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Del Howison & Jeff Gelb, editors
Dark Delicacies 2 : Fear
Reviewed by: Mario Guslandi © 2007

Carroll & Graf Publishers / Avalon
US First Edition Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-78671-950-1
US First Edition Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-78671-951-8
288 Pages; $26.99 (HC), $16.99 (TPB)
Publication Date: 10-01-2007
Date Reviewed: 08-16-2007

Index: Horror  Fantasy  Mystery  General Fiction

Much to the dismay of malevolent critics the horror anthology is alive and well and continues to represent an interesting and useful literary device to entertain, scare and disquiet the faithful genre aficionados by providing a variety of writing styles, subjects and moods. Which means that not everything will please everyone , but also that boredom and monotony — those feelings always dangerously lurking behind any single-author collection — should be ruled out.

Welcome, then, to the second volume in the Dark Delicacies series, this time featuring twenty original stories by an equal number of distinguished horror writers trying their best to provide good food for the appetizing horror banquet. I will mention here only the ones who have succeeded.

Barbara Hambly starts the ball with 'Sunrise on running water", an excellent, imaginative piece of solid fiction where a vampire finds himself involved in the sinking of the Titanic, no less!

Joe Landsdale's 'Dog' is a truly terrifying story depicting an epic, bloody struggle between a man and a fierce, wild dog. Really an outstanding, brutal example of terror tale.

By contrast John Harrison contributes 'The accompanist', a delicate story of friendship and love at the time of silent movies, with an affectionate homage to the subtle power of music.

In Robert Masello's 'If there's a will…' — a spooky view of hidden family affairs — a young man coming home for his father's funeral discovers that things in the family are not quite what they seem to be.

Ray Garton's 'Between eight and nine o' clock', crime fiction written in a superlative storytelling style, portrays the tragic end of both an unhappy marriage and a promising love affair, while Harry Shannon's ' A host of shadows' represents an upsetting sample of neuro-psychiatric fiction exploring the dark secrets of human brain.

The talented Glen Hirshberg provides 'I am coming to live in your mouth', an enigmatic and depressing tableau centered on the deathbed of a cancer patient, where life and feelings disintegrate and nightmares take shape.

The highlight of the volume to me is Caitlin R. Kiernan's 'The ammonite violin (Murder Ballad no. 4)'an outstanding piece of dark, poetic prose featuring a melancholy serial killer and a shy, young violinist.

The remaining tales, although usually not bad, are just run-of-the-mill material, that will possibly satisfy the less demanding palates.

At any rate, 'Dark Delicacies 2' does dispense a good meal to the hungry crowd of horror fans.

Enjoy your food.

Review Archive
All Reviews alphabetized by author.

General Fiction
Non-Genre, general fiction and literature.

Supernatural fiction, supernatural horror and non-supernatural horror.

Science Fiction
Science fiction, science fantasy, speculative fiction, alternate history.

Fantasy, surrealism and magic realism.

Crime, thrillers, mystery, suspense.

Non-Fiction, True Crime, Forteana, Reference.


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