From Publishers Weekly
Chizmar (Trick or Treat), who edits horror's flagship fiction magazine, Cemetery Dance, assembles 22 previously unpublished stories in a compilation that reads much like a heftier version of his periodical. And like a periodical, this anthology seems more a snapshot of the genre at a given moment than an enduring monument. A fair share of the selections will doubtless earn archiving in annual "best of" anthologies, among them Douglas Clegg's "256 and Heaven," an unsettling account of a supernatural force that feeds on guilt and loneliness and drives its victims to psychopathic behavior. Al Sarrantonio's "The Green Face" is a similarly adept blend of psychological and supernatural horror. In "The Wager," Thomas F. Monteleone spins an old-fashioned revenge tale in the EC comics mode that, for all its creakiness, compels reading until its final ghoulish twist. The book's lack of a specific thematic focus gives writers a chance to explore a variety of topics and approaches, ranging from John Pelan's "The Sailor Home from the Sea," a work steeped in the classic ghost story tradition, to Simon Clark's "The Hand of Glory," which effectively imports a classic horror theme into an incongruous contemporary setting. Some shorter selections are little better than back-of-the-book filler, and others, like Graham Masterton's "The Sympathy Society," bury ideas with intriguing possibilities under piles of gore. Nevertheless, the diversity of contents and writing talents ensures something to suit each horror reader's tastes.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.