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Best New Horror combines dozens of the best and grisliest short stories of today. For twenty-five years this series has been published in the United Kingdom as The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and now comes to the US to delight and terrify thriller enthusiasts. This has been the world’s leading annual anthology dedicated solely to showcasing the best in contemporary ho Best New Horror combines dozens of the best and grisliest short stories of today. For twenty-five years this series has been published in the United Kingdom as The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and now comes to the US to delight and terrify thriller enthusiasts. This has been the world’s leading annual anthology dedicated solely to showcasing the best in contemporary horror fiction. This newest volume offers outstanding new writing by masters of the genre, such as Joan Aiken, Peter Atkins, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Fowler, Joe R. Lansdale, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Robert Silverberg, Michael Marshall Smith, Evangeline Walton, and many others!


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Best New Horror combines dozens of the best and grisliest short stories of today. For twenty-five years this series has been published in the United Kingdom as The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and now comes to the US to delight and terrify thriller enthusiasts. This has been the world’s leading annual anthology dedicated solely to showcasing the best in contemporary ho Best New Horror combines dozens of the best and grisliest short stories of today. For twenty-five years this series has been published in the United Kingdom as The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and now comes to the US to delight and terrify thriller enthusiasts. This has been the world’s leading annual anthology dedicated solely to showcasing the best in contemporary horror fiction. This newest volume offers outstanding new writing by masters of the genre, such as Joan Aiken, Peter Atkins, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Fowler, Joe R. Lansdale, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Robert Silverberg, Michael Marshall Smith, Evangeline Walton, and many others!

30 review for Best New Horror: Volume 25

  1. 5 out of 5

    F.R.

