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There are Things - terrifying Things - whispered of in darkened forests beyond the safe comfort of firelight: The Black Guide, the Broken Ouroboros, the Pageant, Belphegor, Old Leech... These Things have always been here. They predate you. They will outlast you. This book pays tribute to those Things. For We are the Children of Old Leech...and we love you.


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There are Things - terrifying Things - whispered of in darkened forests beyond the safe comfort of firelight: The Black Guide, the Broken Ouroboros, the Pageant, Belphegor, Old Leech... These Things have always been here. They predate you. They will outlast you. This book pays tribute to those Things. For We are the Children of Old Leech...and we love you.

30 review for The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    October spooky read #11! Getting a copy of this book was basically admitting to myself that Laird Barron has joined Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Becky Chambers, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Catherynne M. Valente and a handful of other writers I fangirl about shamelessly. Obviously, I am not the only one who feels this way, or such a collection would never have been put together! It was the perfect conclusion to my October spooky reads marathon. You see, I sometimes feel like a jaded husk of a human being b October spooky read #11! Getting a copy of this book was basically admitting to myself that Laird Barron has joined Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Becky Chambers, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Catherynne M. Valente and a handful of other writers I fangirl about shamelessly. Obviously, I am not the only one who feels this way, or such a collection would never have been put together! It was the perfect conclusion to my October spooky reads marathon. You see, I sometimes feel like a jaded husk of a human being because watching the news has made reading horror stories feel a lot less scary than it used to be. But Barron’s stuff is haunting in so many ways, and some pretty damn talented writers created amazing homages to his work with this anthology. You can enjoy this collection without having read Barron’s stories before, but you will probably enjoy them much more if you have; a few places and characters get revisited. The themes of suppressed memories, isolation, insanity, badly concealed secrets, humans who aren’t quite what they seem, rural isolation, decrepit buildings with ominous histories: the good stuff that I adore about Barron’s stories are present here, reworked in each contributors’ voice. The stories are rich and clever, and only get better the more you think about them. The strand-outs were: -Gemma Flies’ creepy tale of “archaeology”: a literal slow descend into madness in one’s own backyard, in the creepiest setting in the world: Mississauga, Ontario (well, its scary to Montrealers anyway)! I loved the references to trepanning, the antiquated surgical procedure of drilling a hole in someone’s skull to let out the humors and relieve headaches. -Orrin Grey’s intriguing venture into high-end art scenes and their peculiar parties. I loved the way the narrator has no identity whatsoever in this tale, they have only one function: to be our eyes, to bear witness to whatever strange event took place as an eccentric, artistically inclined man gathers his entourage for a party where a film by Eadweard Muybridge will be projected. Maybe the Muses have dark sisters somewhere? -Molly Tanzer’s parody of academic correspondence is as funny and accurate in terms of how academics communicate with each other, as it is creepy. Pass the dairy-free donuts. -Jeffrey Thomas’ tale of expats indulging in certain vices they should have avoided. Is there any isolation sharper than being alone in a foreign land? I had heard of snake wine before and I was already not inclined to try it should I ever travel through Asia – now I know I’ll politely decline if it’s ever offered to me. -Cody Goodfellow's train-hopping crust punk's misadventures; how much that guy loves his dog almost broke my heart. -And of course, John Langan’s wonderful story of a woman with PTSD who takes a strange contract working for an eccentric millionaire who takes her to a remote and eerie diamond mine, with a perfect callback to one of my favorite stories from Barron’s collections. If you like Barron’s work as much as I do, or even if you simply enjoy strange, creepy and ambiguous horror short stories, do not miss this little collection! A wonderful (if slightly uneven) end to my October spooky reads marathon.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Ward

    This is a smashing collection. I want to say many things about it -- how each story is well chosen, each completely different from one another, yet all live in that terrifying, unique universe Laird Barron has birthed -- but no time for thoughtful gushing today. Just wanted to give The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron a big fat 5 star rating immediately. I will better review in a couple of days. This is a smashing collection. I want to say many things about it -- how each story is well chosen, each completely different from one another, yet all live in that terrifying, unique universe Laird Barron has birthed -- but no time for thoughtful gushing today. Just wanted to give The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron a big fat 5 star rating immediately. I will better review in a couple of days.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Benito Corral

    As I've recently stated, I've been trying to catch up and read all of Laird Barron's works. The man's writing is magnificent; it draws you in and doesn't let you go easily. I've found myself more than once reading the last page, closing the book and then simply laying there, absorbing what I'd just read. Embracing the weird. Relishing the dread. Apparently I wasn't the only one so transfixed. Ross Lockhart, editor extraordinaire from Word Horde, and Justin Steele, author of the wonderful blog The As I've recently stated, I've been trying to catch up and read all of Laird Barron's works. The man's writing is magnificent; it draws you in and doesn't let you go easily. I've found myself more than once reading the last page, closing the book and then simply laying there, absorbing what I'd just read. Embracing the weird. Relishing the dread. Apparently I wasn't the only one so transfixed. Ross Lockhart, editor extraordinaire from Word Horde, and Justin Steele, author of the wonderful blog The Arkham Digest, have gathered together a stellar list of speculative fiction writers to pay tribute to the inimitable Mr Barron. With The Children of Old Leech, Lockhart and Steele have not only assembled a brilliant collection of dark, weird fiction but they also present a truly fitting homage to a writer whose imprint on the horror and weird fiction genres is epic. Each story in The Children of Old Leech leads you deeper and deeper into the "carnivorous cosmos" of Laird Barron; all the authors here have crafted glorious tributes to the master, faithfully plumbing his Mythos to create a truly stunning collection. Each story is indeed worthy of its own review; here are my favorites: The Harrow by Gemma Files opens the collection with a dark story that descends into true horror at the end. Sets the bar high for the following tales, loved it. Orrin Grey is a writer who I find myself enjoying more and more. Walpurgisnacht continues that trend, telling the story of a revel held for a retiring artist that turns into quite another kind of celebration. Snake Wine by Jeffrey Thomas takes us to Vietnam and an ex-pat pub owner from Melbourne who is seduced by an exotic young woman What follows after their night of passion is an increasingly sinister mystery told with frightening imagery. Both Love Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox and Firedancing feature protagonists that are caught up in the rapturous spell of their worldly mentors, leading them to higher places and unknown fates. In Love Songs, T.E. Grau perfectly captures the feeling of the 1950s and delivers a truly horrifying climax. Meanwhile, in Firedancing, Michael Griffin presents a dark tale of art, relationships and enlightment. A nice one, two punch. Reading Cody Goodfellow's Of a Thousand Cuts made me squirm. Which for me is the sign of a story that is really getting under my skin with its imagery and language. A good sign. Excellent story, masterful storytelling. And finally, my favorite jewel in this dark treasure chest, John Langan's Ymir. The story acts a continuation of Barron's classic "Hallucigenia" and revisits the story of Wallace and Helen Smith and the mysterious Choate clan brilliantly. Langan channels Barron here so completely and the climax is so stunning that the reader is left breathless. The Children of Old Leech is a triumph for Lockhart and Steele, and a tremendous gift for purveyors of dark fiction. Look for this volume to be on multiple "best of" lists this year. Mr Barron would be proud! Happy reading!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lou Columbus

