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Addiction starts like a sweet lullaby sung by a trusted loved one. It washes away the pains of the day and wraps you in the warmness of the womb where nothing hurts and every dream is possible. Yet soon enough, this warm state of bliss becomes a cold shiver, the ecstasy and dreams become nightmares, yet we can't stop listening to the lullaby. We crave to hear the siren son Addiction starts like a sweet lullaby sung by a trusted loved one. It washes away the pains of the day and wraps you in the warmness of the womb where nothing hurts and every dream is possible. Yet soon enough, this warm state of bliss becomes a cold shiver, the ecstasy and dreams become nightmares, yet we can't stop listening to the lullaby. We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart. Six stories: three novellas, three novelettes, written by a powerful list of talent, all featuring the insidious nature of addiction--damaged humans craving for highs and wholeness but finding something more tragic and horrific on the other side. FEATURING: Caroline Kepnes author of You and Hidden Bodies Kealan Patrick Burke, author of Sour Candy and Kin Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls John F.D. Taff, author of The Fearing Mark Matthews, author of Milk-Blood Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs


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Addiction starts like a sweet lullaby sung by a trusted loved one. It washes away the pains of the day and wraps you in the warmness of the womb where nothing hurts and every dream is possible. Yet soon enough, this warm state of bliss becomes a cold shiver, the ecstasy and dreams become nightmares, yet we can't stop listening to the lullaby. We crave to hear the siren son Addiction starts like a sweet lullaby sung by a trusted loved one. It washes away the pains of the day and wraps you in the warmness of the womb where nothing hurts and every dream is possible. Yet soon enough, this warm state of bliss becomes a cold shiver, the ecstasy and dreams become nightmares, yet we can't stop listening to the lullaby. We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart. Six stories: three novellas, three novelettes, written by a powerful list of talent, all featuring the insidious nature of addiction--damaged humans craving for highs and wholeness but finding something more tragic and horrific on the other side. FEATURING: Caroline Kepnes author of You and Hidden Bodies Kealan Patrick Burke, author of Sour Candy and Kin Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls John F.D. Taff, author of The Fearing Mark Matthews, author of Milk-Blood Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs

