OBSESSIONS by Gary Raisor


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 Long and mostly uninspired anthology of original horror stories about obsession, with familiar names predominating. With only a few of its 30 stories conveying the full force of obsession, this collection as a hole disappoints; yet it also intrigues for its rare presentation of tales from every corner of the horror field-splatterpunk, quiet, and mainstream. Editor Raiser bookends the anthology with short, mainstream novellas by his two biggest names, opening with Dean Koontz's ``The Interrogation'' and closing with Dan Simmons's ``The Counselor.'' The Koontz is stylistically experimental-told strictly in the dialogue of a police interrogation-but thematically old hat, just another vampire variant; the Simmons offers no surprises at all, but sustains a fast pace as it details the vengeance a guidance counselor wreaks upon child-abusers. More worthy is the grouping of raw-edged tales that follow the Koontz, spearheaded by Joe R. Lansdale's ``In the Cold, Dark Time''-a grim, powerful fable from this more talented of splatterpunks, about a man who kills children to spare them pain-and including entries by Thomas F. Monteleone, John Shirley, Nicholas Royle (the sardonically amusing ``Crispy Notes,'' about a man who like everything crisp, including his lovers), and F. Paul Wilson. These harsh stories lead smoothly into quieter ones by Richard Christian Matheson (``Region of the Flesh,'' an ineffectual tale about a man obsessed by a murder-bed), Chet Williamson, Charles L. Grant, Al Sarrantonio, Edward Bryant (the wickedly sly ``Down Home''), and other well-knowns; but the best of this lot is by relative newcomer A.R. Morlan, ``The Second Most Beautiful Woman in the World,'' a genuinely haunting tribute to the spirit of Georgia O'Keefe. Peanut-butter-and-jelly horror, well spread by editor Raiser.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1991
ISBN: 0-913165-55-7
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991


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