    I read lots and lots of weird fiction and horror. Anthologies are something I especially gravitate towards, because they allow you to sample the work of different authors. They also typically are centered around a particular theme or subject. The subject of THIS anthology of course, is the literary world created by author Laird Barron. While I wouldn't say it's imperative that you've read any of Mr. Barron's work prior to reading this anthology, I would suggest it. Without at least a minimal fam I read lots and lots of weird fiction and horror. Anthologies are something I especially gravitate towards, because they allow you to sample the work of different authors. They also typically are centered around a particular theme or subject. The subject of THIS anthology of course, is the literary world created by author Laird Barron. While I wouldn't say it's imperative that you've read any of Mr. Barron's work prior to reading this anthology, I would suggest it. Without at least a minimal familiarity of his style and perspective, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the outright strangeness in many of these tales. Which brings me to another point; if you buy this because one or more of your favorite authors are in it, don't necessarily expect their stories to be what you're used to. Each contributor in this book took the assignment deadly serious, to the point where I would not have recognized their work, had their name not been on the title page. Things kick off strong with Gemma Files "The Harrow", a tale I find myself still thinking about, weeks after reading it. You can read other reviews that give you an overview of each story, so I will simply say that there is no filler in the bunch. I can't recall the last time I've read a collection of such quality. Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele have raised the bar extremely high for anthologies in the future. Every author who contributed also gave their best and it no doubt is a result of the respect and admiration they all share for Laird Barron. Oh, and one more thing, the introduction by Justin may be the most entertaining I've ever read. It really could be considered a bonus story. Wait a minute! I didn't mention the aesthetic beauty of the printed book itself and the faux damaged cover. Well, never mind, just go buy your own copy already.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    Just started reading, but as an aside, may I note: this is an exceedingly lovely book. There's a weight to the covers, the images of distressing are lovely, and the endpapers are thick enough to slice a finger if you caught them the wrong way. I realize this does not technically add to the stories--which are excellent so far--but it's nice to see them given appropriate presentation. (Finished, but having worked 33+ hours so far this week and commuted 12+ hours, I am going to have to put a pin in t Just started reading, but as an aside, may I note: this is an exceedingly lovely book. There's a weight to the covers, the images of distressing are lovely, and the endpapers are thick enough to slice a finger if you caught them the wrong way. I realize this does not technically add to the stories--which are excellent so far--but it's nice to see them given appropriate presentation. (Finished, but having worked 33+ hours so far this week and commuted 12+ hours, I am going to have to put a pin in this to review it later.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    *Full disclosure: I have one story in the anthology* I have to admit, I was a little worried the stories would be one-note or pastiche (like mine! hahaha...haha...ha...um...yeah), but they are not. The anthology is a creepy and at times flat-out-fun array of horror stories written in the spirit of a Laird Barron's cosmic horror universe. And the physical book itself is a beauty. *Full disclosure: I have one story in the anthology* I have to admit, I was a little worried the stories would be one-note or pastiche (like mine! hahaha...haha...ha...um...yeah), but they are not. The anthology is a creepy and at times flat-out-fun array of horror stories written in the spirit of a Laird Barron's cosmic horror universe. And the physical book itself is a beauty.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    A wonderful collection and fitting tribute to a man who is changing the face of genre fiction with every release. Full review can be found here: http://smashdragons.blogspot.com.au/2... A wonderful collection and fitting tribute to a man who is changing the face of genre fiction with every release. Full review can be found here: http://smashdragons.blogspot.com.au/2...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    The Children of Old Leech was an easy sell for me: a tribute anthology to an author whose writing consistently amazes me, a set of editors whose taste I trust in, and a table of contents full of recognizable and exciting names. It's safe to say that my expectations were high going in. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I closed the book with a list of authors whose books I'd have to track down immediately (a list that would include any future Lockhart/Steele anthologies, if they're thinking of coll The Children of Old Leech was an easy sell for me: a tribute anthology to an author whose writing consistently amazes me, a set of editors whose taste I trust in, and a table of contents full of recognizable and exciting names. It's safe to say that my expectations were high going in. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I closed the book with a list of authors whose books I'd have to track down immediately (a list that would include any future Lockhart/Steele anthologies, if they're thinking of collaborating again). As with any anthology, some stories did not quite work for me, but the standard of quality here was consistently high, and I think any reader who picks up the collection will be pleased. I want to talk about a couple of my favorites. Gemma Files's "The Harrow" opens the collection with the story of a woman who unearths a carved totem from her new backyard and then undertakes a massive digging project. The darkness of the imagery and the increasingly unnerving deepness of the hole contrasts well with the suburban life she lives above-ground, and even highlights some of the subtly disconcerting things there (her husband doesn't ask what she's done all day at home, as long as dinner's ready), and as always with Files, the prose is astonishing. Orrin Grey's "Walpurgisnacht" is about artists, decadence, and terror, and it's told with ambiguity and real emotion that gives it a lingering sadness to bolster its horror. The ending is a kick in the teeth. Grey gets extra points, too, for taking a concept that seems to have been handled before and imbuing it with freshness, surprise, and new details of terror (what happens to the painting on the night in question is just subtle enough to be far worse than anything more overt). Molly Tanzer's "Good Lord, Show Me the Way" is a terrific black comedy that really bites, told entirely through a chain of emails bouncing back and forth concerning a doctoral's students looming pre-defense, for which she may be unprepared. Her thesis heavily involves a cult that was native to her own hometown. Tanzer's craft here is really something to behold, as she carefully and invisibly lays her groundwork for a terrifying denouement even as academics bicker about donuts. And the ending is perfect. Richard Gavin's "The Old Pageant" is sheer, stripped-down unease from beginning to end and captures maybe better than anything else I've read the strange feeling of being alone and feeling watched in the woods. It's about a man and woman who go to the woman's disused family cabin, where she tells him a story about a "game" her grandmother introduced her to. Really falls under "true evil is when a rose begins to sing" in horror themes and handles it amazingly well. Daniel Mills's "The Woman in the Woods" is a perfectly-detailed piece of historical fiction about a boy sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the country for unspecified and implicitly awful reasons. There, he finds himself bedeviled by visions of a woman who represents both seduction and murder. Mills is great with historical touches, such as the religious imagery running throughout, and the piece is absolutely convincing. Stephen Graham Jones's "Brushdogs" is another out-in-the-woods story, this time about a father and son who find both a place of slaughter and a collection of cairns on their hunting trip. The imagery here is astonishing, original and powerful. Those last two paragraphs, in particular, are absolutely haunting. Finally, John Langan's "Ymir" has force and mythological resonance, and packs a real wallop as it tells of a woman (a former Iraq private contractor) who finds herself working as bodyguard for an eccentric rich man just as he's finally tracked down the man responsible for his friend's death--a man convinced he can transcend humanity by tapping into the universe and death itself. It's as powerful, from the evocation of Marissa's guilt to her demonstration of loyalty, as most novels, and, like most of the pieces I've mentioned, it has a spectacular ending. Those were my favorites, but the overall writing here is so strong that I think it's entirely plausible someone else could read this collection and name a completely different set as their personal best. This isn't just a must-read collection for Barron fans, it's a must-read for anyone who loves horror short story writing in general (although, you know, that should also make you a bit of a Barron fan. Just saying).

