Edited by Dean M Drinkel
Publisher: Western Legends Publishing, 2013
C is for Chordewa: Pet Therapy by Jan Edwards tells of a demonic cat that feeds on the lives of the terminally ill in a hospice. I think it’s the grinding inevitability of death that gave me a chill for this one. Especially how some of the patients still try to make a stand against the death-dealer.
Tracie McBredie’s E is for Eisheth stands out for me mostly because I know that whenever she’s at the pen, I’m in for a treat. This was no exception. The story oozes a brooding, oozing dark sensuality; the demon Eisheth seduces humans and slowly steals their vitality. They are addicted to the very thing that is slowly killing them.
Simon Kurt Unsworth is a master of horror, and with his H is for Hrace, he’s certainly in top form with the creepiness factor. I’ll never quite look at a circle of standing stones in quite the same way again. Also, yikes, the oppressive atmosphere … it was a relief when, well … The totally unexpected happened.
My story is S is for Sitakh: Old Scratch will be a treat for those of you who’re familiar with my Books of Khepera. This little tale features my favourite unrepentant black magician, Jamie. The premise is simple: what if Christians who failed to exorcise a demon turned to a demon-possessed occult practitioner to do the job?
Of course things don’t quite according to plan for Jamie, and he has some unintended results. His solution to the problem is, well … inventive.
W is for Wolf: Urban Wolf by Sam Stone had an unexpected twist that I appreciated. Maybe it’s because I’m intimately acquainted with the advertising industry that I found this tale to be particularly nasty and delightful.
Granted, there are 26 stories collected here, so other readers are bound to find some that stand out more for them than others. Pulling together any anthology is no joke, and a lot of work goes into a project of this nature. (I’m speaking from personal experience here.)
So, if you’re looking for infernal entertainment of this kind, then this collection of brimstone-laced may offer you what you’re in the mood for. Even better, you might discover new authors who appeal to you (and that’s always good motivation to dip into a short story collection).