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The Dead Inside - edited by Laurel Hightower & Sandra Ruttan

I was really excited when the TOC of The Dead inside was mentioned some time ago on Twitter, not only because it had some names I knew but also because it held some authors that I had wanted to read for a while now, and this was a perfect opportunity to discover their voices. All of it wrapped up in a bow by having Laurel Hightower and Sandra Ruttan editing – Laurel – whose voice I had fallen in love with from Crossroads over a year ago, and Sandra, whose Bio on Goodreads is to die for and which is very similar to my own, minus the bombs. Go check that one out.

Ross Jeffery did the honors, going through every different story in his review on Goodreads, so I’ll cherry-pick and comment on the anthology as a whole. I have to say that this anthology feels massive. It has so many stories in it – 30 shorts and poems. It feels like an anthology and a half, you really are getting your money’s worth- weighing in with a whopping 422 pages long. I refer to Alan Moore’s definition of a good book – "It’s a good book if it can be used, say, in the middle of the night, to stun a burglar".

It can, not only by hitting them over the head but also by inviting them to read the contents. Kudos to both editors, there is a consistent feel of quality to the writing and presentation.

S.H.Cooper’s From Within sets the tone of the book and raises the storytelling bar. Paul Michael Anderson’s Detritus ensured I checked out his Goodreads page and bought Standalone – one of his many works – I loved the focus on character, the feeling of backstory, the bigger world Paul presented. Excellent work – It felt like a real-life story, with real-life concerns and a master at the helm. Mr. Anderson (not to get all matrix-y on you), I’ll be reading you soon. Superb work.

Highlights for me were discovering Robert Bagnall, Sarah Jackson & Marcus Woodman, all of whom I’ll read more from this year – I have you on my TBR list. Great shorts, folks. Mary Rajotte, Scott J. Moses, Eric Raglin, Patrick Tumblety and Katie Young (Authors I have previously read) all brought their A-games with pieces that impressed/revolted me, with the stand-out piece (highlight of the book) once again belonging to Daniel Barnett – his what friends are for was just wonderful to read, the prose raising the piece up into reader bliss once again. Keep them coming, Hal, I have to say that Marcus Woodman gave you a run for your money, Daniel, I do love a bit of body horror.

Honestly, the sheer amount of talent and cohesive quality of all of the pieces dictate my grading of the book, and it’s wrapped up in more Gemma Amor cover quality goodness, this is going to get a 5 out of 5 ⭐ ‘s. Thank you to Laurel Hightower and Sandra Ruttan and Dark Dispatch for the ARC copy


You can buy The Dead Inside by clicking on the Amazon appropriate to you below:


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