Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: "Beneath The Surface: 13 Shocking Tales of Terror", Various Authors, Shroud Publishing, 2009, 160 pages.

This volume, edited by Tim Deal, was a 2008 Bram Stoker Award Finalist in the ‘Best Anthology’ category. Yes, I read that on the book’s cover. And if you really know me, then you know what my opinions are regarding awards. Not contests mind you, but awards: awards of the ilk where an association nominates and presents a prize to someone in their own association for a work released during the past year. I don’t put much stock in these kinds of awards. After all, Cary Grant never won an Oscar and Jerry Lee Lewis never won a Grammy. Honorary, read “Lifetime Achievement”, presentations are admissions that the association has clearly been deaf, dumb and blind for decades or has finally dismissed its personal grudge.

However, in this slim volume of 160 pages I believe the Horror Writer’s Association, of which Shroud Publishing is a member and nominator, was certainly on to something. Here are 13 stories plus one bump tale that blend the old and new together in a wonderful tapestry of horror and dark fantasy. Stories that should be read, no, savored for their novelty and style. If you enjoy good old psychological horror driving the plot, then this volume is a must for your shelf.

Notable tales include, and not in any order, Richard Wright’s ‘Secrets (Never Told)’; Scott Christian Carr’s ‘Thorguson’ and ‘The Drawer’ by Malon Edwards - a story that still makes me wary of my own desk. There is much more here than the stories I have highlighted. Clever tales all, these are stories you can read and revisit for the pure enjoyment of it all.

And isn’t that the real aim here: stories to enjoy and revisit like an old friend that never bores you or asks you for money. You ask what does money have to do with this review. Quite simply, it’s how reasonably priced this book really is. So go buy it.

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