  9. 4 out of 5

    M Griffin

    DISCLAIMER: My story "Firedancing" appears in this book. My rating is for the rest of the book, not including my own story. This Laird Barron tribute anthology is strong all the way through, with not a single weak or out of place contribution, and seems to me one of the best few anthologies of the last five years. The various writers have taken many different approaches to paying tribute to Barron's work, borrowing themes, settings or just "feel." I think this book will end up being a strong cont DISCLAIMER: My story "Firedancing" appears in this book. My rating is for the rest of the book, not including my own story. This Laird Barron tribute anthology is strong all the way through, with not a single weak or out of place contribution, and seems to me one of the best few anthologies of the last five years. The various writers have taken many different approaches to paying tribute to Barron's work, borrowing themes, settings or just "feel." I think this book will end up being a strong contender for the book of the year, and should appear on awards ballots.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan

    Ohhh!!! WOW!!! This was ONE of the BEST Horror Anthology EVER!!!! Only with the last story it was hard to get into, but the rest were...Mind Blowing!!! ...so to speak... The Horrors, the Unknown, the Unspeakable, the Foreign Thing, the Witchcraft, you`ll find it all here. Don`t search anywhere else. Atomic stuff! And I was more amazed when I found out that all the stories are originals to this Anthology!...Yes,definitely I have to read more Laird Barron. And also the the vast majority of the texts a Ohhh!!! WOW!!! This was ONE of the BEST Horror Anthology EVER!!!! Only with the last story it was hard to get into, but the rest were...Mind Blowing!!! ...so to speak... The Horrors, the Unknown, the Unspeakable, the Foreign Thing, the Witchcraft, you`ll find it all here. Don`t search anywhere else. Atomic stuff! And I was more amazed when I found out that all the stories are originals to this Anthology!...Yes,definitely I have to read more Laird Barron. And also the the vast majority of the texts are not very big in length... This is the second Anthology by Ross E. Lockhart that I read and I fully agree that he has made a Hell of a Job! This GUY has a great NOSE to pick up great stories or good authors to do them. Congratulations! Datlow and others would definitely have something to learn from him! WOW! WOW!! WOW!!! Highly Recommended for all the Horror fans out there!

  11. 5 out of 5

    David Bjorne

    A fantastic collection of stories written in tribute to Laird Barron.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Orrin Grey

