I had enjoyed the “Best of” volume of Horror Library some time back, so when I saw that there was another volume out, I was eager to get in to it. There is, of course, a difference between a standard volume and a ‘best of’ collection, but given the high caliber of the writing in the ‘best of’ collection I still expected to find some gems here. And there are … just not as many as I had hoped for.
“Casualty of Peace” by David Tallerman was one of the standouts in this volume. The story revolves around a small town during war time where the women gather to draw straws and the one who draws the shortest straw has her soldier return home. The writing is poetic and beautiful and the story is absolutely haunting. I need to find more by David Tallerman.
“The Starry Crown” by Mark E. Fitch was another top-notch work which held its own as it followed Tallerman’s story. This story comes from the deep south, full of racism and the roots of slavery.
I really enjoyed Edward M. Erdelac’s “Hear the Eagle Scream” – I rank it right up there with Tallerman’s story for one of the true standouts. Perhaps it’s because it also has a poetic voice to the writing. I felt right at home in the old west here and so I was caught up in the story. I also couldn’t see where this was going and so was hooked to keep on reading.
That’s three stories that I exceptionally enjoyed from the collection. One more, JG Faherty’s “The H Train,” was a good little story that disappointed at the end. It’s also hard to read a horror story set on a train to hell and not think of Robert Bloch’s classic “That Hell-Bound Train”.
On the other end of the spectrum, the worst, for me, was Vitor Abdala’s “Instant Messaging” which really had nothing going for it. A series of instant message texts between a girl and a ghost. And…? This gets attention from the start because of the format (instant message layout), but it doesn’t go anywhere.
The bulk of this collection then, was tremendously average. Nothing seemed particularly horrific or had exceptional writing to keep me interested. My advice would be to wait for the next “Best of” anthology.
Looking for a good book? Horror Library, Volume 6 is, as the title describes, a collection of horror stories but not even a handful rise above the average-ness of the collection.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Horror Library, Volume 6
editor: Eric J. Guignard
publisher: Cutting Block Books
paperback, 352 pages