    As usual, I’ve reviewed each scary tale as I've come to it, but this is probably the best volume of the series I've read. Who Dares Wins – Anno Dracula by Kim Newman So to open with we have an extract from a novel, rather than an actual self-contained short story; although since the extract is from the latest ‘Anno Dracula’ book (the first of which I read in the last year and greatly enjoyed), I’m not going to gripe too much. On its own terms and in this format, the tale is somewhat inconsequentia As usual, I’ve reviewed each scary tale as I've come to it, but this is probably the best volume of the series I've read. Who Dares Wins – Anno Dracula by Kim Newman So to open with we have an extract from a novel, rather than an actual self-contained short story; although since the extract is from the latest ‘Anno Dracula’ book (the first of which I read in the last year and greatly enjoyed), I’m not going to gripe too much. On its own terms and in this format, the tale is somewhat inconsequential and threadbare, so the uninitiated might be nonplussed, but I enjoyed this vampire spin on news and fashion at the dawn of the 1980s. A jolt to the memory if you’re British and of a certain age: irritatingly perky, breakfast TV presenter, Anne Diamond puts in an appearance; surely making this the only work of horror (if not the only piece of quality fiction) to actually feature irritating perky, breakfast TV presenter, Anne Diamond. A good tale, but only two quivering lips on the scare-ometer though. Click-Clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman An interesting idea, wherein a child asks an adult for a scary bedtime story, but it’s actually the child who knows the scariest tale. The result is atmospheric, but it’s all build-up and no bang. Once again, two quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Dead End by Nicholas Royle ‘Dead End’ is one of those ice-berg stories, where nine-tenths of it remains submerged and mysterious. A man on holiday with his girlfriend finds his enjoyment curtailed by thoughts of his wife and children, and a growing sense of doom. Undeniably there’s a building terror, but the tale remains too irritatingly oblique to actually be scary. Three quivering lips on the scare-ometer Isaac’s Room by Daniel Mills Here we are in the world of teenage isolation, a place over-whelmed by the sheer intensity of how it feels to be miserable as a young adult. Anyone who’s been there will recognise the emotions, will recognise those dark depths of unhappiness. Daniel Mills’ tale of scary videos and desperate acts is definitely disturbing. I’m sure there’ll be some who think it leans too much on metaphor rather than the literal, but for anyone who experienced being eighteen and unhappy then that metaphor is a strong one and scary as hell. Definitely four quivering lips on the scare-ometer. The Burning Circus by Angela Slatter Fantasy Americana of the type we’ve visited many times before. Let’s be fair, strange travelling circus making its way across back roads and backwards towns in depression America is a trope used frequently in genre fiction (see earlier volumes of this series for proof of that). This tale of a woman’s vengeance though stands up as a particularly effective entry. Another four quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Holes for Faces by Ramsey Campbell As a general rule I dislike the ‘look what I did on my holidays’ type story. There should be beautifully clear water between horror yarn and tourist guidebook, and too often these tales wade through that water in disgustingly muddy boots so that the reader can’t tell one from t’other. Fortunately though, in Ramsey Campbell, we have a master of form and genre. A young boy’s fears projected onto the gory history in and around Naples. This is a damned scary tale which uses the locales as spine-tingling decoration rather than an excuse to just wheel out the holiday snaps. Plus, the line: “An old woman with a face like a string bag of wrinkles” is one of the best descriptions I’ve read this year. A full five quivering lips on the scare-ometer. By Night He Could Not See by Joel Lane Reading like the sequel to some adolescent crime drama of heartbreak, betrayal and violence out of hand, this really does capture the desperation of wasted lives and of existence without hope. Unfortunately the horror elements feel grafted on and the ending is a touch too neat for my liking. Three quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Come into my Parlour by Reggie Oliver An unmistakably middle class, English horror tale, concerning itself – as it does – with Victorian storybooks for children, family bequests and the kind of bonkers, sinister, old aunt who is a prerequisite for every English family of a certain type. If I was thinking coldly about it, then this is the irritating kind of horror fiction which could just be resolved and dismissed by Character A just talking to Character B – but I’m not going to be pernickety, as this a gripping and tense piece of work which fully deserves five quivering lips on the scare-ometer. The Middle Park by Michael Chislett The idea of wilderness intruding into civilisation is in many ways horrific as it means the end of this ordered, twenty first century society; but it’s also in some ways appealing as it’s a return to simpler times. There’s always a tension between the two in any such tale, although this one leans more towards the former than the latter. A man and his girlfriend get horribly lost in a London park, in a tale which is like an hallucination in a mirror. Three quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Into the Water by Simon Kurt Unsworth Superb Lovecraftian horror which plays expertly with the mythos, while avoiding any of the stilted hysteria of the man’s actual writing. A news crew covers a devastating flood in an English town. The threat manages to be both global and local, as well as (of course) incredibly old and dreadfully immediate. Definitely five quivering lips on the old scare-ometer. The Burned House by Lynda E. Rucker In the town I grew up in we had a ghost house which fascinated us kids – although looking back at it, even in my memory, it appears disappointingly suburban and not spectral in any way, shape or form. However I am a sucker for yarns about spooky old houses and those who become seduced by them. This is tense, heartfelt and darn scary, definitely rating five quivering lips. What a fine collection this is turning out to be! What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Z by Lavie Tidhar A literary parody: Raymond Carver world does zombies. A few chuckles are to be had, but this is the most inconsequential piece thus far. Two quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Fishfly Season by Halli Villegas In the right hands, a swarm of insects is one of those truly unsettling images. (Those guys who wrote The Bible knew where the scare buttons for their audience were). Equally not fitting in, being shunned and an outsider, is something most people dread. No one wants to be deliberately excluded, just as no one wants to be attacked by a swarm of bugs. Here the two notions collide to create a compelling and disturbing tale which can best be summed up as ‘icky’. Once again, five quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Doll Re Mi by Tanith Lee Set maybe sometime in the future or maybe sometime in the past, this (craply titled) story offers a vibrant, passionate and self consciously dramatic contrast to the others in this volume. An egotistical maestro finds a beautiful mermaid-shaped violin which he plans to conquer, play and destroy. Lee undoubtedly delivers it all with great verve, I just wish the ending wasn’t so blatantly signposted. Three quivering lips on the scare-ometer. A Night’s Work by Clive Barker Um, what to say? Bestselling author has dream he thinks he can turn into a book, but can’t wake up to write it down. Difficult to imagine that if it didn’t have the Barker name attached to it anyone would find this worth publishing. One quivering lip on the scare-ometer. The Sixteenth Step by Robert Shearman After ‘The Shining’, it’s going to be daunting for any author to take on the haunted hotel yarn. However in the English seaside B&B setting, we’re a long way from The Overlook and in Robert Shearman we have a true master of the horror short story. Here we have a sinister hotel, a foreign landlady and a desperate young couple, but Shearman is as anxious to subvert expectations as meet them, and what we have here is another five quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Stemming the Tide by Simon Strantzas Another zombie tale which is more about human relationships, but a much more successful one than ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Z’. As a relationship dies, a couple drives out to meet the zombie hordes. At the centrepiece we have the great, almost Lovecraftian, image of the dead marching out of an oncoming tide. Four quivering lips on the scare-ometer. The Gist by Michael Marshall-Smith Here we delve into the world (I’m sure familiar to all of us) of illicit and backstreet antiquarian book sellers: a world which is perfectly realised to every beaten up manuscript and seedy backroom. A feckless