    Full Disclosure: This volume contains my story "Walpurgisnacht." For the second anthology from Ross Lockhart's Word Horde imprint, he and co-editor Justin Steele choose to honor the "carnivorous cosmos" of one of the finest living practitioners of the weird tale, Laird Barron. It's perhaps a ballsy move, but also a logical one, the kind that seems so obvious the minute it's mentioned to you. Like with Tales of Jack the Ripper, they'e assembled a truly stellar cast of bright lights of the weird fic Full Disclosure: This volume contains my story "Walpurgisnacht." For the second anthology from Ross Lockhart's Word Horde imprint, he and co-editor Justin Steele choose to honor the "carnivorous cosmos" of one of the finest living practitioners of the weird tale, Laird Barron. It's perhaps a ballsy move, but also a logical one, the kind that seems so obvious the minute it's mentioned to you. Like with Tales of Jack the Ripper, they'e assembled a truly stellar cast of bright lights of the weird fiction field to pay tribute to Laird, and they also let me slip in somehow. It's a book that's packed with standout stories, and there's pretty much not a dud in the bunch. Perhaps most impressive, nobody is simply content to ape Laird, and every single story can be enjoyed, I think, without a prior knowledge of his body of work, though said knowledge will up the enjoyment quotient considerably. Nobody is sleep-walking through their story, or taking the easy road. Virtually ever tale is a near-perfect evocation of Laird's "carnivorous cosmos," while still staying true to the style of the individual authors; a considerable accomplishment. It's a book that I think is going to get a lot of well-deserved attention, and one that I'm proud to be a part of.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    Like several of the books I read this year, I read this one "wrong" [if by "right" you mean "in a way that enables you to review it, later"]. I read a portion of it, the first five stories, in June, and of that portion, I only recall two really well: Gemma Files "Harrow"—which I liked even though I felt the ending needed a tad bit of resculpting—and Molly Tanzer's "Good Lord, Show Me The Way"—which I liked more thoroughly, though I admit that the epistolary style might throw some. Of the other t Like several of the books I read this year, I read this one "wrong" [if by "right" you mean "in a way that enables you to review it, later"]. I read a portion of it, the first five stories, in June, and of that portion, I only recall two really well: Gemma Files "Harrow"—which I liked even though I felt the ending needed a tad bit of resculpting—and Molly Tanzer's "Good Lord, Show Me The Way"—which I liked more thoroughly, though I admit that the epistolary style might throw some. Of the other three? I have no idea, they may have walked into the dark space between dreams. Which brings me around to commentary about this collection as a concept rather than the individual stories. In the afterward, Ross Lockhart talks about his appreciation for Laird Barron's fiction, and how Justin Steele approached him [him = Lockhart] to make a single-author tribute anthology dedicated to Barron. Barron agreed, and The Children of the Old Leech was born. Weird fiction tribute anthologies are nothing new; in fact, you could argue that tributes are a major part of the weird genre—Lovecraft's near-/pastiches of his favorite writers led to his friends near-/pastiching him and him referencing them and the shared world of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos has been a major part of its ability to stick to the edges of popular culture. But Laird Barron's Imago Sequence, his collection of short stories that propelled him to awards and some fair attention from genre-lovers, came out in 2007. His first full novel, The Croning, was 2012 [the slightly-long-novella-length The Light is the Darkness was 2011]. This isn't merely a tribute anthology to a living author, this is a tribute anthology to a still-in-hardcover body of prose. The impact of such is only obvious when you compare it to many other tribute anthologies. Take one of Robert Price's Innsmouth anthos. There are some straightforward stories. There are some comical takes. There are some meta-analysis stories. You have those which take similar themes as "The Shadow of Innsmouth" but then twist them slightly to make them about psycho-sexual behavior, or about environmental issues. Similarly, Fred Chappell's immense Dagon is sort of a tribute to Innsmouth, but it is also a story about a particular type of breakdown inside of modern manhood. This sort of analysis takes time for people to get comfortable with the source, however, and how it fits into the larger "conversation". What you have here, then, is a series of generally good-to-great stories that never play too vigorously with the tropes nor constructions of Barron's worlds [arguably he has at least two, one of which is the "Old Leech" mythos] nor words and never try fully to recast either 1) Barron's creations in another writer's idioms or 2) another writers' creations in Barron's idioms. This is part of why I can't exactly remember stories I read five-or-so months ago, even though I enjoyed them at the time. Let's take a small handful of stories and spend some time with them as a way to mostly-end this review. – Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.'s "The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of Yesterdays" - Possibly my favorite in the book. Poetic and emotional, with a bit of dark and gritty. Perhaps problematic in that it turns the Old Leech mythos into something which can be called up for non-horrible reasons—for certain definitions of non-horrible—though the lack of an aftermath can allow for the reader to assume the worst. – Cody Goodfellow's "Of a Thousand Cuts" - somewhat unique to this collection in that it references The Light Is the Darkness rather than the Old Leech mythos, and does so with some amazingly overblown prose. Gets a bit esoteric by the end, but I liked it. – Paul Tremblay's "Notes for 'The Barn in the Wild'" - oddly, two different stories try very similar tricks with diary writing and crossed-out bits and "other voices"—this one and Daniel Mills' "The Woman in the Woods"—and of the two I prefer this one. Partially because it takes a bit to get going, partially because it is a "found footage" movie in story form. The end, as it does so in many of these, comes a bit too quickly but the structure is well done even if the plot is a tad perfunctory in places. – John Langan's "Ymir" - Probably the story that feels the most like a true sequel to Barron's world. It blends regret, strange science-horror [the "divine trepanning" metaphor is quite tasty], and bad-assedness in the right measures. – Finally, Stephen Graham Jones' "Brushdogs" - because it combines a bit of confusion and quiet heart-brokenness that flavors the back-end of many of Barron's stories, while staying low-key enough to never look away from it. A quite-good collection that Barron fans will enjoy, but I would wager not the definitive Barron tribute collection. That'll take a time and some distance to look back upon, and to see the crack and the cliffs and the mountains and the deep, dark oceans, to feel the geography more entirely, and to be willing to traverse in new paths, something that never quite happens here.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon Carroll Thomas

    I now have read more stories in tribute to Laird Barron than by him. I am currently trying to correct that balance. Beautiful hardcover, great authors, a few surprises. I still think that a Laird Barron tribute now is a little premature. This anthology probably would have functioned just as well without Barron's name on the cover. And I don't mean to say that Laird doesn't deserve recognition; he certainly does. I just felt too much like a horror hipster when friends and relatives would ask what I now have read more stories in tribute to Laird Barron than by him. I am currently trying to correct that balance. Beautiful hardcover, great authors, a few surprises. I still think that a Laird Barron tribute now is a little premature. This anthology probably would have functioned just as well without Barron's name on the cover. And I don't mean to say that Laird doesn't deserve recognition; he certainly does. I just felt too much like a horror hipster when friends and relatives would ask what I was reading and I would have to say, "a tribute anthology to Laird Barron; you probably never heard of him."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Waffles

