisconsin town besieged by a legendary monster, and a grown-up Hansel returning to the witch’s house. Datlow delivers the gold again with a first rate compilation. --Carl Hays