There are some powerhouse authors contained within this anthology themed around,(mostly non-human), monsters: Jeffrey Ford, Peter Straub and John Langan to name just a few. Surprising me, though, was the fact that it was the lesser known authors, (at least, lesser known to me), that really scored with me this time around. A few examples being:
Livia Llewellyn's "The Last, Clean, Bright Summer". I don't even know what to say about this story. A truly original and disgusting, (but in a good way), short story that blew me away.
Dale Bailey's "Giants in the Earth". This was another tale that I found to be rather unique. In a deep and dirty coal mine, something beautiful is discovered. What will the miners do?
Stephen Graham Jones' "Grindstone". (This author is not new to me, but I haven't yet read anything from him other than a few short stories.) This short story makes me want to hunt down everything he's ever written. I don't even know what to say about this tale, other than it includes sheep and asteroids/meteors(?), and it has one of those WTF? moments that I love.
Adam Nevill's "Doll Hands". This author I have heard of previously,(in fact, I have his latest novel lined up to read next), but I haven't read any of his work. This was my first story by him and it was a messed up one. The first line is just great: "I am the one with the big white head and the doll hands." One sentence and I was intrigued! This story was just plain awesome.
Overall, I found this to be an above average collection. Even though I enjoyed the stories of the lesser known (to me) authors the most, there are some excellent works by the powerhouse authors as well-Peter Straub's "Ashputtle" was a delicious little tale of nastiness, for example.
I believe that Ellen Datlow is one of the finest anthologists around, and when I see her name as editor, I always know I will find some literary goodness within. (Plus, this one has this KILLER cover: I mean look at that thing. It's freaking COOL!)
Highly recommended for fans of horror and dark fiction short stories!
You can purchase this book here.
*I received this book free from Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*