There is something for everyone in Horror For Good, from the staccato prose of Ray Garton to the poetic style of G.R. Yeates, the stories found in this collection are as varied as they are chilling. In fact, that variety extends to include all aspects of the horror genre; stories that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, ones that evoked the sadness of the loss of a loved one, to dark humor, to science fiction with a dark twist, everything the horror genre has to offer can be found here.
I should mention I was a slush reader for this anthology. I was honored to be able to help, along with two other wonderful women. However, I did not get to read every story in here prior to publication. Many of these were new to me, and I enjoyed getting to read them for the first time. There are also a few reprints in here that are very hard to come by, but were offered thanks to the generosity of the authors in the horror community. That same generosity is what led to the number of stories that came pouring in, and allowed the editors to pick the best of the best for this anthology. I want to highlight a few of the stories here; a mix of reprints and originals.
Dead Letters, by Ramsey Campbell was a chilling story told by a master. As the story progresses, you have some vague notion of the direction Campbell is taking you, but at the end there is still that element of surprise that makes you stop then reread the story because you have just realized all the clues had been neatly laid out, if you had just taken the time to notice them. Campbell manages to build the tension and suspense in just a few short pages; there is good reason why he is an award winning author.
Mouth, by Nate Southard was one of those stories that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was a very original story, where you learn things a bit at a time about the new conditions of life on the planet. There is a new organism, and it has demands that must be met. I don't want to say more than that, as what makes this story great is its slow build up to a very frightening end.
The Lift, by G.R. Yeates was another unique and very well written story. Yeates uses his signature poetic prose to evoke a nightmare world that is contained in an office building, but it all originates from the lift. This bleak story evokes what a truly hellish job with no hope of any redemption would look like. Nightmare merges with reality in the world Yeates has created.
The Apocalypse Ain't so Bad, by Jeff Strand is an example of the dark humor that can be found in a few stories in this anthology. In this humorous but gruesome story, the zombie apocalypse has occurred, but our main character is fine with that since he can do what he wants, or at least he can until a rather unfortunate incident occurs. Strand's sense of humor had me laughing out loud at this quirky, bloody story.
Solution, by Benjamin Kane Ethridge is a perfect example of how science fiction and horror marry so well together. Things are slowly revealed in this tale; the reader learns most things as the main character does, but by the end you know exactly what has happened and it is a very frighting prospect.
Returns, by Jack Ketchum was one of the sad stories of loss. This was a very moving story, that again, surprised me with the direction it ultimately took. But with that surprise came a deeper emotional response, Ketchum has an amazing ability to tell a story and also make you think about what really matters in life.
To say I enjoyed this anthology would be an understatement. This is one the finest collections of horror stories I have seen. The editing was superb, the groupings of stories flowed smoothly from one to the next, with the perfect ones at the beginning and the end. The fact that all the profits are going to a wonderful charity, amFar, is simply an added bonus. Highly recommended.
I give it five cocktails.