    Usually I'm happy if I like half of the stories in an anthology. This is not a casting of aspersion on the editors - you can't make everyone happy with every choice. I typically give a good anthology 3 stars. This anthology is really strong. The stories are all well-written (even if not all of them are to my taste). The standouts for me were those by Orrin Grey, Richard Gavin, Joe Pulver, John Langan, Cody Goodfellow, and Scott Nicolay and Jesse Douthit-Nicolay. I could imagine Laird Barron writ Usually I'm happy if I like half of the stories in an anthology. This is not a casting of aspersion on the editors - you can't make everyone happy with every choice. I typically give a good anthology 3 stars. This anthology is really strong. The stories are all well-written (even if not all of them are to my taste). The standouts for me were those by Orrin Grey, Richard Gavin, Joe Pulver, John Langan, Cody Goodfellow, and Scott Nicolay and Jesse Douthit-Nicolay. I could imagine Laird Barron writing similar stories, but not these. Overall, an outstanding anthology.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    This review originally appeared on the Shock Totem blog: http://www.shocktotem.com/07/25/2014/... I approach most multiple-author anthologies skeptically, because more often than not, they turn out to be a mixed bag. This doesn’t necessarily mean they turn out to be bags full of crap—only that some of the stories may be good (or even great), and others—not so much. Co-edited by anthology wizard Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele (who conceived of this anthology), The Children of Old Leech is unfor This review originally appeared on the Shock Totem blog: http://www.shocktotem.com/07/25/2014/... I approach most multiple-author anthologies skeptically, because more often than not, they turn out to be a mixed bag. This doesn’t necessarily mean they turn out to be bags full of crap—only that some of the stories may be good (or even great), and others—not so much. Co-edited by anthology wizard Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele (who conceived of this anthology), The Children of Old Leech is unfortunately no exception to the mixed-bag phenomenon, but it’s an unusual one in that all of its stories are set in (or are otherwise inspired by) the terrifying worlds penned by the author Laird Barron. If you don’t know the works of Barron, I highly recommend you change that right now, and not just for the sake of this review. He’s an amazing writer, perfectly fluent in the language of nightmare, as well as of English. The world he sees and describes is, as the subtitle to this anthology suggests, a “carnivorous” one, wherein malignant forces aren’t merely waiting to creep into our collective consciousness and bring darkness over us all—such forces are already here, gleefully watching humankind blithely walk about in this illusion of light, sanity, and safety, just waiting for us to stumble into the dark that’s always all around us. When you read Barron, you discover that holes in trees and basement doors left ajar are doorways into the howling, bloody voids. Dark forces seem drawn to the Broadsword Hotel, set in Barron’s hometown-cum-playground of the Pacific Northwest. Copies of a mysterious book, Moderor de Caliginis, “The Black Guide,” a sort of unholy travel guide to these dark places, frequently pop up in his tales. And just how well, a character in one of his stories may ask you, do you really know that friend of yours, or even your loved one? Does that scar on their neck almost appear like a seam in a flesh-mask? Ah, but perhaps it is, and perhaps they are in fact a Child of the Old Leech themselves — but don’t worry, for they love you… So what of the seventeen authors’ respective tales in The Children of Old Leech, then? What else of Barron’s nightmarish world could be explored? Could there possibly be anybody but Mr. Barron himself whom could properly observe and tell tales of his “Pacific Northwest Mythos?” The answer, judging from this collection, is in fact largely a yes—and sometimes, a no. First of all, there are a bunch of solidly written stories that rightfully belong here, even if they aren’t immediately obvious in their inclusion. For instance, the opening tale, “The Harrow,” by Gemma Files, is a fine tale of building madness as a woman starts digging up strange artifacts from her backyard. Orrin Grey’s “Walpurgisnacht,” while reminiscent of the works of Klein, Brite, and even good ol’ Lovecraft in narrative, felt like a tale that would make Barron proud. And “Pale Apostle,” by J.T. Glover and Jesse Bullington, is a pulpy tale set in a Chinatown gift shop, with the “Barron-ian” vibes hovering just outside its closed windows. Then there are many stories that are far more obvious in their complements, and although not all of them worked (T.E. Grau’s “Love Songs From the Hydrogen Jukebox” was a little overlong in its buildup, and Michael Griffin’s “Firedancing” kind of lost its steam toward the end), some of them really nailed their tribute to Barron and neatly earn their places in this book. There were also a number of tales that made spins on traditional narrative. The mercurial prose of Jeffrey Thomas’s “Snake Wine” and Stephen Graham Jones’ “Brushdogs” made for reads that were every bit as hypnotic as they were eerie. Two tales even took a straight-up epistolary approach: “Good Lord, Show Me the Way,” by Molly Tanzer, which neatly wove a three-person e-mail conversation regarding a grad student’s questionable dissertation (and its mysterious aspects thereof), and Paul Tremblay’s “Notes For ‘The Barn In the Wild,’” a series of notes (and footnotes!) written by an ambitious explorer looking to make a new account of his excursions into nature, and the strange discovery he makes in the woods. Both of these tales were as psychologically engaging as they were creepy, and were among my favorites out of the whole collection. The story by Cody Goodfellow, “Of a Thousand Cuts,” is also of particular note, for the sheer fact that it is a spin on Barron’s often-overlooked short novel, The Light Is the Darkness. If you haven’t read that novel, I’d highly recommend you do so before jumping into this punchy tale. And then there was John Langan’s “Ymir.” The only thing I could say after I finished reading that one was “Wow.” The amount of locations and even subgenres that it dexterously navigated was almost dizzying—and it was a short story, for crying out loud! And like the other tales I most enjoyed here, while I seriously didn’t quite understand what I experienced in its hallucinatory whorls of mesmerizing prose, I got enough out of it to know it was one hell of a cool ride. (Points also to one of its key characters being named Barry.) Ultimately, these seventeen tales were mere candles held up in the middle of yawning, pitch-black caverns, catching mere outlines and glimpses of that “Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All.” Laird Barron will return with a new, definitive tale (or collection of tales) of madness soon enough, I’m sure — but in the meantime, this is a nice appetizer from fans and for fans of the master navigator of our blackened world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    So I actually haven't read anything by Laird Barron, and didn't really know who he was until I'd read the first bit of this and went to look him up. I picked this collection up on the strength of the title (which is great) and the inclusion of stories by Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer. I had only vaguely heard of a couple of other authors. It's interesting to imagine what Barron's writing is like from this tribute; despite the wide range of stories, there's a fairly clear MO. One of the revie So I actually haven't read anything by Laird Barron, and didn't really know who he was until I'd read the first bit of this and went to look him up. I picked this collection up on the strength of the title (which is great) and the inclusion of stories by Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer. I had only vaguely heard of a couple of other authors. It's interesting to imagine what Barron's writing is like from this tribute; despite the wide range of stories, there's a fairly clear MO. One of the reviews or foreword pieces I read (I can't find it now :<) suggested that readers coming in without being familiar with Barron might find the strangeness a bit overwhelming; this was sort of the opposite of my experience. Unlike most books, Old Leech is pretty close to exactly what my brain had conjured up from the title and context. It's Lovecraft by way of Kerouac and Krakauer (both of whom get very specific homages in this collection), a focus on the bloody, meaty, and wormy, and with an update to contemporary standards of evocative writing and solid characterization. That's a cozily familiar aesthetic for me on all fronts, to the point that I'd say Old Leech represents the perfect balance between "I wish I'd written this" and "I think I could write something that would fit in here." Because it's an anthology of short stories, none of the entries in Old Leech go very far into the "carnivorous cosmos." Most are build-ups to the reveal of some gruesome and horrible perversion of reality. As an anthology of weird fiction, such reveals aren't really reveals, and after a certain point it becomes a bit tiresome to constantly go up to the brink and never go farther. The "carnivorous cosmos" has a lot of echoes of the Souls games, especially Dark Souls 3 (both Demon's Souls and DS3 have enemies that are just more or less anthropomorphic piles of leeches) and those games really let you soak in a world where these stories just tease it. So the strength of the stories (and this is true for pretty much any weird horror regardless of that preamble) depends entirely on how well they pace and foreshadow their buildup, how much imagination and imagery and personality they can throw on the formula. And a few of them are really phenomenal. JT Glover and Jesse Bullington's story stands out head and shoulders above the rest, with a strong protagonist and unique setting (feels like a riff on Vermilion) and especially a really rich visual and biological imagination. Gemma Files' The Harrow stands out as well for the simple but vivid weirdness that pervades it throughout. Molly Tanzer, Paul Tremblay, and Richard Gavin also have good stories, pulling off nontraditional structures effectively. I was underwhelmed by some, especially the more Kerouac-esque entries. Orrin Grey's story wished it was a film, wasting time describing things characters were watching without really giving the same impact to the reader. TE Grau's story tried to square a straight Kerouac pastiche with a weird cult story; it almost works at moments, where the omnivorous spiritualism of the Beats meets something ready to eat back, but ultimately the story feels too linear and the end too rote to be satisfying. Ditto Griffin's Firedancing. Of that set, Snake Wine and Tenebrionidae worked the best for me, but almost felt like it was squished down from a full novel. Cody Goodfellow's story is an odd duck, definitely feels like it stumbled in from someone else's tribute anthology. Collectively, they sketch out a mythos that feels satisfying in both its familiarity and its creativity, bringing a diversity of new perspectives and story structures (it's so nice that everyone isn't a melancholy aristocrat or a discredited academic chasing forbidden knowledge). It's definitely sold me on checking on Laird Barron's own work ASAP, and I'll probably look out for some of the better authors in this collection in the future too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Palacios Kindelan

