You know that when you pick up a book edited by Ellen Datlow you’re bound to get some really nice fiction. This volume is no exception.
Haunted Nights is a collection of short stories with a Halloween theme. That’s a pretty narrow window for reading on a theme (it’s not like Christmas when people typically begin around Halloween) but fortunately the horror story genre doesn’t confine itself to Halloween.
Although I think it’s true that you can be pretty confident about your selection when you pick up a book by Datlow, I’ve also found that I’m rarely ‘wow’ed by any one particular story or stories. A lot of them a good to very good but nothing spectacular. That holds true here as well.
The best of the book are saved for the very end. Pat Cadigan’s “Jack” is probably my favorite of the collection. Cadigan has a strong writing style and she delivers sentences that just absolutely suck you in…
Every year, there are a few days when the border between the natural and the supernatural worlds gets less solid, less real, less … there, and nobody knows why.
I once overheard a woman who’d just been to a funeral say something to the effect that the dead person’s troubles were over. I didn’t even have to look at her to know she lived only in the natural world.
I definitely need to read more Pat Cadigan.
I also enjoyed John Langan’s “Lost in the Dark” and John R; Little’s “The First Lunar Halloween”. The latter of course not being set on earth was clever and fun. Langan’s story rises to a different level as it is a horror story about horror films.
I had expected to fall in love with Seanan McGuire’s story as I relish her novels, but this time I wasn’t as moved by her work.
This book contains the following:
Introduction by Lisa Morton
“With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfsbane Seeds” – Seanan McGuire
“Dirtmouth” – Stephen Graham Jones
“A Small Taste of the Old Country” – Jonathan Maberry
“Wick’s End” – Joanna Parypinski
“The Seventeen-Year Itch” – Garth Nix
“A Flicker of Light on Devil’s Night” – Kate Jonez
“Witch Hazel” – Jeffrey Ford
“Nos Galen Gaeaf” – Kelley Armstrong
“We’re Never Inviting Amber Again” – S. P. Miskowski
“Sisters” – Brian Evenson
“All Through the Night” – Elise Forier Edie
“A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds” – Eric J. Guignard
“The Turn” – Paul Kane
“Jack” – Pat Cadigan
“Lost in the Dark” – John Langan
“The First Lunar Halloween” – John R. Little
Looking for a good book? Haunted Nights is a collection of Halloween themed short stories edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton and will give you shivers any time of year.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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editors: Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton
publisher: Anchor Books
paperback, 352 pages