young man, with a gift for languages, is given a manuscript to translate. It seems an impossible task, as he can’t work out what language or dialect it even is. But the discernible rhythm of the book gets into his head and starts to possess him. The various dissolute scenes of extreme drunkenness and godawful hangovers spent piecing one’s life back together, make it resemble the kind of story Patrick Hamilton would write if he was still alive. Although a Patrick Hamilton who’d imbibed a great deal of M.R. James along with the booze. In short, this is a cracking tale: once again, five quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Guinea Pig Girl by Thana Niveau So here I am, a consumer of horror reading about a consumer of horror. Albeit this consumer of horror likes a form far too extreme for my tastes: Japanese torture porn. The notion that horror films have something real and horrible hidden within them is a hackneyed one, but it’s hard to resist the tension of this story. Four quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Miss Baltimore Crabs - Anno Dracula, 1990 by Kim Newman Mr Kim Newman would like to inform the world that he has watched and enjoyed ‘The Wire’! It’s vampires in a police procedural in Baltimore, with nods to Edgar Allen Poe and Hannibal Lector to boot. This is another extract from the latest ‘Anno Dracula’ book, but this suffers more from being ripped out of a longer narrative. Somehow it reads like both a prologue and a sequel. Three quivering lips on the scare-ometer. Whitstable by Stephen Volk ‘Whitstable’ is a haunting, beautiful and elegiac tale, where the quiet man of horror movies is brought again to life in wonderful tribute. It’s a horror story which plays on painful personal reality, but always with the greatest of respect. In the early 1970s Peter Cushing genuinely did lose his beloved wife and entered a funk so terrible that he considered suicide and told the press that he wanted to die. Into this black void steps a fictional little boy who meets Cushing and mistakes him for the great vampire hunter, Van Helsing. He tells Cushing that his mother’s new boyfriend is a vampire who visits him in his bedroom every single night and asks for help. Seeing what truth lies beneath those words, Cushing tries to help the boy and so puts himself – now a frail man, much older than his years – in danger from the predator. Of course Volk is exploring the difference between movie monsters and real life monsters. In the wrong hands that can be decidedly banal, but here it’s done with such expert skill as to be tremendous. Indeed the confrontation between Cushing and the boyfriend at a matinee showing of a Peter Cushing vampire movie is a thing of wonder – even better than the similar Boris Karloff scene in the movie ‘Targets’. This is a quiet and understated tale, but also one with bite and genuine horror. In short it’s a great tribute to a great man of horror. Five quivering lips on the scare-ometer.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    Another couple of months, another MBOBNH.... The 25th anniversary edition, though, so the soapbox moment at the conclusion of the Year In is dedicated to noting how few series last that long, and good for Jones! The Year In section is the same as always, annoying or depressing at times, useful at others (lots of interesting audio this year!). I found this volume a bit of a slog this time, but then I'm probably burned out on modern short horror fiction at the moment (although my massive reading lis Another couple of months, another MBOBNH.... The 25th anniversary edition, though, so the soapbox moment at the conclusion of the Year In is dedicated to noting how few series last that long, and good for Jones! The Year In section is the same as always, annoying or depressing at times, useful at others (lots of interesting audio this year!). I found this volume a bit of a slog this time, but then I'm probably burned out on modern short horror fiction at the moment (although my massive reading list is cycling around again very soon, so I'll be returning to the historical font in a bit). Taking into account a specific choice to not read two stories (see below), that left 19 stories of which I found about 8 satisfying or better than, so I guess that's close to average and the usual for an anthology. I will also say that, once again, the introductions do an unfortunate job of discharging some of the potential mystery and power of some of the stories here - seriously, Jones should start moving these to a postscript slot. Let's get on with it. There were two stories here I chose not to read, both by Kim Newman - "Who Dares Wins: Anno Dracula 1980" and "Miss Baltimore Crabs: Anno Dracula 1990", both of which are excerpts from a novel in a series of novels set in an alternate world where vampires take over and run the world since Victorian times. Well - I really like Kim Newman (the man wrote Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s, one of the best overview of modern horror films going) and have even bent my own rules to sample some of his Diogenes Club stories in preceding MBOBNH volumes, but this was just too much for me - I generally don't like excerpts being presented as if they are isolated fiction, I don't read many (if any) series novels and I have no interested in alternate histories, genre or otherwise. So, three strikes and you're out, essentially - for all I know they're excellent stuff if you like that kind of thing - go for it. And now, as always, least to most... The only story here that didn't work for me at all was "Stemming The Tide" by Simon Strantzas, which I found thuddingly obvious (more so because the main character actually voices the metaphorical implications of the story's scenario in which the dead periodically rise from the sea for no good reason except to be a metaphor - and even more so because there's not much, if any, actual story told through which the metaphor could naturally flow). Honestly, at most there's an image and a setting/scenario standing in for a full story. Eh. "The Middle Park" by Michael Chislett falls into a category of story I genuinely have a penchant for: tales of deceptive landscapes and characters being "pixy-led" but here (as a young couple explores a tiered set of parks on a hillside outside London) I felt the story - while generating a low-level ominous feeling, never really clicked, despite all the doubling imagery. And the ambiguous ending just felt weak. Similarly, I was not just unimpressed but actively annoyed by Lavie Tidhar's "What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Z—" which, in case you didn't get that, is a "high concept" piece built around the brainstorm pastiche "Raymond Carver *not* writing about the Zombie apocalypse" - which, while it's all very well that Tidhar can conceive of such a thing, does not justify itself merely on the clever, self-congratulatory conception. Hey, why not Ford Maddox Ford writes a story about ghouls? But, y'know, just that idea, no story or anything. Seriously, this lies on the uncomfortable edge of "Lit Horror" and in this case I don't mean that as an accolade - for every dumbed-down splatterpunk story out there, there's an equal amount of empty stylistic apings of literary figures in service of "delightfully clever" but ultimately sterile concepts, with no effort made to actually, y'know, tell a horror story, all done in the name of "Lit Horror". This can't even hope to hold a candle to Carver's colossal "Tell The Women We're Going" and sums up a lot of the failings of much "Lit Horror" (a form which, when done well, I have all the time in the world for). I rarely use the word pretentious (in fact, I think it's an intellectually lazy word on a number of levels) but, jeez, this was pretentious. A trick performed, and there goes the dove, fluttering away. There were a seven stories that fell into my "good but flawed" rating: "Isaac's Room" by Daniel Mills has an introverted college student stumble across an online video of a (possibly/possibly not) fellow female classmate committing self-mutilation/suicide, the images from which haunt him. It's honest, if typical, college-age angst featuring a teenager's ruminations on death and self-destruction in our modern technological age - Which is perfectly fine, I guess, but maybe a little too pat and on the money for me, what with the open ending and general, easy portentousness. Joel Lane's (possibly) last story, "By Night He Could Not See" has a promising set-up (middle-aged reflections on teenage membership in a small-scale urban youth gang, and actions taken in the past which cannot be taken back, returning to haunt the narrator) and fine detail (honest, real emotions) in the concise writing, but sadly the ending underwhelmed. A news crew covers disastrous midlands flooding in Simon Kurt Unsworth's "Into The Water", which was one of those previously mentioned stories whose mystery was slightly undone by an over-sharing in the introduction. There's a good sense of the "cameraman's eye" in the writing (feeling, occasionally, like a text version of a "found footage" film - the "dead cows in the field" scene stood out) and some striking imagery as well (a table set under deep water) but... this is one of those