The purpose of the anthology A Book of Horrors (St. Martin’s Griffin) would seem to be, at least in part, to take a stab back at all those sparkly vampires. “What the hell happened to the horror genre?” editor Stephen Jones asks in his introduction. “These days our bloodsuckers are more likely to show their romantic nature, werewolves work for government organizations, phantoms are private investigators and the walking dead can be found sipping tea amongst the polite society of a Jane Austen novel.”
While Jones acknowledges an audience for that sort of horror fiction, he makes it clear that sort is not his sort… nor is it what you’ll find in A Book of Horrors, a space where Jones has come to “reclaim the horror genre for those who understand and appreciate the worth of a scary story.”
And there is much here to be scared of. Jones opens with a story by the master, Stephen King, in good form here with “The Little Green God of Agony.” Included, also, are stories by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Peter Crowther, Angela Slatter, John Ajvide Lindquist, Elizabeth Hand and others.
Tired of sparkly vampires and romantic werewolves? The antidote is here. If you don’t find something here to scare you, probably nothing will. ◊
Lincoln Cho is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in the Chicago area, where he works in the high-tech industry. He is currently working on a his first novel, a science-fiction thriller set in the world of telecommunications.