30 review for Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror

  1. 5 out of 5

    Char

    4.5/5 stars! Heartbreaking, haunting and memorable, these LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING will stay with you for a long, long time. Here we have a collection of 6 novellas, all of them from authors I've read before, so I was eager to start listening when my request to Audiobook Boom was approved. Kealan Patrick Burke's SOMETIMES THEY SEE ME: When the lives of two addicts collide and interrupt suicide attempts, you know the story won't end well. Stories of addiction rarely do. Caroline Kepnes' MONSTERS: Thi 4.5/5 stars! Heartbreaking, haunting and memorable, these LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING will stay with you for a long, long time. Here we have a collection of 6 novellas, all of them from authors I've read before, so I was eager to start listening when my request to Audiobook Boom was approved. Kealan Patrick Burke's SOMETIMES THEY SEE ME: When the lives of two addicts collide and interrupt suicide attempts, you know the story won't end well. Stories of addiction rarely do. Caroline Kepnes' MONSTERS: This novella features Ms. Kepnes' excellent writing style and despite the addictions on display within, I couldn't help but come away from this tale with a feeling of (misplaced?) hope for the last two standing. Mark Matthews' LIZARD went off the rails almost from the get-go. All I can say is I felt so sorry for almost every character in this story. I have been reading Mark's work for many years now, because he writes about addiction from a place that he really knows. I think his experiences make his work that much more powerful and poignant. John F.D. Taff's THE MELTING POINT OF MEAT talks about a different kind of addiction, but that doesn't make his story any less difficult to read. Gabino Iglesias' BEYOND THE REEF was my favorite tale in this collection because it was just so damn different from the others. Not only is this an addiction tale, but it also has a distinct Lovecraftian feel to it that I just adored. Mercedes Yardley's LOVE IS A CREMATORIUM broke my damn heart. First with its depiction of family "love" between a father and daughter, but also a dark study of that crazy love that happens to some of us in high school. What would one teen do for another to help them escape a terrible home life situation? Was that the right thing to do? Of all the dark tales here, this is the one that made me cry. Neither of these kids started out with bad intentions-she left because of her dad, and he left because he loved her. What happens to them? You'll have to read this and see, but be sure to have some tissues nearby. The narrator, Linda Jones, is one with which I was not familiar prior to listening to this collection. She's terrific and brought these tales home with humanity and care. Overall, this is an incredible collection of stories from authors that are currently the best in the business as far as I'm concerned. Some names are bigger than others, some are more famous than others, but every one of them can write the hell out of a story and that's exactly what they do here. HIGHLY recommended! Get your copy here: https://amzn.to/2UnNWwf *Thank you to Audiobook Boom for the audio version of this book which I freely chose to review.*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shaina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. These are some serious stories about addiction to just about everything and this book helps you remember that. You read what kind of pain brought each and every person to be a slave to their habit. One story was very unique in that the person wanted the habit to swallow her. The stories made me sad and there were a couple stories I had to skim, but these were good and personal. It may help some with like habits, enflame others, show others how far they have come, or maybe trigger the really sens These are some serious stories about addiction to just about everything and this book helps you remember that. You read what kind of pain brought each and every person to be a slave to their habit. One story was very unique in that the person wanted the habit to swallow her. The stories made me sad and there were a couple stories I had to skim, but these were good and personal. It may help some with like habits, enflame others, show others how far they have come, or maybe trigger the really sensitive. It helped get a glimpse into the lives of some in situations of which I had no idea and be able to sympathize. This book could also just be a bunch of scary, gory, out -there fun for some readers; but the subject matter does need to be recognized. Those putting together this book did that. I was given a copy of this book for Kindle for free and though I’m not sure my review is required; I’m giving it freely.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    My review of LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING can be found at High Fever Books. For his follow-up to Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror, Mark Matthews has once again put together a line-up of indie and small-press horror A-listers for Lullabies for Suffering. This antho features six long short stories and novellas, all of which focus on the theme of addiction. Even though heroin features heavily here, the stories are far from repetitive and the surrounding plots are creative, forceful, and, at ti My review of LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING can be found at High Fever Books. For his follow-up to Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror, Mark Matthews has once again put together a line-up of indie and small-press horror A-listers for Lullabies for Suffering. This antho features six long short stories and novellas, all of which focus on the theme of addiction. Even though heroin features heavily here, the stories are far from repetitive and the surrounding plots are creative, forceful, and, at times, painfully engaging. Kealan Patrick Burke kicks things off with two strangers discovering one another on a bridge known for its suicidal jumpers. Calvin is an alcoholic and drug addict with the ability to look at a piece of art and know the story of the artist behind it. His lover, too, sees things and was drawn to him because of it. While “Sometimes They See Me” is a tragic love story about two addicts finding one another, Mercedes M. Yardley’s “Love Is A Crematorium,” is a tragic love story in which addiction divides two young lovers. These two stories make wonderful bookends to the collection with their plays on themes that are both similar and opposite. In between is “Monsters,” from Caroline Kepnes, a dirty, messed up little story about dirty, messed up people. We’ve got coke addicts and alcoholics here, along with a sexually precocious 12-year-old girl trying to rile up her 18-year-old male babysitter, and all are addicted to misery in one form or another. I loved the human drama in this one and the way these character’s stories zigged and zagged, and I was never sure what direction it would go. I’ve been hearing for a few years now about how great a writer Kepnes is, and this was certainly a hell of an introduction for me. Mark Matthews’s novella, “Lizard,” deals with Lizabeth, a drug court probation officer, making a home visit to a new addict she’s been assigned. Lizabeth and Becca, a recovering addict, have recently been denied adoption due to their pasts and sexual orientation. Lizabeth, though, has some secrets of her own thanks to a traumatic injury as a child to junkies that left her cranium shattered. “Lizard” is a deeply dark story that pulls no punches, and Matthews doesn’t shy away from taking you into a seedy drug den in search of a high, or illustrating the heartbreaking nature of a child growing up with parents who are addicts. Not being a fan of needles myself, there were a few scenes in this story that made me pretty damn antsy! In “The Melting Point of Meat,” John F.D. Taff delivers one of my personal favorites of this anthology, as well as probably one of the best story titles ever. This one’s a really cool work of cosmic horror involving a young woman’s addiction to cutting, and the pain she receives from her self-mutilation allows her to see things beyond this realm. She becomes hooked on not just the pain, but whatever the pain is trying to show her, and so she seeks to satisfy these dual needs in anyway possible, through various rounds of self-harm. Taff goes to some dark and extreme places here, leading to some gut twisting, squirm inducing scenes, that left me itching for more. He’s recently announced on Twitter that he’s working on a collection of four cosmic horror-themed novellas, and if this is any indication of what to expect with that book, sign me the hell up immediately. Gabino Iglesias draws on Lovecraftian lore to tell a crime story about a drug deal gone wrong in “Beyond the Reef.” Sea creatures, paranoia, the competing weights of addiction and fatherhood, and impending violence make this another stand-out entry in an already wickedly strong anthology. Although the narrators of these disturbing lullabies oftentimes romanticize their addictions, like Adam in Iglesias’s story comparing heroin to “the hand of God inside you, as if he reached his palm into your chest, caressed your heart, and nothing but his good grace and beauty pumped through your veins,” these horror stories most decidedly illustrate the negative consequences and potential for worst-case scenarios in the drug scene. Taff’s Livy possess a keen sense of self-awareness when she tells readers “Everything that becomes an addiction leads to death,” and we experience the full scope of these addictions and the damages that go along with it. As Matthews notes in his introduction, which helps lay the groundwork for the stories that follow, “The ecstasy and dreams become nightmares,” but for the addict, “We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart.” Whether self-inflicted or because the addiction is a gateway for monsters, we become privy to the resultant terrors of one’s own body turned against it, or the external manifestations of addiction made real. Lullabies for Suffering presents some gruesome stories of addiction horror, but even in its darkest moments there are still rays of hope to be found for those strong enough, and brave enough.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Lullabies for Suffering was my first venture into addiction horror, and I’ll definitely be seeking out more stories like those in this anthology. This book includes six novella/novelette-length tales, and it begins with a brief introduction by Mark Matthews, which provides the reader with a bit of information on the authors and their story topics. I thought that the introduction was a nice touch, as it gives the reader some background on addiction horror, and also prepares you for the story topi Lullabies for Suffering was my first venture into addiction horror, and I’ll definitely be seeking out more stories like those in this anthology. This book includes six novella/novelette-length tales, and it begins with a brief introduction by Mark Matthews, which provides the reader with a bit of information on the authors and their story topics. I thought that the introduction was a nice touch, as it gives the reader some background on addiction horror, and also prepares you for the story topics, should any of them be too sensitive. I enjoyed all of these stories, so I’d like to share some thoughts on each: SOMETIMES THEY SEE ME—Kealan Patrick Burke: This was a great start to the anthology. It’s a creative and touching story from start to finish, with a stellar ending. Matthews mentioned that it “begs to be read twice”, and I have to agree with this. MONSTERS—Caroline Kepnes: This was actually my first introduction to this author’s writing, and I can see why her stories are so well-loved. It’s a heartbreaking tale about addiction and abuse, and how it affects the family, especially children. This one is all about human monsters—no supernatural or other aspects of horror needed to make this tale frightening. LIZARD—Mark Matthews: This was also my introduction to Matthews’ writing, and it did not disappoint. It’s a powerful and memorable story, and by the time I reached the end I was adding all of Mark’s work to my wish list. THE MELTING POINT OF MEAT—John F.D. Taff: Another excellent offering from this author, who has been called, “The King of Pain” by others in the horror community. I was fully invested in the main character and couldn’t stop turning the pages on this one. I can’t wait to read more of his work. BEYOND THE REEF—Gabino Iglesias: This author’s writing is just beautiful—I found myself tearing up a few times early on in this story. There’s so much heart to this one, yet it’s also dark and gritty. I loved how the author portrayed the main character—we not only see his addictive behavior, but we also get a glimpse into the person behind the addiction, viewing the goodness that co-exists with the darkness. It’s a nerve-wracking tale with Lovecraftian vibes (I clearly need more of this in my life), and not to be missed. LOVE IS A CREMATORIUM—Mercedes M. Yardley: I won’t say too much, but this story made the whole anthology go out with a book-hangover inducing bang. A story about the lengths that some go to in order to save those they love, sometimes leading to their own addictions and demise in the process. This one left me in tears and yearning for more of Yardley’s writing. Thankfully, I had a collection of hers on my shelf, and immediately bumped it to the top of my pile. This is a collection that will move any reader, and I’m sure each story will affect people differently. Despite the central theme, these stories vary in topic and scope of horror. If you’ve ever been personally affected by addiction in any way, you’ll find bits of each story that you can relate to. Like me, you might find that the words in these stories not only sting at times, but provide some sense of solace.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve Stred

    ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! ** Mark Matthews returns with seven stories to inflict emotional suffering. His previous effort (Gardens of Fiends) has been recommended to me a number of times. It is sitting on my TBR waiting to be read. I read this collection over the course of a week, reading a new story each night. Matthews opens up with an introduction and within he says that each tale is novella length, allowing for each author to have the space to let their story grow and ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! ** Mark Matthews returns with seven stories to inflict emotional suffering. His previous effort (Gardens of Fiends) has been recommended to me a number of times. It is sitting on my TBR waiting to be read. I read this collection over the course of a week, reading a new story each night. Matthews opens up with an introduction and within he says that each tale is novella length, allowing for each author to have the space to let their story grow and develop, which is a fantastic thing. Sometimes in packed collections, the stories feel stifled, unable to breathe. I’m going to do a quick run-through of each story and then finish with some overall thoughts. ‘Sometimes They See Me’ by Kealan Patrick Burke. I enjoyed this story, but parts of it almost felt subdued. As though Kealan took his foot off of the gas pedal a few times instead of ramping things up. This story follows a pair of addicts as they navigate through a specific stage of life. I wished Burke would have gone super horrific in this, but overall, the story had a nice flow to it. ‘Monsters’ by Caroline Kepnes. This story was one of two stories here that I felt didn’t click. We get two POV’s between an older teen and a younger teen. The older teen is a boy and the younger a girl and the boy is asked to babysit out of the blue one evening. There is a lot to unpack here and Kepnes did a fantastic job of unravelling the ‘other’ parts to this story, but I found some of the internal dialogue stuff jumbled the story a bit. ‘Lizard’ by Mark Matthews. Outstanding story with a thoroughly engrossing narrative. I really dug this one. Matthews filled this story with a ton of emotion and as the story played out, I found myself wanting to yell about the decisions made by the main character. ‘The Melting Point of Meat’ by John F.D. Taff. Great story following an individual who is addicted to the euphoria she experiences while in pain. She connects with a researcher and things take a bonkers turn from there, flying into Barker land with some Lovecraftian landscapes. I think I would have enjoyed this story a bit more if it didn’t remind me in places of Taff’s story ‘Just a Phone Call Away’ that was in his last collection, ‘Little Black Spots.’ ‘Beyond the Reef’ by Gabino Iglesias. This story was a lot of fun, even if it felt a bit disjointed between the main characters back story and the ‘twist’ that ratcheted this into creature horror. There was a great emotional element to the story that I felt let me connect with it a bit deeper. ‘Love is a Crematorium’ by Mercedes M. Yardley. If you thought this collection was going to end with a whimper instead of a bang – big time wrong. This story starts out innocently enough and then just grows and grows and morphs and morphs and before you know it you are bawling, your heart hurts and then it ends and you’re just crushed. Just a brutal look at young love. My only confusion from this story was at first I thought the characters were older than they actually were, so once that got sorted in my reading brain, things clicked. Overall, a really devastating mix of stories that deliver a variety of takes on the theme of addiction. It works well that none of the stories really cover any of the same terrain.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Roxie Voorhees

    My anthology drought is over! This collection of six novellas is an intense depiction of the real horror surrounding addiction. Most of these stories tell of heroin and other opioids abuse; a serious and real problem in America today, then others depict alternative addictions. Whether it is pain, drugs, or the need to take care of someone, it is evident that nearly anything can slip into the tragic cycle of addiction. SOMETIMES THEY SEE ME BY KEALAN PATRICK BURKE Although not as horrific as other My anthology drought is over! This collection of six novellas is an intense depiction of the real horror surrounding addiction. Most of these stories tell of heroin and other opioids abuse; a serious and real problem in America today, then others depict alternative addictions. Whether it is pain, drugs, or the need to take care of someone, it is evident that nearly anything can slip into the tragic cycle of addiction. SOMETIMES THEY SEE ME BY KEALAN PATRICK BURKE Although not as horrific as other works I have read by this author, this one does not disappoint. We meet the narrator and Calvin, the melancholy, lost, artist at a bridge, both pondering the depths below. Instead a whirlwind romance of flesh and euphoria take us by storm. By the time the origin of Calvin is revealed, you will be exposed to the messy, ugly, gross force that is addiction. ⭐⭐⭐⭐for being entertaining *mild suicide scene* MONSTERS BY CAROLINE HEPNES Caroline spoiled me with Joe-the monster we all hate to love, and this story is up to par. She once again shows us that most monsters live on our block, even in our homes. ⭐⭐⭐ for being entertaining ⭐ for an accurate depiction of co-dependency *co-dependency, sexual child abuse theme* LIZARD BY MARK MATTHEWS Holy. Fucking. Shit. The first time reading Mark and certainly not the last. An emotional ride of heartbreak and heroine-ism. When is a mistake a habit? ⭐⭐⭐ for being entertaining .5 ⭐ for the eyeball scene .25 ⭐ for ending *lesbians, needles, and child abuse-OH MY!* THE MELTING POINT OF FLESH BY JOHN FD TAFF Fuck you, John. I have never, ever hated a story that I loved so much. My revulsion and fear crept in slowly and attacked full force at about 70% in this cosmic horror selection. My anxiety almost didn't allow me to finish. I survived. Well done, Sir. This doesn't happen often. ⭐⭐⭐ for keeping me hooked ⭐⭐ for freaking me the fuck out *cutting, lesbians, S and M* BEYOND THE REEF BY GABINO IGLESIAS I have a fondness for sea to land creatures (Hi Aquaman. Call me!) So this cute Puerto Rican Selkie captured my heart. In this journal style story I was left to wonder who was the real victim. ⭐⭐⭐ *baby eating, corpse eating* LOVE IS A CREMATORIUM BY MERCEDES M. YARDLEY Great addiction piece that really shows the depths we go to for love. ⭐⭐⭐ *prostitution* Overall rated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you Wicked Run Press for gifting me an advanced copy of Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aiden Merchant

    LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING Edited by Mark Matthews (Feat. Gabino Inglesias, Kealan Patrick Burke, Caroline Kepnes, John FD Taff, Mercedes M Yardley, Mark Matthews) If you haven’t really considered it before, consider it now: addiction is pure horror.  Prior to Lullabies for Suffering, I thought of addiction as a staple ingredient in literary drama; horror hadn’t really occurred to me. After reading this collection, it seems like such an obvious overlook on my part. How did I ever miss it? Addiction is LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING Edited by Mark Matthews (Feat. Gabino Inglesias, Kealan Patrick Burke, Caroline Kepnes, John FD Taff, Mercedes M Yardley, Mark Matthews) If you haven’t really considered it before, consider it now: addiction is pure horror.  Prior to Lullabies for Suffering, I thought of addiction as a staple ingredient in literary drama; horror hadn’t really occurred to me. After reading this collection, it seems like such an obvious overlook on my part. How did I ever miss it? Addiction is pure horror. It manipulates and twists and breaks a person. It destroys their world, makes it something else, dark and starving. Lullabies for Suffering captures these feelings (and more) with competence and ease. The six stories contained within will make you reposition, twitch, and wince. It’s as much an uncomfortable experience as it is chaotically poetic. Honest and gut wrenching, these stories tell a warning, one that many cannot find themselves to heed. “Sometimes They See Me” is a ride through euphoria at times, but ultimately unnerving and cracked as a whole. Its conclusion is unique and artistic. It leaves the reader with a dull ache, something becoming familiar with me and Burke’s work. “Monsters” introduces me to Kepnes in short form for the first time, and while it feels a little cockeyed at times in its storytelling, the narratives are personal and well-developed. You’re not going to get a contestor to You, but this is also clearly a Kepnes story (which is a wonderful thing on its own). “Lizard” - written by the editor of this collection, Mark Matthews - is probably the deepest entry, with tragic character development and a feeling of full-arc in its telling. “The Melting Point of Meat” was probably the most disturbing and bizarre story, but in a good way. It frequently made me cringe and exhale stilted breaths. Being new to Taff, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the cosmic conclusion was as awesome as it was weird. “Beyond the Reef” and "Love is a Crematorium" both felt a little weak at times, but were also ripe with possibilities. Despite the issues I had with these two entries, there were still some excellent theatrics and drama to be found. None of the work in this collection failed. Ultimately, Lullabies for Suffering delivers time and again. There’s a lot to fear in these stories and a lot to learn. Rarely do you come across a collection so well-versed in its life lessons and realistic horrors. - by Aiden Merchant

  8. 5 out of 5

    Will Blosser

    Lullabies for Suffering is the second addiction themed anthology edited by Mark Mathews. The six stories within these pages tell of the life-destroying effects of addictions of all varieties. These stories are personal. They are brutal and hard to read. If you have ever been touched by addiction, either your own or that of a loved one, you will find something here that resonates deeply with you. These authors give a blunt and honest peek into the mind of those battling with addiction. The lies, Lullabies for Suffering is the second addiction themed anthology edited by Mark Mathews. The six stories within these pages tell of the life-destroying effects of addictions of all varieties. These stories are personal. They are brutal and hard to read. If you have ever been touched by addiction, either your own or that of a loved one, you will find something here that resonates deeply with you. These authors give a blunt and honest peek into the mind of those battling with addiction. The lies, the justifications, the slippery slopes and the compromises they lead to. They paint a picture of addiction and all its ugly truths, including the physical and psychological effects that it has on the innocent people who get caught in the crossfire. Every single story here is an absolutely powerful take on this dark topic. My Favorite Story Monsters- Caroline Kepnes: This story is told mostly through the rambling internal monologue of Vince, a young college student whose mother is a cocaine addict in and out of rehab. Kepnes excellently illustrates the debilitating self doubt that can come from being raised by an addict. Vince’s internal thoughts are fraught with self-loathing, sexual frustration, and doubt. It’s clear he cares so much about his mother, but her habit and behaviours continually crush him. The other segments of the story are told in third person, centered around Ariel, the twelve year old girl down the street from Vince. When Vince babysits Ariel, some of her own personal demons come out. The Rest of Them, in Order of Appearance Sometimes They See Me- Kealan Patrick Burke: This story begins with two strangers meeting on a bridge one night, and instantly connecting. They both went there to commit suicide, but instead, found comfort in each other. As they spend time together, they talk about their pasts and what has led them to this point in their lives. Things take a dark and bizarre turn as we discover the true nature of the two characters. Burke crafts a strange and intimate tale with an extremely unexpected ending. Lizard- Mark Matthews: Lizabeth “Lizard” Baker is a parole officer who specializes in mothers with drug charges. After receiving another in a long line of rejections from adoption agencies, Lizabeth heads off to her first home visit in her new position. Matthews flips between the present and Lizard’s childhood, slowly shedding light on her parent’s addictions and the terrible things it led to. All of Lizard’s inner demons come to a head in the shocking and surreal climax of the story. The Melting Point of Meat -John FD Taff: It was very tough to pick a favorite of these stories, and The Melting Point of Meat was an incredibly close second.This story introduces us to Livy, a young girl who’s addiction is pain. Told in alternating first and third person, Taff walks us through Livy’s life as she discovers her love for pain and her growing need for more of it. When she learns of a secret scientific study being conducted on pain, she knows that she has to find a way in. I love the delivery method Taff uses here. The passages through Livy’s eyes show her thoughts on her own addiction, and on how addiction progresses and transforms a person. With a terrifying cosmic theme and a dynamite ending, The Melting Point of Meat is an absolutely thrilling read. I’ll definitely be looking into more of John FD Taff’s work. Beyond The Reef- Gabino Iglesias: Locked in a hotel room, our protagonist Adam frantically records the story of how he got here for his daughter Angelica. He hopes to explain why he did the things he did, and what led him to this point in his life. With ominous overtones of some mysterious impending doom, Adam relays the tale of how he became hooked on heroin, and the series of poor choices and chance happenstances that led down a slippery slope and into a pool of danger. Iglesias does a wonderful job of showing just how fast things can snowball, and how easily addiction can get on top of you and have you doing things you never thought you would. Love is a Crematorium- Mercedes M. Yardley: Kelly and Joy are two young kids in love. Joy’s father viciously abuses her, and when she has finally had enough, the two lovers run away to the big city. Their plans quickly turn to ash as they struggle and starve, homeless and penniless. As their situation becomes more and more dire, compromises have to be made. This is truly a story of just how quickly things can completely fall apart, and how one compromise of character leads to another and another. Each of theses stories tackles a different aspect of addiction. They are all so different, but the themes of desperation, destruction and pain are universal. For those familiar with addiction, these stories might be an uncomfortable glance in the mirror. For those who haven’t seen addiction up close, these stories serve as a dark, terrifying and realistic warning. Editor Mark Matthews has brought together an amazing and intimate collection of stories that hit on a very personal level.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (spooky.octopus.reads) Turner

    Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror was a new type of horror for me. I didn’t know what to expect from “addiction horror” going into this one. The stories contained in this beautifully dark book explore the devastating desperation of various types of addictions. I am sure in some way we have all been affected by addiction, whether we have a loved one who struggles to overcome the stranglehold of substances or obsessions or maybe an acquaintance who took a dark path years ago and g Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror was a new type of horror for me. I didn’t know what to expect from “addiction horror” going into this one. The stories contained in this beautifully dark book explore the devastating desperation of various types of addictions. I am sure in some way we have all been affected by addiction, whether we have a loved one who struggles to overcome the stranglehold of substances or obsessions or maybe an acquaintance who took a dark path years ago and grapples to get back to the light. I think that anyone, not solely horror fans, who has had experience with or an interest in addiction and the addict’s mind would truly enjoy this book. The pure rawness of the approach to the subject matter in the stories is to be appreciated. There is absolutely no sugar coating anything. My overall impressions: 💀 I thought the Kealan Patrick Burke story was a step away from what I normally read of his work. It was a bit tamer than what I’m used to, and therefore wasn’t a favorite. 💀 Lizard by Mark Matthews was a standout in this collection! The story line grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I felt invested in the characters, and anything that involves a kid dealing with a parent’s addiction just tears me up. 💀 Beyond the Reef by Gabino Iglesias was my first story by this author, and I loved the “creature” elements. There was one dream scene involving a baby that had me holding my breath. I thought the topic of addiction and it’s different facets was covered phenomenally in this collection. No two stories were alike, but all had their own unique takes on the topic. 🖤🖤🖤🖤 I am giving this one 4 black hearts ONLY because collections are tough, and every story wasn’t love for me, but I’d TOTALLY recommend you picking it up when it’s released in Jan. 2020. Special thanks to Wicked Run Press for providing an ARC for me to read and review!