stories that trades on previous horror fiction knowledge (*cough*Lovecraft*cough*) while being canny enough to never directly reference or name-check anything - this latter aspect I liked but also made me wonder what an average reader, not aware of anything and coming to this story cold, might make of it. More like a specialist "weird tale", as there's little actual horror. A newlywed wife senses oddness about the wealthy community she has married into in "Fishfly Season" by Halli Villegas. The tone is dreamy/nightmarish and, plot wise, the actual story is rather thin (feeling more like an idea than a story), but on the plus side there's some interesting stuff going on, symbolically, about class consciousness/race if you read between the lines and the final image and last line are very strong. Clive Barker shows up with a small trifle about a profound dream and the infinitely recursive attempt to capture it in "A Night's Work". That pretty much sums up this flash piece. I first thought that the secondary production of Michael Marshall Smith's "The Gist" sounded like a publishing stunt or gimmick - he wrote the story, it was translated into another language and then re-translated back into English - but I can see the reasoning once you get into the tale - which tells of a dissolute wastrel and his assignment to translate an odd, "untranslatable" text. This is a "weird tale" (in the sense that it's not remotely interested in being frightening) and while the main character and his misadventures were engaging (the text seems to be exacerbating the main characters more self-indulgent and self-destructive tendencies) it's a bit of time spent (good writing aside) to get to a fairly familiar climax. Special Space now for mention of Stephen Volk's "Whitstable" - which is a fine story but deserves its own notational aside. I wasn't looking forward to reading this because I don't tend to like stories featuring "real life" figures of the horror genre (usually writers, in this case an actor) cast into fiction. Here, recently widowed and emotionally grieving Hammer Films star Peter Cushing finds himself approached by a young boy who mistakes the actor for his most famous role, Van Helsing. The boy requests help with a problem - his mother's new boyfriend (and probable next husband) visits him in bed at night and must be a vampire. The story is strong on a number of levels - Volk knows Cushing inside and out and we get a solid sense of the man, his character, his values and virtues, his cultured manners and kindness, and he never seems to be merely a prop for a piece of clever fiction. Also, following the set-up (which somewhat resembles the film FRIGHT NIGHT), the plot never pussyfoots around what is really, obviously going on and so we are spared dealing with any question of a fantastic element, or late in the game "shocking" revelation, which would tarnish the presentation of such a troubling and sensitive topic. There are a number of plot turns and conflicts that arise out of the situation before it is resolved and the resolution is both believable, and physically, emotionally & religiously consistent with Cushing's character and persona. It's quite a nice piece of work, all round. My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that there's never any moment of real "horror" in it - despite the upsetting subject matter (and, no, I'm not asking for a lurid illustration of the assumable). There's drama and suspense, surely but... when a story uses figures (not just famous characters or people but any related monster/imagery) from the horror genre, but shows no interest in actually generating fear in the text, I tend to slot such stories as "dark fantasy". But this story has no fantastic element, and neither is it a "weird tale". In the end, it's a well-written bit of real-world drama that ably succeeds at its goals but, honestly, it's arguable whether or not it should be appearing in a collection of horror fiction. Seven stories here were solidly "good" by my reckoning. I heard Neil Gaiman's reading of "Click-Clack The Rattlebag" a year ago and, while I'm a bit lukewarm myself on this famously popular author, this short piece about a baby-sat little boy asking to be told a not *too* scary bedtime story is quite nice - Gaiman has a way with a child's voice. "Dead End" by Nicholas Royle is one of those stories that, unless it was handled as expertly as it is here, would annoy me. In very clear, languorous, sensual language we're told of a couple vacationing (having an affair?) in France and how their prosaic life is interrupted by odd random events like strange animal cries. There's an extremely strong, propulsive narrative climb at the end that leads nicely into the chaotic climax. This is more of a "weird tale" than a horror story (until the very last reflection) but very succinct. Not for everyone. Angela Slatter's "The Burning Circus" sets a noir-like tone of revenge as an aerialist is released from confinement and tracks down the circus whose members framed and abandoned her. Enjoyable, although the climax reminded me a bit of a famous decadent story I can't put my mental finger on (the one involving the stunt cyclist). In Reggie Oliver's "Come Into My Parlour" a man reflects on his childhood relationship with his family's strange, overbearing, threatening maiden aunt and how a promise he made to her, and then reneged on, led to a very strange and sinister encounter during a game of "Hide and seek". Somewhat stiffly British and Jamesian, this just managed to edge into my "good" category - the child's voice may be, at times, pushed to the extremes of believability but there's some nice "family dynamics seen from a child's point of view" work and, in the end, it's all really just a creep-show, in the fine old tradition. Nothing to write home about but nothing to be ashamed of either. I believe I read an earlier draft of the Tanith Lee (R.I.P., dear lady) story here, "Doll Re Mi". In a vaguely defined future, an arrogant and powerful celebrity violin virtuoso discovers a forgotten Stradivarius violin (fashioned in the form of a mermaid) in an antique shop and sets about breaking it to his will - as he does with all things in his life, as his vast wealth allows him to avoid the consequences of his actions. This is your standard "comeuppance" story (with the predictability that the ending of such a form has) but still a very nice piece of dark fantasy with some enjoyably rococo filigree. A rather shifty, transient couple visiting a seaside bed and breakfast (and intending to skip out on the bill) aren't very impressed by the mundane "haunting" they discover there - the titular "Sixteenth Step" added to the staircase when walked down in pitch darkness only - but this unimpressive manifestation of strangeness eventually becomes very important indeed to the female member of the duo. An odd but interesting story, not very horrific - more ghostly - and a nice rumination on failed people, failed relationships and what we tell the children that result from same by author Robert Shearman. Thana Niveau's "Guinea Pig Girl" tells of a man (with no previous predilections for sadism) who becomes obsessed with a women he sees being mutilated and tortured in one of those fake Japanese snuff films, eventually hunting down her other film appearances. Another solid story - of what particular sub-genre I will not say to preserve the mystique - with a creepy ending. Two stories in this collection stood out to me. "The Burned House" by Lynda E. Rucker is a rumination on death and mortality and the traps that tragedy sets as an old woman finds herself lured by a pale girl into a suburban neighborhood's architectural oddity - a burned out house on a desolate dead-end street that has stood there seemingly forever. Nice ghost story using overlapping plates of time in an interesting way. An anxious young boy with an overbearing, cold, controlling mother and oblivious father takes a trip to Italy in Ramsey Campbell's very 'Ramsey Campbell-ian' "Holes For Faces". Campbell excels at tales told from the point of view of uneasy children worried and confused by the expectations of adults and he's in fine form here as the boy fixates on a peculiarly ominous set of particularized images - the empty eye-holes on mummified corpses in the catacombs and any empty holes from which faces may suddenly thrust themselves - as a recurrent source of anxiety during the stressful trip. I've begun to realize that Campbell's penchant for occasionally odd sentence construction may be deliberate, a possible tactic for throwing the reader "off-rhythm", as it were. The anxiety the boy feels is well-sustained as we wait for faces to loom at every portal during trips to Vesuvius and Herculaneum, as well as the local fun fair and restaurant; and the ending re-asserts Campbell's mastery of the psychological horror form. A good read! And that's all there is, there ain't no more.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    It was OK. A couple of good stories but then after about 5 plonkers in a row I DNF'd about half-way through. It was OK. A couple of good stories but then after about 5 plonkers in a row I DNF'd about half-way through.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Missy (myweereads)

