William Cook, editor
James Ward Cook Publishing
November 2013, PB $13.75, eBook $3.99
Reviewed by Kat Yares
What is not to love about an anthology that includes a story by the great Ramsey Campbell? And when that anthology continues to offer stories that are solid, well written and creepy, just how do you put it down? It’s nigh on impossible.
The Introduction – Why We Turn to Horror by W.J. Renehan – brings up some new points of why horror is so appealing to many of us. It is definitely worth the read.
Editor William Cook has managed to pull together a collection of both known and unknown names in the horror genre. Each and every one of these stories will send a shutter up your spine, especially if you take your time with them and allow both the story and the words chosen to tell the story to sink in. Before reading this book, I was never a big fan of horror told in the first person, as many of these are, but this anthology has me rethinking that stance.
Will Cook did an awesome job of selecting stories by both male and female horror authors. It is like he knows that many female writers can do just as good a job, or better, at scaring your pants off. I really liked that – it is a rare thing in most anthologies today.
With that said, there are some exceptional stories in this collection. Billie Sue Mosiman’s Verboten, Carole Gill’s Raised, Chantal Noordeloos’ The Door, Lindsey Beth Goddard’s The Tooth Collector rose heads and tales above the rest in my humble opinion. Mr. Cook did save the best story for last, Anna Taborska’s Out of the Light will stay with you long after you close this book and the lights go out for the night.
Other notable tales include the aforementioned, Ramsey Campbell story, Welcomeland, Lincoln Crisler’s Nouri and the Beetles and Tim Jones’ Protein.
Bottom line, every story in this book is good. Read one at a time or carve out an afternoon and read several in a row. Do not suggest you read these at night, at least not if you plan to turn the lights off and sleep afterwards.
Fresh Fear is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in a while. It is always refreshing to pick up an antho and end up enjoying every single story. Now that’s a recommendation for you and I stand behind it. Grab yourself a copy, sit back and enjoy.