  10. 4 out of 5

    D.K. Hundt

    4.5/5.0* ‘Lullaby aims to portray this affliction with honesty, empathy, and understanding.’ The tears began and refused to stop as I read ‘Love is a Crematorium’ by Mercedes M. Yardley, the last story in this anthology, one of many I will never forget. Not many genres other than Horror, in this reader's opinion, can so effectively tackle the harsh dark reality that is addiction for so many. One of whom I hold dearly in my heart, always, lost their battle from addiction so many years ago - in my m 4.5/5.0* ‘Lullaby aims to portray this affliction with honesty, empathy, and understanding.’ The tears began and refused to stop as I read ‘Love is a Crematorium’ by Mercedes M. Yardley, the last story in this anthology, one of many I will never forget. Not many genres other than Horror, in this reader's opinion, can so effectively tackle the harsh dark reality that is addiction for so many. One of whom I hold dearly in my heart, always, lost their battle from addiction so many years ago - in my mind - this book is for him. Thank you, Mark Matthews and Wicked Run Press, for providing me with an advance eBook copy of Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction in exchange for an honest review

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    These tales of addiction are heartbreaking and will wreak havoc with your emotions. My review is posted here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1Rk These tales of addiction are heartbreaking and will wreak havoc with your emotions. My review is posted here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1Rk

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This was a great collection of novella-length short stories based around the subject of drug addiction and written by some of my favourite authors, notably Caroline Kepnes, Kealan Patrick Burke and Mark Matthews, and introducing me to several other authors whose work I shall now be seeking out. I really enjoyed the characters, horrible as some of them were, and didn't dislike any of the tales (unusual in a short story collection) so would recommend this collection to lovers of short fiction - 9/ This was a great collection of novella-length short stories based around the subject of drug addiction and written by some of my favourite authors, notably Caroline Kepnes, Kealan Patrick Burke and Mark Matthews, and introducing me to several other authors whose work I shall now be seeking out. I really enjoyed the characters, horrible as some of them were, and didn't dislike any of the tales (unusual in a short story collection) so would recommend this collection to lovers of short fiction - 9/10.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    “We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart.” Sometimes They See Me By Kealan Patrick Burke - It’s not blood. It’s paint. I needed red. Monsters by Caroline Kepnes - She wants to slide. She doesn’t want to stick. Lizard by Mark Matthews - Seduced by a sweet lullaby full of promises but finding only suffering. The Melting Point of Meat by John F.D. Taft – I saw everything. Each time I saw more clearly. Beyond the Reef by Gabino Iglesias - Smells like cigarette smoke, wet carpet and broken d “We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart.” Sometimes They See Me By Kealan Patrick Burke - It’s not blood. It’s paint. I needed red. Monsters by Caroline Kepnes - She wants to slide. She doesn’t want to stick. Lizard by Mark Matthews - Seduced by a sweet lullaby full of promises but finding only suffering. The Melting Point of Meat by John F.D. Taft – I saw everything. Each time I saw more clearly. Beyond the Reef by Gabino Iglesias - Smells like cigarette smoke, wet carpet and broken dreams. Love is a Crematorium by Mercedes M. Yardley - The darkness is deep and horrific and hungry. A solid offering of dark addition tales and not downer in the bunch. These stories are cut with pure pain and suffering, blood and the bleak. Disturbing and tragic stories that compliment each other while retaining their own uniqueness. 4.5 Stars and as solid an anthology as they come.

  14. 5 out of 5

    WooWooSpooky❥

    "Every person you meet is two or three bad decisions away from being a junkie, homeless, dealing with a horrible disease, or getting a bullet to the back of the head. The kicker? All humans are born flawed, naturally defective." Addiction horror is new to me. This is my second book I've read about it. We all already know addiction is ruthless, scary and sorrowful. Some of the stories in this book have a weird paranormal type twist to them. Not even paranormal but just out there. It was interestin "Every person you meet is two or three bad decisions away from being a junkie, homeless, dealing with a horrible disease, or getting a bullet to the back of the head. The kicker? All humans are born flawed, naturally defective." Addiction horror is new to me. This is my second book I've read about it. We all already know addiction is ruthless, scary and sorrowful. Some of the stories in this book have a weird paranormal type twist to them. Not even paranormal but just out there. It was interesting tho. Regardless, we get into the mind and see the addiction of the addict and it leaves a pit in your stomach. One story had me bawling my eyes out by the end of it. And despite the sensitive subject of addiction and the authors writing the horror of it. Some with a twist, they were respectful. You see through the eyes of the ones suffering. What they have to deal with and how they got there. I can't see myself reading these types of books back to back. Its definitely heavy stuff that you need a break from. But its worth picking up and reading. I enjoyed the twists.

