Night Terrors Anthology edited by Karen Henderson – review by Greg Chapman

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Night Terrors Anthology
Karen Henderson
Publisher: Kayelle Press
ISBN: 978-0-9808642-8-1 (pbk.) / 978-0-9808642-9-8 (eBook)
Published: 13th April, 2012
Pages: 256

If you’ve never read horror before and are looking for a good place to start, then Kayelle Press’ Night Terrors Anthology might be for you.

The 256-page anthology offers up 17 short tales of horror by authors from across the globe, including three classic stories.

As a whole the anthology delivers on its promise in providing some scares and suspense, but to me some of the tales were a little under-developed.

Perhaps there were a few too many vampire-related stories (three in all), but at least the vampires didn’t sparkle! JC Hemphill’s vamp story A World Not Our Own certainly delivered on mood and atmosphere. Hunting Shadows by Mike Brooks, had a Buffyesque quality to it, but the story’s hook – the introduction of the enigmatic aelfar – is over far too quickly. Maybe Brooks plans on returning to them in a longer format. The third vampire tale, Like Father, like Daughter, also had a lot of promise, but again was too short.

Don’t get me wrong there were a number of stand-out stories: Depths, by CJ Kemp was a very engaging tale about two boys who find an imaginary cave where they can stretch their imaginations. But this “Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders” becomes all the more menacing when one of the boy’s uses its power to rid himself of an abusive stepfather. Kemp gives the boys plenty of depth in the tale.

Hangman by Lisamarie Lamb was a delightfully disturbing twist on the Hangman game. This particular version of the game, however, is a favourite of a band of monsters who live in an attic of her new school. Things take a delicious turn when the little girl realises that if she spells out the name of one of her bullies, they meet a tragic end.

The only werewolf tale, Last Night in Biloxi, by Robert J Mendenhall, is a satisfying story of survival in the tradition of some of the old EC Comics: ignorant jerk intimidates poor old man, only to sufferer the severest of consequences; some of Mendenhall’s passages are truly blood-curdling.

Other stories worth noting were The Lucky Penny by Tim Jeffreys and Product 9 by Lindsey Goddard – the only tale with a sci-fi horror bent.

My pick of the bunch however (and this is solely based on the merit of the story) is the very last tale – Andrew J McKiernan’s White Lines, White Crosses. The story deals with the all-too-present horror of road deaths and the inevitable danger reckless youth can put themselves in behind the wheel.

McKiernan’s horror is more subtle and rooted in the psychological than its predecessors, focussing on the dire consequences of risk and how one tragedy can create an unstoppable domino effect. There is a supernatural element to the story, but if anything it takes a back seat, which IMHO was a good way to round off an anthology that maybe relied a little too much on common horror tropes.

- review by Greg Chapman

Night Terrors TOC announced – news

“What would you do if you received a phone call from a dead person? Or if aliens and zombies were killing everyone you loved? Or if your best friend offered you as a sacrifice? Or if you discovered a family secret that you’d prefer not to know? Do you know what’s waiting for you in the attic? Or at the cemetery? How would you react to the pressure of being pushed over the limit because you desperately wanted to fit in? How would you feel being locked in the dark with a hungry creature outside wanting … you? And can the children and the ancient ones really be trusted?”

The table of contents for Night Terrors, the new anthology from Kayelle Press has been announced and includes the following stories and authors:

  • A World Not Our Own by JC Hemphill
  • Corridors by Carole Hall
  • Death Crone by Jonathan Shipley
  • A Ghost Story by Mark Twain
  • Depths by C. I. Kemp
  • Failed Sacrifice by Sabrina West
  • Hangman by Lisamarie Lamb
  • Hunting Shadows by Mike Brooks
  • The Dead Girl by Guy de Maupassant
  • Last Night in Biloxi by Robert J. Mendenhall
  • Like Father Like Daughter by Robert Essig
  • No Man’s Land by Stephen Patrick
  • Product 9 by Lindsey Goddard
  • The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Share the Love by Chris Donahue
  • The Lucky Penny by Tim Jeffreys
  • White Lines, White Crosses by Andrew J McKiernan

Night Terrors Anthology is due for a March 2012 release in both e-book and paperback formats.

For more information, visit the Kayelle Press website: