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Ladies and Gentlemen of Horror 2016 Paperback – October 26, 2016
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Thom Futrell offers us a Big Foot story like none I've ever read before. Parts of it felt more than a bit rushed. I almost got whiplash from how quickly the story moved from Big Foot sightings and attacks to what I’ll call the “World of the Future”. I think this could have easily been a novel length piece with a tiny bit more character development and world building, but it was a really fun story. You're unlikely to read anything like it in any other horror anthology on the market.
Florence A. Marlowe's writing is always wonderful and in her offering here she tackles one of my favorite subjects, the fae folk. This story felt a little rushed in some areas, but I really enjoyed the modern take on an ancient theme. Definitely a win.
Poetry is very hit or miss with me. Joris Soeding's offerings were nicely composed, but I think perhaps I was not in the mood for poetry during this first reading of the book and much of it simply didn't speak to me. I truly believe a reader with more of an appreciation of poetry will find his section quite enjoyable.
Jennifer L. Miller's section is one of the shorter of the book, but I truly enjoyed the concept of the Indian Curse and her story was super sexy.
Alex S. Johnson offers up three short stories here, each one more strange than the one that came before. As always his work was a bit confusing and bizarre and a whole lot wonderful.
DJ Weaver's offering stands out to me as the best that this collection has to offer. If you like stories about creepy dolls and magic, this is single story is worth the cost of the book.
James D. Lopez offers up some poetry and flash fiction for his section of the book. Like a lot of flash fiction there some breaking of the "show don't tell" rule and the characters and story lines aren't super deep, but there's something to be said for a quick and creepy story. Lopez delivers on the creepiness, for sure.
Mandi M. Lynch's offerings are, to be completely honest, frustrating. Her writing style and voice are both nice, but the two stories she wrote for this collection both feel incomplete somehow. There is obviously much more going on here than what the reader isn't being told. I wish she had saw fit to tell us.
Joel Turpin offers up a traditional vampire story with some slight twists. It's nice to see an author take on something as traditional as a vampire story about seeking companionship and a connection to the life left behind and knock it out of the park. One of the better traditional vampire stories I've read.
Sandra Rozanski's story about witches is more sweet than horrific, but it really is almost nearly a perfect story. I liked that the connection to Salem and the witch trials wasn't heavy handed and the bit about Sage and his curse was a nice touch. My only complaint is that not enough detail was given about the witch war and it seemed to be over too quickly. Other than that, it was a great story and addition to this collection.
What can I say about Robert J. Leuthold's poetry. It is depraved, violent, and overtly sexual. Not much is left to the imagination here...and I love every word of it.
Evelyn Eve's section has offered the most diversity in story content. Her offerings include serial killers, warriors fighting monsters in a cave, space zombies, and nanny bots who want to kill. The stories are fun and her character's points of view are unique. All around a win.
A.J. Brown's contribution to this year's collection was a very well-written story about a man who witnesses a murder and what he does to try and make things right. Not exactly what I would consider "horror", but it was a nice addition to the book.
Jane Timm Baxter's writing, which opened this year’s collection, is always nice and I enjoy reading her work. Unfortunately, her contribution this year isn't a stand alone story. It is the first few chapters from her book Shadows of Dawn. If the reader wishes to finish the story...you guessed it! You have to buy the novel. Disappointing, but I've added Shadows of Dawn to my Amazon wish list.