  15. 5 out of 5

    NB NB

    My emotions are exposed and raw, my stomach tangled, my shoulders sagged. This open-veined collection tore me up. When Lullabies for Suffering began circulating social media, I knew I wanted to review it and my expectations were high. I hoped for a hauntingly gritty, yet delicate portrayal of various addictions, not just alcohol and drugs. I hoped for stories that illuminated without romanticizing. I wanted to experience the disease fester in the character’s minds while longing for a happy endin My emotions are exposed and raw, my stomach tangled, my shoulders sagged. This open-veined collection tore me up. When Lullabies for Suffering began circulating social media, I knew I wanted to review it and my expectations were high. I hoped for a hauntingly gritty, yet delicate portrayal of various addictions, not just alcohol and drugs. I hoped for stories that illuminated without romanticizing. I wanted to experience the disease fester in the character’s minds while longing for a happy ending. I wanted to read this and feel addiction. I got what I wanted. Six unique short stories make up this collection, and each one left a mark. While alcohol and drugs are prevalent, the anthology includes some lesser represented addictions such as pain, people and even hope. When combined, Lullabies for Suffering becomes a dramatic and intense array for tales that burrow under the skin. Each time I finished a story, I thought ‘That’s my favorite. No story can top it,’ and then the next one did just that. Each writer exhibited a thoroughness and compassionate understanding of the subject matter, weaving together reality and fiction in such a way that addiction gets a worthy platform in which to enlighten readers about the true nature of the disease. I’m grateful that nothing was held back, that the characters contained realism both in action and dialogue, and that the lure of drugs/alcohol was presented in such a way that didn’t glamorize the topic. But let’s not forget this is a horror collection. If you’re after blood, you’ll get it. Eerie tension? Yup, you can check that box. What about mysterious creatures? Sure thing. There’s plenty of dark elements to keep you glued to the pages. Usually when I review a collection, I single out a few stories, but I’d rather not do that for Lullabies for Suffering. Each one created a captivating story world that sucked me in and led me on a dark and twisted ride. There wasn’t one that shined over the other. They all lit up the pages. But it wasn’t just curiosity that led me to request this book. I’ve had my own struggles, faced my own demons, and been tortured by my own mind. I dream of writing my own story one day, but I’m not ready, and that’s okay. It was important to me, as someone who lived with heavy darkness shadowing her every move, to read this and tell the world whether the authors got it right. Rest assured, they did, and in doing so, gave a powerful voice to the victims of addiction, no matter what that addiction may be. *Thank you to the editor for a free ARC in exchange for a review

  16. 5 out of 5

    lee_readsbooks

    I will admit Lullabies For Suffering was not only a cover buy but also an author buy. There are some stories by some amazing authors in this book! In saying that, this book is addiction horror. I was going in blind on a book based on its authors. This was probably the wrong book to do that with. The only thing I've ever been addicted to is cigarettes but this book covers a variety of different addictions and it's not pleasant. The stories are dark, horrific, and absolutely heart breaking. I've had I will admit Lullabies For Suffering was not only a cover buy but also an author buy. There are some stories by some amazing authors in this book! In saying that, this book is addiction horror. I was going in blind on a book based on its authors. This was probably the wrong book to do that with. The only thing I've ever been addicted to is cigarettes but this book covers a variety of different addictions and it's not pleasant. The stories are dark, horrific, and absolutely heart breaking. I've had my fair share of fun with recreational drugs in my earlier years but I've been lucky enough to have never known a drug addict. On the flip side I have had the unfortunate pleasure of knowing an abusive alcoholic that not only ruined her own life but those of her children and husband. Addiction is a horrific reality that we face in today's society. Am I glad I read this book? Yes. Would I read more addiction horror? No. But that's just my circumstance that makes me feel that way. The stories captured the feelings of characters & the gravity of the situation so strongly that I could not read this book all in one go. It was painful, horrific, and gut wrenching. As much as I did enjoy this book I must warn others of the dark path you will travel down should you choose to read this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Amazing

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brennan LaFaro

    Before the genesis of this collection, I didn't realize that addiction horror was a thing. Now it makes all the sense in the world. One of the best things I've discovered through reading more independent horror is my own expanded definition of what horror means, what it can be. 
There are stories in this anthology like that of Gabino or John Taff that fit a little more neatly under the horror umbrella, with other-worldly creatures. Other stories like that of Caroline Kepnes and Mercedes Yardley Before the genesis of this collection, I didn't realize that addiction horror was a thing. Now it makes all the sense in the world. One of the best things I've discovered through reading more independent horror is my own expanded definition of what horror means, what it can be. 
There are stories in this anthology like that of Gabino or John Taff that fit a little more neatly under the horror umbrella, with other-worldly creatures. Other stories like that of Caroline Kepnes and Mercedes Yardley approach it from a more human perspective and read almost as literary drama. Yet all display elements of horror and give us complex characters dealing with real fear. 
All the stories contained within are in novella/novelette form, and it ends up being one of the biggest strengths. As much as, if not more, than other forms of horror the reader must get to know the characters in order to empathize with their plight and truly take part in the horror that surrounds them. The longer form helps every story accomplish this feat and is a tremendous argument in favor of quality over quantity. 
Kealan Patrick Burke's Now They See Me is a bleak, beautiful opening. It's deeply entrenched in the style you know you're going to be reading. Pure Burke. 
Monsters was my introduction to Caroline Kepnes. This story is written in a multiple POV style that draws the reader in. This one draws from the evil contained within the human heart and leaves us to contemplate the god-awful things we do to each other. 
Lizard was a stand-out story written by Mark Matthews, who also edited the anthology. Matthews sets up in the introduction his personal history with addiction, both as an insider and an outsider. It is quickly clear to the reader that he draws deeply to paint the most true-to-life picture possible. The end result is a story that is tough to read at multiple points, but holds the anthology together. 
John F.D. Taff's The Melting Point of Meat reads with a tinge of Clive Barker, namely the last ten pages or so. It's a brutal exploration of a type of addiction we might not anticipate, but might be most likely to see day-to-day. It also serves as the King of Pain's foray into cosmic horror and has me all kinds of excited for a potential collection of cosmic novellas from him. 
Gabino Iglesias contributes Beyond the Reef which I found to be one of the strongest entries. The opening salvo comparing addiction to parenting is passionately written and poignant and roped me in immediately. The remainder is creepy as hell and has a fun Lovecraft connection. 
Love is a Crematorium by Mercedes M. Yardley was my personal favorite addition to Lullabies. Watching Joy's character arc primarily through the eyes of Kelly is heart wrenching, and while none of the stories here would be described as light and fun, this was the one that cut the deepest. Well-written and expertly conceived. 