    “I can show you fear in a spiders web” This edition of Best New Horror by Stephen Jones is a collection of horror stories by authors who have been featured in this series of books for many years. In this volume, there is an introduction by Stephen Jones which explores the shape of horror in 2013. I love this part because it mentions many works of horror I forgot I loved watching and reading. The stories included in this volume are: Who Dares Wins: Anno Dracula 1980 - Kim Newman Click-clack the Rattl “I can show you fear in a spiders web” This edition of Best New Horror by Stephen Jones is a collection of horror stories by authors who have been featured in this series of books for many years. In this volume, there is an introduction by Stephen Jones which explores the shape of horror in 2013. I love this part because it mentions many works of horror I forgot I loved watching and reading. The stories included in this volume are: Who Dares Wins: Anno Dracula 1980 - Kim Newman Click-clack the Rattlebag - Neil Gaiman Dead End - Nicholas Royle Issac’s Room - Daniel Mills The Burning Circus - Angela Slatter Holes For Faces - Ramsey Campbell By Night He Could Not See - Joel Lane Come Into My Parlour - Reggie Oliver The Middle Park - Michael Chislett Into The Water - Simon Kurt Unsworth The Burned House - Lynda E Rucker What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Z - Lavie Tidhar Fishfly Session - Halli Villegas Doll Re Mi - Tanith Lee A Night’s Work - Clive Barker The Sixteenth Step - Robert Shearman Stemming The Tide - Simon Strantzas The Gist - Michael Marshall Smith Guinea Pig Girl - Thana Niveau Miss Baltimore Crabs: Anno Dracula 1990 - Kim Newman Whitstable - Stephen Volk These stories included a horror of human, monster, supernatural and many other kinds. I enjoyed a lot of these and many of them were stand out reads for me. The one that has stuck with me the most is the final novella called Whitstable by Stephen Volk. This one really got to me and I haven’t been able to stop talking about. Overall a great collection I would definitely recommend.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Somewhere between 2.5-3*. While I liked a number of the stories, it took me a long time to get through, partially because I just wasn't that into any of them, and other than the last tale I don't even recall what happened in any of them. It was a bit disappointing considering it was supposed to be a landmark 25th edition, and because it featured some top name authors like Ramsey Campbell and Joe Lansdale. And it really didn't contain that many stories, as half the book was taken up by what was r Somewhere between 2.5-3*. While I liked a number of the stories, it took me a long time to get through, partially because I just wasn't that into any of them, and other than the last tale I don't even recall what happened in any of them. It was a bit disappointing considering it was supposed to be a landmark 25th edition, and because it featured some top name authors like Ramsey Campbell and Joe Lansdale. And it really didn't contain that many stories, as half the book was taken up by what was really a novella and a half - Whitstable by Stephen Volk (which was good, but ridiculously too long) - and by a long intro talking about all the books that were released that year, and ending (extro?) talking about all the famous people involved in publishing and the entertainment industry who died that year.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    Oh, boy! It's so exciting when Jones new collection comes in the post. A real red-letter day! As usual the first 100 pages are an overview of the year in horror through all its various forms: novels, films, tv, radio, short stories, collections and more. THE best source for finding interesting horror I've missed this past year. Love these books! Looks like a bumper crop of stories too :) Neil Gaiman, Reggie Oliver, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Kim Newman, Stephen Volk, Robert Shearman, Simon K Oh, boy! It's so exciting when Jones new collection comes in the post. A real red-letter day! As usual the first 100 pages are an overview of the year in horror through all its various forms: novels, films, tv, radio, short stories, collections and more. THE best source for finding interesting horror I've missed this past year. Love these books! Looks like a bumper crop of stories too :) Neil Gaiman, Reggie Oliver, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Kim Newman, Stephen Volk, Robert Shearman, Simon Kurt Unsworth and more. Horror aficionado? Buy this book! NOTE: I've read the whole thing except Volk's novella "Whitsable" featuring Peter Cushing. Gonna save that one for a rainy day.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Boni

