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Wag The Fox

a genre mutt's den for dark fiction

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Michael McBride
Knuckleball (One Eye Press Singles)
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Tokyo Raider: A Tale of the Grimnoir Chronicles
Larry Correia, Bronson Pinchot
The Boy Who Killed Demons
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Police Procedure & Investigation: A Guide for Writers (Howdunit )
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Evil Dark: An Occult Crime Unit Investigation (Occult Crimes Unit)
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Howdunit Book of Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers
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Dark Screams: Volume One

Dark Screams: Volume One - Brian James Freeman, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, Richard Chizmar, Stephen King It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

I think that saying sums up this little anthology of horror stories fairly well. It's not a big book, weighing in under a hundred pages, but it's ten pounds of darkness in a five pound bag. Okay, okay, I'm getting a little too crazy with the metaphors too early.

Kicking off the fun is Stephen King, probably a guy who is as good at writing a short story as he is famous for writing his novels. "Weeds" may not be at the tippy-top of King's best short works, but if you enjoy the more monstrously weird tales he's come out with over the years, like "Battleground" for instance, then this tale of a fella freaking out over a pernicious fungus in his yard should be right up your alley.

One of the more viscerally charged stories was Kelley Armstrong's "The Price You Pay." While the narration is somewhat cut-and-dry, the wallop at the end delivered and psycho thrillers seem to me like a hard thing to pull off in short fiction a lot of the time. This one does a real good job of it.

A couple notable stories from Bill Pronzini and Simon Clark, whose novels I keep meaning to read, appear as well. And then things are capped off with the legendary Ramsey Campbell. This one just harkens back to one of the most tried-and-true setups in horror, that being the child and the elderly guardian and the thing that goes bump in the night. From that, there's a million ways to spin the tale, and Mr. Campbell does a heckuva job doing it here.

Folks who go in for short stories may be looking for something more expansive than five stories, but bear in mind this is but the first volume and a top notch one at that. I believe the second volume is slated for a spring release, which gives enough time to read one story every couple of weeks and salivate over reading the next batch. I know I will.