What one wouldn't do
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
Compiled and Edited by Scott J. Moses
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to look at an ARC of this book, thanks to Mother Horror, the list of contributing authors was the draw for me, there are some fantastic names included on the TOC, all collected together by the not inconsiderable talent of Scott J.Moses, and with a lush cover from George C.Cotronis, it really is not only eye candy, but candy for the soul. So, what can I tell you about the collection?
J.A.W. McCarthy heads the book, and it’s a fantastic opener. Necromancy, as seen from the pov of the person being reanimated. Fantastic work, it sets the tone for the rest of the book - that desperate need to do anything to bring back a loved one, hold onto a moment that was lost, regain something that has passed, only to have that thing come back but be soured, not what it was at first. That theme rings throughout the book, in as many different ways as there are authors.
The book is a mix, that’s generally the case in anthologies, what resonated with me will land short for others, and vice versa. I found myself spreading the book out over multiple sessions because I was taking notes on all of the stories, and being constantly impressed with the depth and range of shorts on offer here. And whilst most of the big names delivered fantastic atmospheric shorts– Ellis, McCarthy, McGregor, Hightower, LaRocca, it was the surprise firsts (for me) that made the book –
- Shane Douglas Keene’s fantastic poem Seven snapshots of a broken heart – I don’t really read poetry, but this resonated so well with me it made me want to try – that’s nothing short of miraculous given my previous distancing from the genre.
- Jena Brown’s brilliant underemphasized use of the indistinct gender – Their/they – for a character – this is the first use of that tag that I have seen in horror where the author did not make a point of spelling out the reasoning of that term of address – leaving the reader to complete the assumption, and making its use as normal as breathing – fantastic – exactly what we need more of in everyday literature. Other authors, please note - make genderless tags normal.
- J. V. Gach’s sentence “I am a coffin.” Ow. Shit. That hit home. Great line.
- Daniel Barnett’s wonderful wordplay. “And I wondered if knowing wasn’t the same as owning, just with an extra letter”. – outstanding, Daniel.
So, not only do we have a great range of short stories, we have some real gems in here to shine through. Stand out story? Phew. Man, that’s a tough one. LaRocca’s Werewolf short was a highlight, likewise Hightower’s Medium, and McCarthy’s necromancy made me want to read more, but I’m going to go with Daniel Barnett’s Wishing well for pure atmosphere. Hell, the man can write.
A great collection to be savored, not rushed. 4 ⭐'s from me, and many more Authors to buy from.
My thanks to both Scott Moses and Sadie Hartmann for my ARC copy and a week of staying up late to see “what one wouldn’t do…”
You can buy What one wouldn't do by clicking on the Amazon store appropriate to you.