  19. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Have you ever read a book that simultaneously horrified you and broke your heart? Well, Lullabies for Suffering does exactly that to its readers. When I first received this book, I had no idea what addiction horror was. I mean, I had some idea of what to expect, but I wasn't quite prepared for all of this. The stories, as the theme suggests, are all tied together by one common topic: addiction. Each novella is written by a different author, and they all deal with the subject matter in a differen Have you ever read a book that simultaneously horrified you and broke your heart? Well, Lullabies for Suffering does exactly that to its readers. When I first received this book, I had no idea what addiction horror was. I mean, I had some idea of what to expect, but I wasn't quite prepared for all of this. The stories, as the theme suggests, are all tied together by one common topic: addiction. Each novella is written by a different author, and they all deal with the subject matter in a different way. The short story collections I usually read are all by the same author, so I wondered if I would find harmony within these pages. And boy, did I ever find that! No matter how different these stories were, they all worked together to make for one great book. I won't summarize all of them, and they were all good, but these stories stood out to me from the rest: Sometimes They See Me, by Kealan Patrick Burke, is a surreal journey into addiction. We follow two addicts, that meet each other on a faithful night and stuck together since. As the story progresses it turns this normal setting into something quiet different. I loved this story. I admit it wasn't quiet as creepy as some of the author's other works, but I loved it nonetheless. Lizard, by Mark Matthews, has to be my favorite novella of them all. I've never read anything by this author, and what I found was perfection. In the space of about 50 pages, he made me feel a wide range of emotions. His main character, Lizabeth, had an extremely rough go at life due to her parents' habit, and now tries to help others in the same predicament. I felt like I knew this character, and was rooting for her until the end. The Melting Point of Meat, by John FD Taff, deals with a different kind of addiction. Livy, the young lady who narrates this story is addicted to pain. What starts out as a normal story, quickly turns into something quite out of this world. To me, this novella had a certain science fiction feel to it. It was extremely well done. Now we come to the weirdest story of them all. And I mean weird in a good way. Beyond the Reef, written by Gabino Iglesias is both a story about a heroin addict, and also a Lovecraftian journey into addiction. At first, the Lovecraft vibes were quite subtle, until they almost hit me in the face. You will understand what I'm talking about, as soon as you read it. Seriously, buy this books once it releases. You won't regret it. Four out of five stars! I received an ARC from Wicked Run Press in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I loved this collection so! It was deep and raw and heartbreaking and so very good. Read some authors I’d never read before, and some proven favorites. I’m sorry I missed the first book in this collection, but I’ll be going back to read it. These stories are called addiction horror, and maybe having had this touch my life in different ways made it more stark, but I’d recommend it to my fellow horror fans ;)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    STAR review in Library Journal January 2020 issue: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detai... Three Words That Describe This Book: chilling, thought provoking, timely issues Draft Review: Matthews, a recovering addict who works in the field of substance abuse treatment, has been vocal about how horror has helped him through his own struggles. From the introduction of this collection, “Horror has the capacity to speak to trauma in a unique fashion. It's a tone and technique as much as a genre, and wha STAR review in Library Journal January 2020 issue: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detai... Three Words That Describe This Book: chilling, thought provoking, timely issues Draft Review: Matthews, a recovering addict who works in the field of substance abuse treatment, has been vocal about how horror has helped him through his own struggles. From the introduction of this collection, “Horror has the capacity to speak to trauma in a unique fashion. It's a tone and technique as much as a genre, and what better way to capture the epidemic of addiction, and the barren emotional and spiritual states that come with it, than through a work of horror.” In this, Matthews’ second collection of addiction horror [Garden of Fiends], the author and editor made the conscious choice to broaden his scope, including fewer authors, but asking them to provide longer, more emotionally immersive works. Each author was tasked with portraying what addiction feels like, the horror, desperation, and sickness, all with empathy for the suffering. Merging a diverse and varied group of voices like Gabino Iglesias, Caroline Kepnes, and Mercedes Yardley, the writers brought their own person emotions and style, and while each story uses different techniques and trops from the genre, the results across the entire volume are chilling and thought provoking. Verdict: You are going to have to work a little harder to add this indie title to your collection, but it will be worth it. Many of your patrons either struggle with addiction, know someone who is struggling, or have lost someone to the struggle, and this is a book that could make a true difference in a patron’s life, just make sure they can find it with a keyword search in the OPAC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Nash

    This is quite simply the best story collection I've ever read. I loved reading the stories by the authors I knew. Kealan burke set the stage with his first tale, with a sad twist ending that I didn't see coming. Caroline Kepnes told the second tale with her own unique voice. It made me uncomfortable throughout. It was dangerous and I felt dirty reading it. Gabino Iglesias came up with something different and unique, with some otherworldly villains that were genuinely scary. It was the stories by a This is quite simply the best story collection I've ever read. I loved reading the stories by the authors I knew. Kealan burke set the stage with his first tale, with a sad twist ending that I didn't see coming. Caroline Kepnes told the second tale with her own unique voice. It made me uncomfortable throughout. It was dangerous and I felt dirty reading it. Gabino Iglesias came up with something different and unique, with some otherworldly villains that were genuinely scary. It was the stories by authors that I have never heard of that really impressed me though. Mark Matthews had the longest story, told from different perspectives of each of the characters, featuring a support worker, her lover, an addict and her child. It was fresh and different and had a great ending. John. F. D. Taffs tale of someone addicted to pain was seriously messed up, and some of the pictures he portrays at the end were straight from the depths of hell. It was the last story by Mercedes M Yardley that impressed me the most. There was nothing otherworldly here. It was simply a tale about young lovers, pursuing a dream together that suddenly became a nightmare. It was real, it was heartbreaking and I literally had tears in my eyes when I finished it. A superb piece of writing. I can't wait to check out more of their works. There isn't a single story here I would rate less than four stars. This is six authors at the very top of their game. Check out the bonus short story at the end too by Mark Matthews that I was equally impressed with. So much so that I immediately started it's follow on, Milk Blood straight after I finished this.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Armand Rosamilia

    Brutal in a really good way. These stories will rip you apart, whether you've dealt with addiction personally or in your family/friends. I had to take a break after each story and reset before going back to it. I won't bore you with the stories I loved, I'll let you decide. There was only one story I thought was alright, the rest were great. Brutal in a really good way. These stories will rip you apart, whether you've dealt with addiction personally or in your family/friends. I had to take a break after each story and reset before going back to it. I won't bore you with the stories I loved, I'll let you decide. There was only one story I thought was alright, the rest were great.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I’ve never been this obsessed with an anthology. I can’t wait to write more about this stunning and horrifying collection. Review to come!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lars (theatretenor) Skaar

    Finished this beauty tonight! Feels weird to say beauty as it’s filled with such tragic stories. Horror novellas dealing with forms of addiction. I got it for Kealan and Caroline (who have great stories in here, don’t get me wrong!) and ended up staying for the authors I didn’t know! Star of the show goes to two cause don’t make me choose - Gabino Iglesias and Mercedes M Yardley. Coincidentally the last two stories so the book really ramped up in the end! Left a nice book hangover. And then John F Finished this beauty tonight! Feels weird to say beauty as it’s filled with such tragic stories. Horror novellas dealing with forms of addiction. I got it for Kealan and Caroline (who have great stories in here, don’t get me wrong!) and ended up staying for the authors I didn’t know! Star of the show goes to two cause don’t make me choose - Gabino Iglesias and Mercedes M Yardley. Coincidentally the last two stories so the book really ramped up in the end! Left a nice book hangover. And then John FD Taff and Mark Matthews really delivered too. Two authors I also didn’t know before this book. This book is from Thunderstorm Books and is one of only 60 signed limited books produced. I feel really fortunate to have one!

