Shadow Masters- An anthology from The Horror Zine by Jeani Rector,editor; Imajin Books; 2013; 348 pgs; $17.00 US

Founder and editor of the acclaimed The Horror Zine, Jeani Rector has assembled a hefty, new horror anthology featuring thirty-seven stories by both well known authors (e.g. Bentley Little, Scott Nicholson, Elizabeth Massie, Melanie Tem, Simon Clark, Lisa Morton) and less known writers. Of course not all the stories pleased your reviewer, but, proving Rector’s ability as an editor, many did hit the target.

Bentley Little’s outstanding “The End of the Trail”, a mix of superstition and paranormal revolving around a malevolent place beyond a bridge, is perhaps the best story in the book, but many other excellent tales are worth mentioning.

“Same Sex Vampire Wedding” by Garrett Rowlan is a very enjoyable, unusual take on the vampire theme, and “Come Down to the Store, Minerva!”is a delightful, naughty piece of “soft” horror where a husband finds a neat way to get rid of his grumpy wife.

In the tense and vivid  “Wet Birds” Elizabeth Massie manages to  inject new life (pun intended) into the overused subject of zombies, while in the well crafted, creepy “The Cellar” Tim Jeffreys depicts  a dangerous  creature  lurking in the dark.

“The People Eaters” by Christian A. Larsen is an offbeat piece of exotic horror taking place in the Peruvian wilderness , while “Seeing the Light” by William C.Rasmussen is a suspenseful, gentle ghost story set inside a haunted lighthouse.

The volume includes two effective stories of witchcraft: “Dream House” by Cheryl Kaye Tardif, a haunting tale with a tragic ending, and “The Wood Witch” by Jonathan Chapman, a disturbing story where evil influences mark for ever  the life of a teenager.

John T. Biggs contributes “Sassafrass” a superb noir with a supernatural side in which we meet a woman shot by an unfaithful husband and her invisible friend and JG Faherty  provides “Them Ol’ Negro Blues” an accomplished piece about a copycat musician finally getting his deserved punishment.

Jeani Rector herself offers two personal contributions –  “Reanimated” a quite original zombie tale, and “The Famous Film Star” an excellent mystery where a nosy journalist following the traces of a movie star makes an unexpected, horrific discovery – and her vice-editor Dean H.Wild pens the final story “Foundlings”, a powerful tale suspended between horror and SF.

The book is recommended to all horror fans, as a source of many hours of pleasantly scary reading.


Nov 2, 2013

**Please note. You may not reproduce any reviews in whole or in part without the express permission of Horror World and the respective author. Please contact the webmaster with any requests. Thank you.**