Genre: Horror / Anthology
Publisher: Bloodshot Books
Publication Date: 29th Oct 2015
REVIEWED BY ELAINE
A copy of Not Your Average Monster: A bestiary of Horrors, was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Bloodshot Books
In the introduction to Not Your Average Monster: A Bestiary of Horrors, editor, Pete Kahle, admits to being amazed at the quality of submissions for the anthology. I second that motion, as the stories included were absolutely gripping.
Readers love monster stories; they tell us about our fears and about ourselves. Monster stories are as old as time. So much so that audiences sometimes tire of the repetitive vampire, werewolf and zombie tales. This anthology strikes a chord by delivering monsters that are beyond ordinary. These monsters come straight from the authors’ imaginations and make a bee-line for beneath the readers’ beds.
Each story has a bestiary image as its Frontis plate. These images add an appropriate atmosphere without giving away the story that follows.
The anthology begins strongly with Megan Neumann’s It Must Feed. The plot contains every woman’s nightmare: unexplained weight gain. Abby finds out that her sister, Ivy’s, changing appearance and behavior are related to a dark family secret. This story sets the tone for the tome, both in terms of the theme of eating / being consumed and also in terms of secrets destroying lives and hope.
While the entire collection was engaging, the stand out stories for me, include:
The New Governess by Joshua Rex. Harold and Lucy have made it a hobby to scare away governesses, nannies and private teachers. Will the children meet their match in the creepy Mrs. Peals?
Tunnel Vision by Jeremy Hepler. A vehicle crash results in a claustrophobic nightmare. The story begins with Aaron dreaming of an idyllic future which is shattered when he confronts the monsters that are causing everyone to scream and run in horror.
Only a Matter of Time by Rose Blackthorne. Gram is a horror fanatic in a world where horror is banned. The game she played with her grandchildren of what would it be like if the movie were real? comes to life with a disturbing twist.
Monsters by Jeff Carlson. Without giving too much away, this story is an existential take on the old axiom it’s hurt people who hurt people. The sparse and direct writing matches the feel of the story. Once read, it is difficult to forget.
Resty Acres by Beau Johnson. This story takes an opposite approach from Neumann’s It Must Feed, in that weight is lost before leading to consumption. Similarly, Johnson taps onto a universal fear: growing old.
Nursing home stories are unsettling enough for most readers, but the tension is compounded when the residents start disappearing.
Meemaw’s Frogs by Richard Dansky. The quaint dialect of the main character’s lulls readers into believing the setting is a simpler time; yet, the demonic pet frogs tell a different story.
Good Ol Buddy by Rob Lammle. This offering makes me rethink my advocacy against breed specific laws. Buddy is one creepy puppy with an appetite for human flesh, resulting in a very lonely life for his owner.
Mekoomweso’s Revenants by Esther M. Leiper-Estabrooks. What starts as an interesting art project, ends in destruction. The formal language of the story made it feel like it were set long ago, yet texting and computers figure prominently. A very interesting tale about loss of love and land and ownership.
What Rough Beast? by Billie Sue Mosiman. A demon lives in the walls of a family’s cabin. This Nihilistic story asks if it is better to feel nothing and to be nothing than to be hurt.
Piety by John Bruni. Judah Crenshaw finds a respite from his wild youth in the Christian religion. While he thinks his sin is behind him, a demonic beast is hot on his trail. The details of what the beast does to its victims is gruesome, yet there is some dark humor woven into the violence.
Where the Sun Don’t Shine by Pete Kahle, also includes dark humor mixed with graphic awfulness. The writing is so engaging that a reader is alarmed at the violence, yet has a strong desire to find out what has left Gordy Melbourne in such a decimated state.
The entire collection is spellbinding, with top-notch writing. It has sparked my interest in the other offerings in Bloodshot Books’ oeuvre.
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BEEN THERE. DONE THAT.
You’ve heard their stories before and you’re screaming for a different breed of horror.
Those monsters have had their moments in the moonlight and now it’s time for us to bury them in their graves. Let’s lock them in their coffins, pierce their hearts with wooden stakes and shoot them between their rotting eyes with silver bullets from an AK-47.
You wanted some new monsters. You got ’em.
Say “hello” to the ones that are still hidden by the shadows. The ones that peer from behind the gravestones with multi-faceted eyes and crawl from the sewers on slime-covered tentacles. The ones that stain the pages within this tome with the blood of their victims.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE MONSTER: A BESTIARY OF HORRORS – 22 new monstrosities unleashed upon the world.
Established March 2015 – Bloodshot Books is a micro-press specializing in horror fiction, with a dash of science fiction, suspense and thrillers.
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