    really wonderful tribute collection that range from funny to scary. I hope Mr. Barron feels proud, this was a fine tribute. My personal favorite stories were the ones by Molly Tanzer, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan and Jeffrey Thomas. Props to Ross Lockhart for an amazing editing job, as usual.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shawn C. Baker

    The Children of Old Leech is a fantastic anthology that plays with/pays homage to the man who is - for my money - the king of modern "weird" fiction. Laird Barron's work - over the course of three anthologies, one novella and one novel - has wormed its way into my heart and my brain more severly than any other writer of weird or phantasmagorical fiction. There's something so pragmatic about Barron's writing that it feels as though it effortlessly taps some archetypal, primal thoroughfare of huma The Children of Old Leech is a fantastic anthology that plays with/pays homage to the man who is - for my money - the king of modern "weird" fiction. Laird Barron's work - over the course of three anthologies, one novella and one novel - has wormed its way into my heart and my brain more severly than any other writer of weird or phantasmagorical fiction. There's something so pragmatic about Barron's writing that it feels as though it effortlessly taps some archetypal, primal thoroughfare of human need or desire to be scared. Not scared in a transient, scary movie way (and I LOVE scary movies so that is not a knock on 'em). Barron's execution is something more clinical. So much so that in this Ross E. Lockhart/Justin Steele edited edition where other writers play in Mr. Barron's sandbox, you don't get that same feeling you get with a lot of other tribute anthologies. This isn't a succession of talented folks riffing on the parameters of a mythos, this is a succession of very talented folks working through their own joyful yet unnerving responses to Barron's work, working through it because they've realized that when you fall into Mr. Barron's work you identify with it, even the severly 'outer' elements of it, and you wake in the middle of the night and have to walk to the kitchen and open a beer or down a mouthful of whiskey because, well, as much as you love the writing you're not quite sure why you identify with it so much. Identifying with this stuff says a lot about what might or might not lurk in the deep recesses of our lizard brains - the parts of us that affect our daily operations in ways we don't know of or understand. And that's creepy. So are ALL the stories in The Children of Old Leech. And they're familiar. And they're timeless. Just like Mr. Barron's work. Good show Word Horde!

  20. 5 out of 5

    James

    I'll be giving a full review on Blackgate.com soon; but let me say here that this is one of the best weird/horror anthologies I've ever read! H. P. Lovecraft was known to encourage other authors to write in his fictional world. It's cool to see this sort of thing happening around Laird Barron's fictional world as well. But the authors in this anthology did more than just write stories set in Barron's universe, most of them really nailed the feel and bite of it as well. I hope we'll be seeing more I'll be giving a full review on Blackgate.com soon; but let me say here that this is one of the best weird/horror anthologies I've ever read! H. P. Lovecraft was known to encourage other authors to write in his fictional world. It's cool to see this sort of thing happening around Laird Barron's fictional world as well. But the authors in this anthology did more than just write stories set in Barron's universe, most of them really nailed the feel and bite of it as well. I hope we'll be seeing more Barronian anthologies in the future! Excellent job Mr. Lockhart and Mr. Steele (the editors).