    I really enjoyed this book, took my time through the stories and there were some I liked a lot and a few that weren’t that great but that’s the best part about these type of books! I did find a few authors I want to read more of and the references and info in the beginning and end are wonderful resources. I think it’s worth checking out.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Casciato

    Solid if unremarkable collection of horror shorts (and one novella). It's one of those "I'd give it 3.5 stars if that was an option" types, if that is helpful at all, and there were a couple of really col stories, including a great mashup of the Cthulhu mythos and climate change and a thinker about a translation process that doesn't go quite how the translator expects... The best stuff is backloaded, and to be honest the first handful of stories were bad or mediocre enough that I almost put the Solid if unremarkable collection of horror shorts (and one novella). It's one of those "I'd give it 3.5 stars if that was an option" types, if that is helpful at all, and there were a couple of really col stories, including a great mashup of the Cthulhu mythos and climate change and a thinker about a translation process that doesn't go quite how the translator expects... The best stuff is backloaded, and to be honest the first handful of stories were bad or mediocre enough that I almost put the thing down early on. Nothing truly terrible, but a number of "yep, that was a story alright, can't argue that" level entries. Overall, a decent pick up if you love horror shorts and are looking for some new to you talent. I will probably seek out additional work from the authors of my favorite stories, so even for that alone, it's a win.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Been reading this series off and on for almost 15 years and I know to expect a mixed bag, but this one was unusually slanted towards crap. I only truly liked 3 stories - Into the Water, Fishfly Season and The 16tb Step - and found the rest varying degrees of mediocre. This particular entry in the series really suffers too from the fact that the final story (turgid, interminably boring published fanfiction about Peter Cushing) is over 100 pages long and thereby takes the place of several other po Been reading this series off and on for almost 15 years and I know to expect a mixed bag, but this one was unusually slanted towards crap. I only truly liked 3 stories - Into the Water, Fishfly Season and The 16tb Step - and found the rest varying degrees of mediocre. This particular entry in the series really suffers too from the fact that the final story (turgid, interminably boring published fanfiction about Peter Cushing) is over 100 pages long and thereby takes the place of several other possible stories, depriving the reader of more variety. I'll continue to but this series when I can find it cheaply as there are hidden gems in each book, but really disappointed in this one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    More thinker than freaker Not traditional horror in all the stories, but all definitely worthy of this collection. While Gaiman's might be my favorite (along with its brevity), "Whitstable" being a novela kept my interest in the characters as well as the story. What are monsters ... to you? More thinker than freaker Not traditional horror in all the stories, but all definitely worthy of this collection. While Gaiman's might be my favorite (along with its brevity), "Whitstable" being a novela kept my interest in the characters as well as the story. What are monsters ... to you?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Powell

