From Publishers Weekly
Although the horror genre naturally lends itself to up close and personal examination of good and very nasty evil, little writing in that genre is faith inflected. This anthology addresses that gap. "Faith" is used loosely and expansively in this collection of short tales that offers something for lots of different tastes-slasher, fairy tale, end times, ghost story-as well as religion. "Zen and the Art of Gordon Dratch's Damnation," by Douglas F. Warrick, is a meditation on enlightenment as cagey as any Zen master's teaching. "Different from Other Nights" by Eliyanna Kaiser offers a knife twist on the Passover celebration. Although the anthology is uneven, as collections often can be, the very best, like Gary A. Braunbeck's "For My Next Trick I'll Need a Volunteer," resonate in the mind long afterward, with no guts or gore. And while Cathrynne M. Valente's "The Days of Flaming Motorcycles" is a wicked clever zombie tale set in Augusta, Maine, readers may wonder where zombie Jesus is when we need him.
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What questions would you ask Jesus if he returned on the eve of an apocalypse and granted every surviving human a personal audience? If a Zen Buddhist were consigned to Hell, would he suffer the torments of the damned or remain blissfully serene? These are some of the questions explored in this distinctive collection focusing on philosophical conundrums presented by religious faith. Thirty-one tales and poems from some of the horror genre’s most talented writers cover quite a spectrum of inquiry. Jennifer Pelland’s “Ghosts of New York” finds the World Trade Center jumpers on 9/11 endlessly reliving their terrifying plummets to earth. An autistic girl who becomes miraculously lucid in Chesya Burke’s “The Unremembered” spurns the priest who mistakes her miracle for a Christian one. A saintly boy found murdered in Ekatarina Sedia’s “You Dream” haunts a woman’s nightmares. While the overall quality is mixed, and the selections lean heavily on shock value rather than subtlety, there are enough provocative scenarios here to provide hours of faith-challenging entertainment. --Carl Hays