  21. 5 out of 5

    C. Varn

    Uneven but enjoyable. Uneven but largely enjoyable. Lockhart's afterward makes it clear with a Laird Barron story is as Barron has a muscular realism to his language and a grit to his protagonists more than any unified mythos--although certain tales have consistency. Different authors focus on different elements of this to some great effect. John Langan's story is particularly memorable. Uneven but enjoyable. Uneven but largely enjoyable. Lockhart's afterward makes it clear with a Laird Barron story is as Barron has a muscular realism to his language and a grit to his protagonists more than any unified mythos--although certain tales have consistency. Different authors focus on different elements of this to some great effect. John Langan's story is particularly memorable.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I will be honest and say that I bought this book because of the cover and of course because I like Laird Barron. I'm a sucker for a pretty face and often I find myself feeling buyers remorse when the content does not reflect the cover. Not in this case. I was only familiar with one of the contributors, Gemma Files. As expected, Gemma did not disappoint with her story called "The Harrow." My favorite tale in this collection was called "Good Lord, Show Me The Way," by Molly Tanzer. It is offered u I will be honest and say that I bought this book because of the cover and of course because I like Laird Barron. I'm a sucker for a pretty face and often I find myself feeling buyers remorse when the content does not reflect the cover. Not in this case. I was only familiar with one of the contributors, Gemma Files. As expected, Gemma did not disappoint with her story called "The Harrow." My favorite tale in this collection was called "Good Lord, Show Me The Way," by Molly Tanzer. It is offered up as a series of emails, texts and notes shared among the members of a university pre-defense committee and a young woman named Jennifer Altman. There is information given but much of the story is left to our imagination in a way that is so clever, you almost feel like you read it in one of the messages. Molly manipulates words and thoughts and suggestions in a most successful and artful way. There are no weak stories in this collection, none that you will pass up or not finish. I have a few books that I keep by my bedside for those times when I am in between reads and want an old friend. This anthology is now amongst those books. Oh, and did I mention how much I like the cover?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    In my world, anything Laird Barron-related or -adjacent is aces. "The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron" is no exception. Whether building on Barron's current mythos, putting a new spin on it, or blowing it wide open, the stories in this anthology strike a perfect chord with what Barron has already created. Standout stories for me were: "Walpurgisnacht" - if there is one thing I love more than horror stories about witches, it is a horror story about witche In my world, anything Laird Barron-related or -adjacent is aces. "The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron" is no exception. Whether building on Barron's current mythos, putting a new spin on it, or blowing it wide open, the stories in this anthology strike a perfect chord with what Barron has already created. Standout stories for me were: "Walpurgisnacht" - if there is one thing I love more than horror stories about witches, it is a horror story about witches, mysterious artists, and weird, clandestine parties. This story has it all. "Love Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox" - the Barron mythos marries into the Beat Generation, literary creepers like myself rejoice and do strange dances. "Notes for: "The Barn in the Wild"" - this story was a delightfully eerie extension of Barron's story "Hallucigenia" from "The Imago Sequence and Other Stories," revisiting the barn where some bad shit went down. "Tenebrionidae" - this one filled me with anxiety the whole time I was reading it. Like, if I wasn't careful and vigilant, something might abduct my soul. Beware of The Black Guide.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul Roberts

    Editors Lockhart & Steele have produced a very strong collection of terrors inspired by the Barron mythos. Standouts from a first reading: "The Harrow" Gemma Files "Good Lord, Show Me the Way" Molly Tanzer "Firedancing" Michael Griffin "Of a Thousand Cuts" Cody Goodfellow "Tenebrionidae" Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay Editors Lockhart & Steele have produced a very strong collection of terrors inspired by the Barron mythos. Standouts from a first reading: "The Harrow" Gemma Files "Good Lord, Show Me the Way" Molly Tanzer "Firedancing" Michael Griffin "Of a Thousand Cuts" Cody Goodfellow "Tenebrionidae" Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brian O'Connell

    Excellent anthology featuring tales inspired by Barron's signature brand of cosmic horror. I particularly enjoyed Richard Gavin's "The Old Pageant", which eschewed some of the more Lovecraftian conceits for a purely terrifying story, and Orrin Grey's "Walpurgisnacht", which draws on European witch-lore to craft an intense and claustrophobic story. Excellent anthology featuring tales inspired by Barron's signature brand of cosmic horror. I particularly enjoyed Richard Gavin's "The Old Pageant", which eschewed some of the more Lovecraftian conceits for a purely terrifying story, and Orrin Grey's "Walpurgisnacht", which draws on European witch-lore to craft an intense and claustrophobic story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Baugh

    Laird Barron's work is among the very best in contemporary horror. But any one author can only write so fast. The next best thing to more Barron stories is a volume full of work by other talented writers who show his influence on them in a bunch of ways. I liked some of these stories more than others, but there isn't a single one I thought wasn't worth my time, and as anthology readers know, that's not something you always get to say. One of the stories, John Langan's "Ymir", actually uses specif Laird Barron's work is among the very best in contemporary horror. But any one author can only write so fast. The next best thing to more Barron stories is a volume full of work by other talented writers who show his influence on them in a bunch of ways. I liked some of these stories more than others, but there isn't a single one I thought wasn't worth my time, and as anthology readers know, that's not something you always get to say. One of the stories, John Langan's "Ymir", actually uses specific characters from various Barron stories (to great effect - it really shines with both Barron and Langan merits). Many use various of Barrron's recurring milieus, from the post-human gladiatorial circuit to Alaska and southeast Asia. They all use the mesh of ambience and allusion that supports Barron's riff on cosmic horror. There are no happy endings here, and there's a lot of dissolution into the indescribable. But as with Barron's own work, there's a great deal of satisfaction, in dark tones. There's a great deal of bleak elegance, as in Langan's conclusion: And he was gone. In his place was the child, the one who had traveled with her in the elevator, the one who had been standing on the ice in front of the Hummer, the one whose death she had felt tremble the steering wheel of her truck. Its mouth was open, alight with unearthly fire. "You," she said. "Okay, I'm ready for this. Okay. Let's go. I'm ready." As it turned out, she was not. One of the many things I love about Barron's work is how thoroughly he steps out of the pit of protagonists who are all largely able-bodied straight white middle-class authorial sorts. Barron's characters have diverse relationships, and many are well below the middle class in social and economic terms. The stories here do likewise. In "Tenebrionidae", Scott Nicolay and Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay portray modern-day rail riders (as opposed to the Depression-era stock figures seen much more often). J.T. Glover and Jesse Bullington do a marvelous job with the Chinese community in Gilded Age Seattle in "Pale Apostle". One of my favorite pieces in this volume is "Good Lord, Show Me the Way", by Molly Tanzer. It's all faculty e-mails between members of the anthropology department at an eastern university. They discuss the proposed dissertation topic, research, and (later) whereabouts of a graduate student who draws a bit too much on some of her experiences growing up in rural Washington. It's a great demonstration of just how it is that so many horrible things actually do unaddressed in real life and how so many monsters could hide. The professors' exchanges keep sliding into snark about snacks at the next department meeting and whether vegans are just lazy slackers or the vanguard of a moral enlightenment, and so on. Gradually the student's fate is lost in the shuffle, and while there may be regrets about it, there's always other matters that need attention to, so life continues. But as I said at the outset, I enjoyed every single story here, and I expect this book to join my roster of volumes I re-read from time to time, when I want to savor a particular thing done really well. Very strongly recommended for fans of the genre, and as an introduction for those curious about what we fans have been enthusing about.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Axolotl

