cover; links to goodreads
Genres: horror; holidays>Halloween
Why I read it: I love horror, I love short stories, and I really love Halloween, so I requested it on Net Galley and was approved for an eARC.
Who I’d recommend it to: Anyone interested in the above things I mentioned.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (3.5 stars)
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What it’s about:
Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John R. Little, Lisa Morton, and Mark Allan Gunnells put the horror back in Halloween with a quintet of devilishly delightful tales, curated by acclaimed author and editor Brian James Freeman.
STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon
Chocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.
THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin Lucia
Father Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.
DEMON AIR by John R. Little
Fear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.
LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton
Trick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.
#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan Gunnells
Some people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.
First, I rate anthologies like this by rating each individual story, then averaging all those ratings together to come up with a rating for the whole book. Also, because these are short stories, I don’t want to say much about them, so this should be a short review.
Strange Candy by Robert McCammon– This was a nice story to kick things off with. It wasn’t particularly scary, just a little creepy (and also a little heartwarming), and very Halloween-y. I gave it 4/5 stars.
The Rage of Achilles or When Mockingbirds Sing by Kevin Lucia– I thought this one was a little spooky, but still not very scary. It did have a nice mysterious vibe going on, though, and I actually didn’t see the twist at the end coming. However, for this one, I feel like it was a little too short, because there were too many questions left at the end about certain things. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
Demon Air by John R. Little– This was my least favorite story. I thought it was boring, kind of disjointed, and overly cheesy. I gave it 1 out of 5 stars
La Hacienda de los Muertos by Lisa Morton– I’m familiar with a certain legend that was used in this story, and I ended up actually liking this one more than I thought I would when I first started reading it. It was like a combination western/horror, and I thought it was a bit spooky. But, it felt a little too rushed at the end and I think it would have worked better if it had been just a little longer. I gave it 4/5 stars.
#MakeHalloweenScaryAgain by Mark Allan Gunnells– This was my favorite story, and it’s also the longest, taking up just a little less than 50% of this collection. I have a few minor complaints, but they’re not really relevant to the story. It wasn’t terrifying, but it was suspenseful and felt like an homage to some of my favorite horror movies in some ways. I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars.
I was a tiny bit let down by this collection because I was hoping to be really scared by it, but it only succeeded a few times in making me feel a little creeped out. Still, it was an enjoyable read and I’ll definitely be looking most of these writers up to read more from them.
Would I recommend it? Probably, but not if you’re looking for lots of gore or something truly terrifying (unless you’re very easily scared, in which case this might work for you).