Slash-Her - A Women of Horror Anthology
I received an ARC of Slash-her through Mother Horror, Sadie Hartmann, who was kind enough to forward a copy to me in return for an honest opinion and review. My thanks to both her and the editors of the book, Janine Pipe and Jill Girardi for the review copy.
Slash her, as one can glean from the title, is a compilation of slasher tales. Primarily with female protagonists, and also primarily from the perspective of the slasher. I have to say, before going into the book, that I’m not a genre fan – slashers in movies aren’t really my thing, I think the visceral fear of being chased by another person whose sole intent is that I die, is traumatic. The violence is generally not justified, or at worse, not understandable. The logic is absent (in films) – it appears like mindless violence, obsessive hate.
The justification for that violence is key, paramount to the telling of the tale, and that key factor is where most of the writers in the anthology spend their talents. A lot of the answers the writers came up with were similar in theme – revenge violence – a previous wrong – a score to settle. Others went in a totally new direction – A helping hand from Peter Pan by Stephanie Rabig was a welcome respite, a boy ghost helping people commit atrocities they would never have considered – what a nice guy – all the while not knowing or understanding the horror he inflicted. Great perspective.
Cynthia Pelayo’s I hate slashers was another highlight, a comment on social media and slashers alike, divorcing the reader from the violence and almost making me sympathize with the standpoint that killing social media influencers was a noble cause. Ali Seay’s The one who won was wonderfully constructed, whilst it was – again – a story of revenge killing, the reveal of each individual’s crime in the original killing was slowly protracted from the story, to make each killing stand out against the others.
The butcher on the blue jay way by Hayley Newlin and The toe scene from Christine Morgan were both well done, though the latter was an extract from a longer work. Well written enough that I will be checking out both of their longer work, Take your turn Teddy has been patiently waiting on my kindle since I fell in love with its cover on release day – Ladies, I’m coming for you both. February, I hope.
Briana Morgan also provided a cracker for the anthology, I loved Railroad – very good, Briana. Villemey Mist provided a killing spree at a Tupperware party, the violence sudden and unexpected, almost comical in the setting, I wish we could have had a few jokes about the blood wiping right off the Tupperware – see how versatile it is? Nevertheless – again – a change of pace that made the gore somehow more palatable.
Stand out a story in the collection was You’re dying up there from Somer Canon. The prose was outstanding. The perspective is a delight, the construction of the story is magnificent. Somer, you’ve gone to the top of my list of Authors to check out. I loved the voice, the mood, the straight no-nonsense description of the violence, but the storytelling took the prize. The Anthology shined, but this elevated it all, and as the second story in the book, really whetted my appetite right at the beginning.
I have to say that I had reservations at the beginning of the book – there was a run of straight-up revenge-porn-gore-slasher shorts that touched on some sensitive side themes, there was sex, religion, straight-up gore. I made notes like “Splatterpunk – gore galore” or “Well written, but gore heavy” for example, and that’s going to turn some readers onto the book, and others away, but in all honesty, you know what you are buying from the name of the anthology alone.
I’m giving this a 4 out of 5 ⭐ ‘s, due to those stories I singled out that either put a signature spin on the genre or whose individual voices spoke to me. This book is brutal, gory, but intelligent, witty, and full of heart. I’d recommend reading the stories individually, one a night, just before you go to bed. Spread them out, enjoy them individually.
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