  26. 4 out of 5

    The Story Girl

    I only read Caroline Kepnes's short story in here, and before anything even happened on the first page, I just got an 'icky' feeling about it all, and there were just some pervy parts of the story, and just... no. I could have lived without reading this particular story. I only read Caroline Kepnes's short story in here, and before anything even happened on the first page, I just got an 'icky' feeling about it all, and there were just some pervy parts of the story, and just... no. I could have lived without reading this particular story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike Wallace

    I have an affinity for stories about addiction. Probably because I'm a longtime recovered addict. All the stories in this collection are superb but The Melting Point of Meat John FW Taff really takes the cake. Killer collection! I have an affinity for stories about addiction. Probably because I'm a longtime recovered addict. All the stories in this collection are superb but The Melting Point of Meat John FW Taff really takes the cake. Killer collection!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kress

    This is not actually written by Caroline Kepnes. She only wrote one story in the collection. It would be more accurate to give Mark Matthews writing credit, since he arranged it and wrote one of the stories. That being said, Kepnes is the reason I got the book; she has a good track record with me, and now I've read everything I know of by her. Her story was great, and so were the others. Heroin is a great theme for horror. Creepy and disturbing. This is not actually written by Caroline Kepnes. She only wrote one story in the collection. It would be more accurate to give Mark Matthews writing credit, since he arranged it and wrote one of the stories. That being said, Kepnes is the reason I got the book; she has a good track record with me, and now I've read everything I know of by her. Her story was great, and so were the others. Heroin is a great theme for horror. Creepy and disturbing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I received this book in my Night Worms February 2020 package. Wowie! This was an amazing book. I absolutely loved every single story. The order of them was impeccable, too. I can't say enough about this collection of "tales of addiction horror." When I finished it, I felt like I lost a friend. Surreal, horrific, traumatizing, and so often brutally real. This collection will pull your heart out gently while you lie back in a state of malevolent bliss. I am finding it difficult to put these in orde I received this book in my Night Worms February 2020 package. Wowie! This was an amazing book. I absolutely loved every single story. The order of them was impeccable, too. I can't say enough about this collection of "tales of addiction horror." When I finished it, I felt like I lost a friend. Surreal, horrific, traumatizing, and so often brutally real. This collection will pull your heart out gently while you lie back in a state of malevolent bliss. I am finding it difficult to put these in order of which I loved most. They were really all *that* good. I'll try my best just to write a sentence or two about each story so that I'm not doing any of them a disservice, because I truly want all of the authors to get some coverage for their beautiful works here. "Sometimes They See Me" by Kealan Patrick Burke - A dark story that takes a phantasmagorical turn that is a metaphor for addiction. It seems real enough until it doesn't, which can be said for viewing reality through an addict's eyes. Beautiful and haunting. "Monsters" by Caroline Kepnes - An intensely sad tale about two families experiencing life in very different ways, and how their children grow up as a result of that. Written from the perspectives of each person involved, it is a window into their suffering minds and how some children can grow up and away from addiction and horror while others cannot. Amazingly painful. "Lizard" by Mark Matthews - A truly interesting story with supernatural elements playing with stone-cold reality. Told from the perspective of a drug-court caseworker who grew up with junkie parents, you get to see how it affected her mental state and later helped her to do her job well. However, it clearly also hindered it greatly because of how things take a dark turn into the supernatural later on. The relationship between Lizabeth and Becca is like a ticking time-bomb because of Becca's past and it served to show how we seem doomed to repeat history, whether we like it or not. I really felt close to the characters. Terrifying and heart-breaking. "The Melting Point of Meat" by John FD Taff - A tale of pain addiction with cosmic horror weaved into it. I found it harder to relate to this character as I've never connected pleasure with pain, but the writing is so vivid that I felt a little shaky by the end of it. Unnerving and unusual. "Beyond the Reef" by Gabino Iglesias - This one had a very unique take on substance abuse. It reminded me of the profound horror of H.P. Lovecraft's "Old Ones," with a twist of addiction tied in. Really a creepy read that made me wonder about how much humanity affects the species' around us and what the consequences of that might be. Disconcerting and unearthly. "Love is a Crematorium" by Mercedes M. Yardley - A gut-wrenching love story about a boy and a girl who grew up together and decide to run away. The girl wants to leave because her father is abusive, and the boy simply wants to go with her because he loves her. Their journey into homelessness and addiction is heart-rending because it is so clear that this could be the story of so many you meet on the streets. Beguiling and cruel. I so very highly recommend this collection of tales. Scary, heart-breaking, and way too good to miss.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    * First I would like to thank Goodreads and the authors of this book for providing me the chance to win this book through Goodreads Giveaways!* This book is an anthology of 6 short stories and one bonus story. The stories are all addiction related. Sometimes They See Me, by Kealan Patrick Burke is weird. A man and woman who both do drugs, meet by accident when they were going to commit suicide. I was surprised at the ending though. Monsters, by Caroline Kepnes is good. An 18 year boy, who is distra * First I would like to thank Goodreads and the authors of this book for providing me the chance to win this book through Goodreads Giveaways!* This book is an anthology of 6 short stories and one bonus story. The stories are all addiction related. Sometimes They See Me, by Kealan Patrick Burke is weird. A man and woman who both do drugs, meet by accident when they were going to commit suicide. I was surprised at the ending though. Monsters, by Caroline Kepnes is good. An 18 year boy, who is distraught because he's a virgin, babysits a 12 year old girl. The monster in this story is not who you think it is. Lizard, by Mark Matthews is pretty cool. Two women in love want to have a baby. One of the women has a past addiction habit, so they keep getting turned down to adopt a baby. When an opportunity arrives, it's too hard to resist. Something happens close to the end that made my mouth drop to the floor! The Melting Point Of Meat, by John F. D. Taft is disturbing. I could not finish this story. The story was about an addiction that hurt me. I am serious. Mr. Taft was so detailed in his writing that I felt like I was getting dizzy. My anxiety and blood pressure went up and I had to stop reading this story about 20 pages in. No offense to Mr. Taft at all! I have had to stop reading books by Jack Ketchum because of my anxiety. So I stopped and went on to the next story. Love Is A Crematorium, by Mercedes M. Yardley is sad. Two young adults in love run away from home. They find out what life is like living on the streets of a city. Beyond The Reef, by Gabino Inglesias is my favorite. I wish this story was longer. I could read a whole novel about it. This man is hiding from trouble. While he is hiding, he is writing a goodbye letter to his daughter telling of how he got into trouble in the first place. The Damage Done, by Mark Matthews is crazy. This is the bonus story in the book. A mother locks her son in the basement to try and keep him off drugs. The addiction is so bad, he finds a way. I overall loved this book. The stories that everybody wrote all made my skin crawl.

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