    A more thoughtful review will perhaps follow, but for now I will resort to the lazy expedient of highlighting what I feel are the best of the seventeen tales in this homage volume with a few notes: -"The Harrow" by Gemma Files--a nice opening to an anthology about burrowing and descending downwards -"Walpurgisnacht" by Orrin Grey --a pleasant surprise or an unpleasant one, depending on whether I mean it textually or extratextually -"Learn to Kill" by Michael Cisco (I will add that I consistently e A more thoughtful review will perhaps follow, but for now I will resort to the lazy expedient of highlighting what I feel are the best of the seventeen tales in this homage volume with a few notes: -"The Harrow" by Gemma Files--a nice opening to an anthology about burrowing and descending downwards -"Walpurgisnacht" by Orrin Grey --a pleasant surprise or an unpleasant one, depending on whether I mean it textually or extratextually -"Learn to Kill" by Michael Cisco (I will add that I consistently enjoy his short works to my attempts and concomitant failures to read his novels) -"Good Lord, Show Me the Way" by Molly Tanzer, this lady seems to be always on top of her game---this is quite simply the best story in the book. -"Notes for 'The Barn in the Wild'" by Paul Tremblay (who doesn't write like a "horror writer"--does that make sense?--as does Laird Barron, and that is wonderful. -"Of a Thousand Cuts" by Cody Goodfellow* -"Tenebrionidae" by Scott Nicolay and Jesse-James Douthit-Nicolay* I find it a bit problematic to find a way to rate this collection accurately since the writing is almost uniformly of good quality while the execution of the ideas is what I felt to be lacking in some of them. Further, I couldn't help but feel upon completing this story or that that some of these would even be "great stories", if divorced from---some at times rather labored-- associations (in their offing) with Laird Barron's "carnivorous cosmos". Balance is key and the best stories, the ones above, achieve this delicate trick well. The others are either not particularly interesting as a whole, show too much mechanics or are too tangential to seriously stand beside even Barron's weakest work. On a nerdy note: There are a few too many references to "black holes for eyes and mouths" and "gaping maws" in the stories and not enough "elongated necks", zippers, and naughty foul-mouthed "children" for my tastes. *These stories, among the best while not being the best, do something rather quite remarkable in that they actually improve upon their apparent source materials in Barron's oeuvre. I don't want to spoil which ones but see if you can spot them, here is a hint Goodfellow's is based on a certain novel and Nicolay&Douthit-Nicolay's is based on an unpublished (in book format anyway) story although it makes a half-hearted nod to the "Old Leech" stories.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chad Pilcher

    I tend to approach anthologies like I approach trail mix: warily, obliquely, loins tightly girded against the jarring disparities in tone and quality that are sure to present. For The Children of Old Leech, I can report that my loins remained blessedly ungirded throughout. Laird Barron is a legend in his own goddamned time. In this era of Cthulhu plushies and prepackaged HBO nihilism, Barron stands apart. His Pacific Northwest mythos blends gritty noir, bleak naturalism, and cosmic horror, distil I tend to approach anthologies like I approach trail mix: warily, obliquely, loins tightly girded against the jarring disparities in tone and quality that are sure to present. For The Children of Old Leech, I can report that my loins remained blessedly ungirded throughout. Laird Barron is a legend in his own goddamned time. In this era of Cthulhu plushies and prepackaged HBO nihilism, Barron stands apart. His Pacific Northwest mythos blends gritty noir, bleak naturalism, and cosmic horror, distilling from them that rarest of spirits: Something New. It is indeed that feverishly xenophobized, utterly impersonal, shambling Horror from beyond the stars, but now inverted, transmuted, brought up from the earth, come close in the dark to whisper and caress, made unbearably intimate. It is the hard men and women who must reckon with that Horror, to their inevitable detriment. It is a dusty saloon at the intersection of existentialist despair and survivalist grit in the worst of all possible worlds, where H. P. Lovecraft, Raymond Chandler, and Cormac McCarthy have unaccountably found themselves bellied up to the bar alongside our loved ones. Or is it them? There are scars. There are teeth. There are too many joints. Why, it's enough to make a man reach for the whisky. Barron is in the vanguard of a burgeoning Weird Fiction renaissance, of which many exemplars are counted in this book. I could rattle off my favorites, but instead I'll simply refer you to the ToC. Every author in this collection is a formidable talent in their own right. An initiate to the modern Weird could do much worse than to use this book as a primer, and as a springboard to further exploration. There are no duds. This isn't trail mix-- it's pure dark chocolate.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ian Welke

    The Children Of Old Leech is an anthology of short stories written by a collection of different authors in tribute to one of my favorite authors, Laird Barron. I have a rule about not reading Laird Barron before going to bed, which is my favorite rule to break. It’s not that his stories are terrifying to the point that I can’t sleep; it’s that his stories are dream enabling, and the strangest, most fantastic dreams at that. I wouldn’t call them happy dreams, nor do they make for a particularly r The Children Of Old Leech is an anthology of short stories written by a collection of different authors in tribute to one of my favorite authors, Laird Barron. I have a rule about not reading Laird Barron before going to bed, which is my favorite rule to break. It’s not that his stories are terrifying to the point that I can’t sleep; it’s that his stories are dream enabling, and the strangest, most fantastic dreams at that. I wouldn’t call them happy dreams, nor do they make for a particularly restful night’s sleep… otherwise I wouldn’t have the rule in the first place, but each of those dreams is an adventure that leaves me… entertained is the wrong word, enthralled?… for the rest of the next day. With that in mind, I wanted to put The Children of Old Leech to the test. I read each story before I went to sleep to see if the writers in this cover album anthology could manage the same feat. I’m happy to say that they have passed with flying colors and fitful night’s dark adventures. The Children of Old Leech is a collection of effective tales worthy of the author that the creators set out to honor.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Plaguedoctor

    I won this book from the goodreads giveaway. I loved this book! It's full of all sorts of horror stories. I was excited to read this because I've been craving something horror genre to read. Some of the stories even take place in the state and around the area I live in, which just added to the creepiness. However, like most collective short stories, some are better than the others, while some just aren't very great to begin with. This book is filled with mostly good stories, but some just weren't I won this book from the goodreads giveaway. I loved this book! It's full of all sorts of horror stories. I was excited to read this because I've been craving something horror genre to read. Some of the stories even take place in the state and around the area I live in, which just added to the creepiness. However, like most collective short stories, some are better than the others, while some just aren't very great to begin with. This book is filled with mostly good stories, but some just weren't very good. All in all though, this was a pretty good read and I recommend to anyone who likes the feeling of being creeped out. It certainly filled my horror needs. So, turn down the lights, make some popcorn, and pick up The Children of Old Leech. For we're the children of old leech and we love you.

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