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Book Reviews: The Screaming Book of Horror + Moonshine

The Screaming Book Of Horror edited by Johnny Mains
A gallant attempt to return to ill-defined 80’s style of horror.

Christenings Can Be Dangerous
An entitled jerk goes to the christening of his ex-girlfriend’s baby with her new husband. His persecution thingy leads to a theatrical payback. Obvious.

Larva
A teen yobbo who is as challenging to live with as possible is one year away from holding up dry cleaners in Staines when he commits a crime that will irrevocably change his life. Okay.

The Swarm
A beach bum has had a realisation about jellyfish or something. Disastrous.

Natural Selection
A famous monster has aims and objectives, bloody ones. Okay.

One Of The Family
An American looks up his extended British family and finds irrefutable evidence that they are all psychos. Good and emphatically funny.

“Cut!”
A psycho is hired to play a psycho in a movie. This squandered any promise.

The Christmas Toys
Two yobbos break into a house at Christmas for some robbery; cue a swift and complete beat down from an unexpected source. Okay.

The Quixote Candidate
An odd little tale of movies and madness, the ending changes everything. Okay.

Helping Mummy
A little girl decides to help her tired mother with the fractious new baby. It is a fateful decision. Excellent and morbid.

The City Of Plenty
This is almost like a mythos tale as a traveller gets into difficulties and wanders into a forbidden area. The inevitable happens. Okay.

The Iron Cross
Derring do types fight against neo-Nazis and uncover a long buried secret. Very genteel creepiness ensues. Good.

Best Line:
“I’ll never in my life understand how he crawled as far as he did.”

Sometimes You Think You Are Alone
A lonely woman faces danger, read retrospectively this is a very different story. Mediocre.

Bird Doll
A woman is defensive against a plague. This is an excellently disturbing story with a horribly suggestive ending.

Best Line:
“They passed six houses that had all of their curtains drawn on the way up to the school. There might as well be red crosses on the doors.”

What Shall We Do About Barker?
An elderly landowner and his wife do a favour for their retiring gamekeeper. The difficulties come in the misunderstanding over what exactly he wanted for his retirement gift. This is an excellent deliciously subversive and darkly skewering tale.

Best Lines:
“What was the fish business exactly, by the way?”

“All tastes too, within reason: you know, whips, chains, school uniforms, bananas, dead animals.”

“Knew a fellow once who had a thing about ferrets.”

Old Grudge Ender
This is another mythos like tale as an American writer looks into the brutally abominable history of an abandoned English town. It is a decision that will leave him bitter and numb. August.

Jack And Jill
A man’s exploration of a barrow leads disproportionately to horror. Good.

The Blackstone Dreamer
A couple learn that the exalted local healer is not as benign as he pretends; can they frustrate his torrid plan of attrition? This was banal with an uncomfortably gendered aspect.

Imagination
An apathetic teenage boy finds no-one will listen to his assertions about the living dead. Excellent.

The Baby Trap
A couple encounters something in the woods. Not meaningful.

The Tip Run
A father and son weekend ritual takes an unexpected turn. Okay.

Dementia
A man is flustered and then driven dangerously close to the edge as dementia demeans his mother. Okay.

~
Moonshine by Rob Thurman
This 2007 novel is the 2nd ‘Cal Leandros’ novel. Cal and Niko are being supernatural detectives as Cal verbalises a proliferation of crap. Vampires, Auphe, werewolves, Pucks and word vomit happen. Thurman recycles the same plot in every single novel she has ever written. Feel Cal’s half-monster man-pain! Feel it! Or better yet, don’t bother.

Best Line:
“Sophia’s own knew what she’d done.”
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