    Excellent collection! I really enjoyed this collection. Keen writing and many unsettling stories. I love the comprehensive survey of the field as well...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Fritz

    Not really horror I was disappointed in the book overall. As a huge horror fan most of the stories were rather boring. There were also some that were so bad I skipped over them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.J. Falco

    Found two new authors in this collection whose prose made me want to read more of their work.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christie Peterson

    There’s a reason BEST NEW HORROR (Edited by Stephen Jones) is up to Volume 25: it has consistently showcased the best contemporary authors of the horror genre. This latest installment will be familiar to fans of the series by including newsworthy events which occurred in 2013, the delightfully morbid (and fascinating) Necrology and the return of favorite Authors from previous edition, such as Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Angela Slatter and Ramsey Campbell. Do not pick up this book expecting gory d There’s a reason BEST NEW HORROR (Edited by Stephen Jones) is up to Volume 25: it has consistently showcased the best contemporary authors of the horror genre. This latest installment will be familiar to fans of the series by including newsworthy events which occurred in 2013, the delightfully morbid (and fascinating) Necrology and the return of favorite Authors from previous edition, such as Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Angela Slatter and Ramsey Campbell. Do not pick up this book expecting gory details… the stories are infinitely more creepy by being psychologically disturbing. Topics covered range from the tried and true (Dracula/vampires variously done by Kim Newman), the perceived innocence of a childhood poem (COME INTO MY PARLOUR – Reggie Oliver), a surreal visit into an area which would be better suited to an M.C. Escher drawing, with hints of Willy Wonka and the Wizard of Oz (THE MIDDLE PARK – Michael Chislett) as well as timely… you’ll think twice before clicking that video link you’ve been sent (ISAAC’S ROOM – Daniel Mills) and a twisted homage to Japanese Horror films (GUINEA PIG GIRL – Thana Niveau). Perhaps the best thing about the 20+ story anthology is being able to read them in whichever order strikes my fancy. I’m not bound to read a lengthy series or an entire book. I can pick and choose to get my horror fix.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Samerdyke

    This is a very strong anthology with a very high proportion of good stories. I guess pride of place goes to Stephen Volk's "Whitstable," a remarkable tribute to the actor Peter Cushing. In it, Cushing is approached by a boy who thinks he is Professor Van Helsing (a role Cushing played several times). The story balances the horror of movies against the horror of real life, supernatural vs. psychological, as well as perceptively commenting on the genre and growing old and grief. Very well done. Rams This is a very strong anthology with a very high proportion of good stories. I guess pride of place goes to Stephen Volk's "Whitstable," a remarkable tribute to the actor Peter Cushing. In it, Cushing is approached by a boy who thinks he is Professor Van Helsing (a role Cushing played several times). The story balances the horror of movies against the horror of real life, supernatural vs. psychological, as well as perceptively commenting on the genre and growing old and grief. Very well done. Ramsey Campbell's "Holes for Faces" walks a special kind of tightrope. A shy English boy is on vacation in southern Italy. He doesn't really understand adults or the Italian culture around him. Is there a supernatural menace gathering around him, or is he misunderstanding things and acting out inappropriately. Masterfully done. Simon Kurt Unsworth's "Into the Water" takes a fresh and vigorous approach to an H. P. Lovecraft theme. Lynda E. Rucker's "The Burned House" is a splendidly constructed haunted house story. Tanith Lee's "Doll Re Mi" is an exquisite tale of pride going before a fall. Robert Shearman's "The Sixteenth Step" is a very inventive tale of supernatural punishment. The stories by Gaiman, Mills, Lane, Oliver, Chislett, Barker and Niveau are also well worth reading. All in all, this was a superb entry in this venerable series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    PsypherPunk

