My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There’s a good variety of horror in this collection, ranging from a nightmare Civil War mindgame to a Kafka-esque hurricane to families gone bad to post-apocalyptic science fiction. The characters include an undersea Lovecraftian archeologist, a Chicana Bruja, and my American monster hunter in Japan, in addition to the terrifying grandmothers, the murderous fathers, the vengeful ghosts of the homeless, and the wish-granting fortune tellers.
My favorite story is Kathryn Ptacek’s City Girl, because it excavated a lot of buried childhood memories for me and yet the ending remained a surprise. A close second is Marie Victoria Robertson’s The Ouroboros Bite, a Bradbury-esque mixture of alchemy and being careful what you wish for that was beautifully written.
If there’s a drawback to the collection, it is that it begins to repeat itself. There are two post-apocalypse stories where women are subjected to medical experiments for the benefit of society. The stories are as different as can be within that framework, but they echo each other, as do the two first-person turning-into-a-zombie stories. That said, I’ve never read a possession by curtains story before.
All in all, I am honored to have my work included in this collection. More than that, I’m thrilled to have been introduced to a bunch of new authors whose work I’m eager to explore.
You can order your own copy of Fright Mare from Amazon.