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A Mixed Bag of Enthusiastic Women Writers


Horror Stories by Women Writers

compiled by Reyna Young

edited by Suzie Lockhart, 2020

This ambitious anthology contains stories from 13 horror authors, some well-established, most up-and-coming. The authors are all women, who have been making great contributions to the field since 1819.

It’s a mixed bag. There’s quite an assortment here, some good, a few great, a few weak, and at least one where I had not the slightest idea what I was reading.

One of these ladies writes her sentences in such a way that they could be taken multiple ways, depending on who she’s talking about—and that’s not made clear. It’s a trick that works if the goal is to create momentary confusion, but doing this throughout a story leaves the reader in a daze and one wonders if English is the author’s first language.

I’ll try to stay positive. “Bloody Rain” by Rie Sheridan Rose was one of the best stories in the book. A killer lurks in the fog-shrouded East End slums. A streetwalker knows he’s out there, watching, seeking yet another victim. Maybe it will be her.

Reyna Young’s “I Saw Her Last Night” was good, but the revelation at the end catapulted it into the category of great. It’s not often that a surprise ending actually surprises me while still making sense. I’d like to see a sequel.

“Danvers State” by Jennifer Nangle is an interesting tale about an authentic asylum in Massachusetts—and HP Lovecraft’s inspiration for the Arkham Sanitarium. A good story, but one character—the historian who wrote a book about the asylum and lectures on the subject—turns around and tells the heroine that the history of the place is just too terrible and should be hushed up. Sorry, that just doesn’t ring true. The ending of the story makes it one of the best in the book… but it still needs a final edit to fix several clunky sentences.

Maureen Whelan’s “Boulevard Souls” is a unique look at the night life of a lost woman. Giving her life over to alcohol and one-night stands, the heroine finds a haven in the dark. It’s a tale both dire and promising and easily the best piece in the book.

In Majorie DeHey’s “The Hello Motel”, the real-world horrors far outweigh the supernatural bits. The last story, “R.I.P. Tease” by Heidi Moore, offers your choice of two endings. Neither one is very good and the whole thing seems rushed.

So there you have it. Some very good stories and a few clunky ones give this book an overall score of 4 stars.


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