Thursday, May 18, 2017

Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine - Edited by David Price

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

With an introduction from Holly Newstein, Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine embraces the weird from the northernmost of the 48 contiguous United States.  Wait, I just googled a map of the US to verify that and it's not true, but it is up there and it is a place where weird things tend to happen.

Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine features twenty-two stories that are captivating, intriguing, scary, and above all, entertaining.

The Old Guide's Tale Peter N. Dudar

A trio of loading dock postal workers, regular guys, and the story, or rather, the legend of Sebago Lake.

For John, the bigger his audience, the bigger the stories would get. I suppose with age comes the license to embellish. After all, when you're old enough to start forgetting things that happened in your life, you may as well make the stuff you do remember as unforgettable as possible.

A wonderful start to the anthology. I was immediately drawn in by the excellent story-telling.

Giant Wompstah April Hawks

I guess you could say this is the story of genetics gone bad.  The real victim being Larry the Lobster.

Purgatory Junction Jeremy Flagg

A well-told ghost story of the hazing of a teen-aged girl made to spend the night in an abandoned railroad station so she can sit at the cool kid's table.

I read this lying in bed preparing for sleep. Not recommended as it made me afraid to turn off the light.

Catharine Hill Leslie J Linder

A new author for me and a great take on the hitch-hiking ghost trope.

Often, she would thumb a ride from some traveler. She didn't really plan to go anywhere. She just wanted to check out the latest fashions and listen in on modern trends. She always asked them to turn on the radio. But if that failed, people who picked up hitchers were generally prone to nervous chatter. When she'd had her fill, she simply disappeared from the vehicle.

The Bad Trip Thomas Washburn, Jr.

The title says it all.  A bad trip (as in 'shroom trip) that led to a horrible conclusion.  Another new writer I enjoyed immensely.

Teacher's Pet John McIlveen

A student/teacher taboo that's too good to be true.  John is one of my favorite new writers. His debut novel Hannahwhere is well worth your time, as is this delightful short.

Screaming Through Sea Glass Juss Stinson

A ghost story of sorts and a damn fine one at that.

Mira's Shop of Peculiarities Harold Hull

A truly terrify tale. One of the best shorts I've ever read.

Slowly, an eye opened on one of the tiny heads. A quiet, scratchy voice uttered, "Help me." Then the eyes of the head beside it opened and the same words came out. The third shrunken head soon joined in and now there was a harmony of desperate voices begging James for help.

Seeing Is Believing Wicker Stone

An effective tale of an inherited horror.

The Wait Holly Newstein

I don't get to read nearly enough of Holly Newstein's writing

The Janitors Come Out at Night Martin Campbell

The janitors at this High School are not recruited as much as they are made.  A fun little tale.

Agony Chamber Morgan Sylvia

When you worship at the altars of the gods of pain the rewards can be great, but so are the costs.

In my dreams, they tell me to kill, and they promise me that, if I serve them well, one day I, too, can become a god. All I have to do is kill. Not rapists or murderers or child molesters, but innocents.

Window of Darkness Duane E. Coffill

The creature's face was revolting. Slimy green mucus dripped from its ghastly jaw as it gazed at Mark and Marie with mesmerizing red eyes.

Needs rimshot to accompany the story's ending

Death Lights (A Lee Buhl Story) Glenn Rolfe

From the same world as Glenn's novel The Haunted Halls

Death Lights. Evil spirits that promised to take the living in exchange for bringing back the dead. They were tricksters, but far from your average poltergeist. They were not to be f*cked with. Fools thought they could control the conjured spirits, thought they could wield the power. It never worked that way.

Rare Birds Katherine Silva

Cool ending to a story about an amateur ornithologist.

In the Woods Dale T. Phillips

One of my favorite stories in a collection full of great tales

Noseeum Road, didn't ya?" "Yes, I did. By the way, I was curious. What's that road name mean? Some Native American name? I heard you've got some of those folks around still." The storekeeper chuckled. "The name's from some damn little bugs we get up this way. We call 'em no-see-ums because they'll bite ya, and you won't even see that they're there."

Cool dialog, too.

"You ain't telling me you're a Yankees fan, are ya?" "No, I don't follow baseball." The man rolled his eyes again. "Well, better that than loving the Yankees. Then we'd have to shoot ya for sure."

Sleep Tight E.J. Fechenda

The Ricci family purchases a house with a history.  A history unknown to them.  Their young son Ethan is continually awakened by a man a the foot of his bed.  A great ghost story from another author I get to read for the first time.

The Black Beast of Andover Joshua Goudreau

Another new author for me and a killer monster tale to boot.

Lovely Little Nash Leon Roy

A disturbing story of a fun trip gone dreadfully awry for friends Dorothy, Jackie, Frances, and Ruby who have their day interrupted by their love of a classic car and a signed contract.  No one ever reads the fine print.

Liars and Lies Angi Shearstone

A man is suspected of witchcraft, but the truth is so much darker and so much better.

Confession James Graham

A confession leaves a Priest with a crisis of conscience.  Another well-told tale with a great kicker.

The Phippsburg Screecher Lynda Styles

"If you're staying in the Basin, watch out the Screecher don't get ya."  A really good monster yarn.
In the Root Cellar GD Dearborn

A wonderful way to close the anthology with a tale of alien invaders.

With an anthology this large, there are bound to be some stories you love and almost alway there are a few clunkers.  I happy to say, while I didn't love every story, there were none I didn't like and overall Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine was a terrific reading experience.

Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine is published by Grinning Skull Press and is available in both paperback and e-book formats.

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