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 Companion to last year's Psycho-Paths horror anthology, edited as before by the renowned motherstuffer of Psycho. Bloch's editorial chutzpa has collected some top-flight genre writers for this sheaf--most of which is not bad at all and some of which is quite well written. All told, the 17 authors know they're in good company and strive for excellence, though generally the stories featuring thuggish protagonists sink to the dreariest predictability--a thought that means the more intelligent the protagonist, the better the writing. Bloch kicks off with the best- written piece here, ``Snow Man'' by John Coyne, about a bitter Peace Corps teacher in Ethiopia whose students decide to teach him a lesson. Ray Bradbury's genial ``Fee Fie Fo Fum'' tells about the new bone-grinding Garburator in the kitchen sink and features the best opening sentence in the collection: ``The postman came melting along the sidewalk in the hot summer sun, his nose dripping, his fingers wet on his full leather pouch.'' Ramsey Campbell's ``For You To Judge'' tells of a juror on a serial-murder case who takes on the character of the guilty man. Jonathan Carroll's ``The Lick of Time'' finds a young woman being taken over by her own voice on her new high-tech answering machine. Charles L. Grant's ``Name That Tune'' Features a hopeful random-killer-to-be haunted by a tune whose name he can't remember until he's mugged in an alley. In ``It Takes One To Know One,'' editor Bloch cuts rather close to the bone, drawing a group of hack horror writers from the Fifties who form The Skull Club and set up a tontine: the last of them to remain alive wins a 98-cent bottle of Chianti. Though a mechanical revenge story, it's more carefully written than Bloch's embarrassing intro to the volume. Better than you may expect but not memorable.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-85049-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993


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