    This was always going to be a favourable review; the earlier stories waver between good and excellent—Michael Marshall Smith's The Gist being a particular highlight—and I'll even forgive the inclusion of two Anno Dracula tales, but the inclusion of Stephen Volk's novella Whitstable, dominating the latter half of the book, which really brings something special. It's a wonderful story, not without a couple of jarring oddities, but it's a somehow-beautiful tale of all-too-real horrors and one of th This was always going to be a favourable review; the earlier stories waver between good and excellent—Michael Marshall Smith's The Gist being a particular highlight—and I'll even forgive the inclusion of two Anno Dracula tales, but the inclusion of Stephen Volk's novella Whitstable, dominating the latter half of the book, which really brings something special. It's a wonderful story, not without a couple of jarring oddities, but it's a somehow-beautiful tale of all-too-real horrors and one of the industry's greatest.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    I look forward each year to the new volume of Best New Horror and they never disappoint. This year's stories are all good,with the usual variety of tone and character and I especially liked Stephen Volk's contribution. Plus there is a great round-up of horror books, movies, Tv etc. and a comprehensive list of people who died during the year (authors, actors and others who have made contributions to the horror field). Invaluable. I look forward each year to the new volume of Best New Horror and they never disappoint. This year's stories are all good,with the usual variety of tone and character and I especially liked Stephen Volk's contribution. Plus there is a great round-up of horror books, movies, Tv etc. and a comprehensive list of people who died during the year (authors, actors and others who have made contributions to the horror field). Invaluable.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Cooper

    I've loved this series of mostly short stories and novellas.I been with it since the very first volume. I haven't read them all but quite a few. The fiction as always is top notch. No I'm not to review every story as in any anthology there's stories you like and some you don't care for. I really enjoyed the Tanith Lee story and the final novella is excellent. Sadly this is the final volume of this series. Still twenty five years is an excellent run for any series. I've loved this series of mostly short stories and novellas.I been with it since the very first volume. I haven't read them all but quite a few. The fiction as always is top notch. No I'm not to review every story as in any anthology there's stories you like and some you don't care for. I really enjoyed the Tanith Lee story and the final novella is excellent. Sadly this is the final volume of this series. Still twenty five years is an excellent run for any series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    I wish I could say this was such an amazing collection of horror stories that I could not put it down. But that would be a lie. Mostly it was a collection of stories that were passably ok (there were a couple of really good ones in there) and the rest I sort of forced myself to read and it took me 8 days to finish. I never take this long to read a book if it is a great book. I was actually really glad to be done with this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Teipu

    Didn't finish the last story, because it wasn't horror at all (or wasn't in the first third of the story and also wasn't interesting enough to keep reading). Lots of open ending stories or stories that kept you guessing what the true horror could be. That's not really my thing... I like to be shocked! I found it very tiring that some stories didn't really have an end. Didn't finish the last story, because it wasn't horror at all (or wasn't in the first third of the story and also wasn't interesting enough to keep reading). Lots of open ending stories or stories that kept you guessing what the true horror could be. That's not really my thing... I like to be shocked! I found it very tiring that some stories didn't really have an end.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter Johnston

    Pretty decent showcase of modern horror. I don't particularly care for the new habit of writing stories that evoke a sense of dread, without having any real plot, hence the three star rating. The last story is the stand out, a semi biographical study of Peter Cushing starring as his own real life Hammer hero, Pretty decent showcase of modern horror. I don't particularly care for the new habit of writing stories that evoke a sense of dread, without having any real plot, hence the three star rating. The last story is the stand out, a semi biographical study of Peter Cushing starring as his own real life Hammer hero,

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben Mizrahi

    Really loved the book, but the last story, who is a very good drama story dealing with an important topic (that I will not name as to not give You spoiler) is not, in the strict sense of the term, an horror novella. However, as I still enjoyed that story, I will give the book an overall rating of four stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vince Darcangelo

    Faves: "Dead End", Nicholas Royle "Isaac's Room", Daniel Mills "The Sixteenth Step", Robert Shearman "Stemming the Tide", Simon Strantzas "The Gist" Michael Marshall Smith "Guinea Pig Girl", Thana Niveau Faves: "Dead End", Nicholas Royle "Isaac's Room", Daniel Mills "The Sixteenth Step", Robert Shearman "Stemming the Tide", Simon Strantzas "The Gist" Michael Marshall Smith "Guinea Pig Girl", Thana Niveau

  24. 5 out of 5

    Metagion

    Really cool book, with 2013's "roundup" of who's who in the horror/scifi genre. One story I thought was neat was "Whitsea" about the late actor Peter Cushing. Very cool but big read (over 500+ pages). Really cool book, with 2013's "roundup" of who's who in the horror/scifi genre. One story I thought was neat was "Whitsea" about the late actor Peter Cushing. Very cool but big read (over 500+ pages).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan Hex

    Usually the Mammoth horror collections are pretty solid, but this one was...fine? Mostly forgettable. The best story by far is the last novella about Peter Cushing, but the rest don't stand out in my mind. Usually the Mammoth horror collections are pretty solid, but this one was...fine? Mostly forgettable. The best story by far is the last novella about Peter Cushing, but the rest don't stand out in my mind.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    This copy of the book has 592 pages.

  27. 5 out of 5

    KristenR

    Ratings for each story are in my status updates. averages 3.85 stars altogether. I definitely enjoyed this collection.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Better than last year's. But still far from great. Better than last year's. But still far from great.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Patchen

    Chock full of good stuff. Full review of lurid-lit.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Vivian

    2 or 3 good stories. The rest were meh.

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