A collection of horror tales from six romance writers highlights queer characters in fearful circumstances.
The introduction nicely sums up the anthology’s goal: to present “the top names in queer romance” writing horror, featuring monsters, killers, and sci-fi terrors. In Roan Parrish’s (Where We Left Off, 2016, etc.) “Company,” a teen facing his old cohorts’ homophobia befriends a vampire—or an imaginary comrade—whose attentions turn threatening. In Kris Ripper’s (Ring in the True, 2016, etc.) “Love Me True,” a man’s life seems to be going great, with a new boyfriend into the same kink—as long as the city’s mysterious killer doesn’t target them. KJ Charles’ (Rag and Bone, 2016, etc.) “The Price of Meat” is an alternative Sweeney Todd tale, with a strong heroine investigating a lawless section of London. Steve Berman (The Letter That Doomed Nosferatu, 2016, etc.) contributes “His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl,” about a pledge with problems with his fraternity brothers and a magical (or cursed) flask. Avon Gale’s (Power Play, 2016, etc.) “Legion: A Love Story” takes the format of a soldier’s journal and emails as he’s tasked with guarding an enigmatic prisoner, who may or may not be a demon with plans and feelings of his own. And the final story, “Beauties” by J.A. Rock (Slave Hunt, 2016, etc.), explores a researcher of Artificial Beings (human-shaped creations) trying to rehabilitate a troubled android with a shadowy past. As with many collections, each story here hits different tones or focuses: “Love Me True” offers more graphic erotica than the other tales, while “Company” might be read as a metaphor of internalized homophobia, with the main character’s conflicted feelings being concretized into a jealous vampire lover. “Beauties” circles around the issue of consent and trauma. Each of the stories in the anthology, edited by Peterson, has something to recommend it: “Legion” may not terrify the reader, but most will nod along with the narrator’s actions (and Google searches); “Chernobyl” engagingly examines a young person’s struggle to find himself; and “Meat” delivers the fun pace of an alternative history thriller.
An engaging anthology of queer fiction filled with monsters, mysteries, and menace.