You know me, I love a spooky anthology. And Tor Nightfire are dominating the horror game with their consistently awesome releases. So Dark Stars ticked so many of my boxes, and is chock-full of superb stories from the best modern horror writers.
The stories in this collection are incredibly varied, but all succeed in reaching into the deepest depths of human fears. These were my highlights:
The Attentionist, by Caroline Kepnes – Incredibly creepy opener, a tale of sisterly war, and terrifying phone calls.
Papa Eye, by Priya Sharma – I will shout from the hills about Sharma’s work; she is an incredible writer. This is a beautiful story about a disillusioned doctor, who moves to a seemingly idyllic island.
Volcano, by Livia Llewellyn – This is a wonderfully messed up story. A young girl with a string of failed jobs behind her finally finds a calling in fixing up furniture. But why is she not allowed beyond that strange door? Lots of clues, but nothing confirmed in this extraordinary story.
Trinity River’s Blues, by Chesya Burke – A gorgeous story of hoodoo, family, and the ghost of Charlie Parker. A beautiful piece of writing; Burke has a real talent for expressing horrific things in a lyrical way.
The Sanguintalist, by Gemma Files – I loved this noir-ish story, of a woman speaking to murder victims through their blood. Absolutely gruesome, but a very enjoyable read.
Mrs. Addison’s Nest, by Josh Malerman – Heavy Stephen King vibes in this tale of four young friends and a traumatic encounter in a library. Completely disorienting in the best way.
Challawa, by Usman T. Malik – I think this was my favorite of the whole collection. So much happens in this story, with historical, folk horror, and cultural elements. Deeply rich storytelling.
Enough for Hunger and Enough for Hate, by John Langan – The final story of the collection is a completely engrossing story of a murder, domestic terror, and the Old Gods. One of the longer stories in the collection, I was completely grabbed by this two-hander. This would make an incredible play.
Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror is out right now! Thanks to Tor Nightfire for sharing an ARC. They don’t pay me to love their books; they don’t have to!