I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.by David Lucarelli (editor)
Published by Omnium Gatherum on December 8, 2015
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Ghost, Horror, Supernatural
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As you sit warm and cozy in your chair by the fire, comforted by the pretty lights and decorations of your holy nights, a chill runs up your spine. Part of you knows that the things that creep in the night and stalk your souls take no holiday. Indeed, as members of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Horror Writer's Association are here to remind you with twenty dark tales and four eerie poems, at this time of the year, many terrors lie just beneath the tinsel. They bring a special kind of fear that can only be found in The Winter Horror Days.
The Christmas Spirit ~ Lisa Morton
In the Dead of Winter ~ K. A. Opperman
Mother Night ~ Elise Forier Edie
The Eve Sirens ~ Lauren Candia
about Christmas '78 ~ David Ghilardi
Crying Wolf ~ Kate Maruyama
Choking Hazard ~ Michael Paul Gonzalez
Cursed by Saint Basil ~ Kate Jonez
Witch Sisters ~ Sean Patrick Traver
A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Christmas Yet to Come ~ Kevin Wetmore
Black Coal ~ David Blake Lucarelli
Pâtisserie du Diable ~ Eric J. Guignard
Dread of Winter Dreams of Summer ~ Janet Joyce Holden
The Sun ~ Robin Morris
Krampus Comes to Town ~ Robert Payne Cabeen
Showdown in Beverly Hills ~ Hal Bodner
The Quiet Christmas Tree ~ Tracy L. Carbone
Shamash ~ Xach Fromson
An Ugly Resurrection ~ The Behrg
The Scary Neighbor ~ Ian Welke
Santa Christ and the Xmas Miracle ~ Terry M. West & Regina West
Winter Witch ~ Ashley Dioses
The Fifty-Eighth Item ~ Kathryn McGee
…And Eight Rabid Pigs ~ David Gerrold
As with any anthology, I expect to come across a wide range of stories–some resonate with me, others leave me feeling . . .nothing. This particular collection hit everything from stories I had rated one or two stars, to those that I loved and gave four or five stars to. In this case–given the large spread–I rated each individual tale and averaged them out to an, unsurprising, three star overall average.
A positive note in this winter themed anthology was that I did not come across any replicas or duplicates in theme. The editor, David Lucarelli, did an excellent job in regard to that. Obviously, the stories that I didn’t, personally, care for may be the best according to another reviewer’s standards. I would urge readers to take a look and judge for themselves.
Personal favorites of mine:
1.) “Black Coal”, by David Blake Lucarelli: My hands-down favorite! Every element that I look at was present in this tale of comeuppance. It has great tension throughout, excellent atmosphere that you can “feel”, and realistic characterization.
2.) “Cursed By Saint Basil”, by Kate Jonez: A Greek legend that I was previously unfamiliar with. This story took me completely by surprise–loved every minute of it.
3.) “Choking Hazard”, by Michael Paul Gonzalez: A twisted look at revenge from a most unexpected source. The execution of this tale was a unique touch that I really enjoyed.
4.) “The Fifty-Eighth Item”, by Kathryn McGee: A more “internal” look at Christmas and the value placed on material items. Another story that really called out to me and struck just the right chord of horror and introspection.
5.) “An Ugly Resurrection”, by The Behrg: An unique and grotesque take of a holiday tradition–what’s not to love?
Other stories I enjoyed included Lisa Morton’s “The Christmas Spirit”, Lauren Candia’s “The Eve Sirens”, Eric J. Guignard’s “Patisserie du Diable”, and David Gerrold’s “And Eight Rabid Pigs”.
A winter collection containing quite a mix of stories–something for everyone. The ones that stood out the most to me are worth the purchase price, alone!