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DEATHREALM by Stephen Mark Rainey



edited by Stephen Mark Rainey

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 2023
ISBN: 9781959565178
Publisher: Shortwave Media

The editor of the award-winning 1970s and ‘80s horror magazine Deathrealm presents a collection of eclectic stories.

Rainey helms this set of spine-tingling and sometimes stomach-churning works from 20 authors. As with many anthologies, not every tale works, but it hits its stride in its third offering, Timothy G. Huguenin’s “To Fear and To Rage,” about a father and son whose remote mountain town is slowly overrun by unsettling faceless, eyeless creatures. Later, readers are transported to the Wild West in Larry Blamire’s “The Murder Wagon,” which ends with an unexpected and satisfying twist. David Niall Wilson’s “I Was Going to Tell You Tonight” is a delightfully disgusting foray into body horror, telling of a twisted relationship between two pest exterminators—one of whom has an increasingly strange obsession. The standout of the collection, Maurice Broaddus’ “The Running People,” is unflinchingly tense and brutal in its story of a mother’s daily run to the suburbs from a sequestered cabin in the woods to pick up rations for her and her daughter; it masterfully blends themes of inequality, bigotry, climate change, and cosmic horror in an all-too-believable postapocalyptic setting. “Bloody Roots” by Brian Keene is a fun, inventive twist on classic haunted-house stories with its tale of an ex-Amish exorcist/medium/occult detective who’s called in to rid a family of malevolent force terrorizing their home, and Kasey Lansdale's “The Disappeared" is an effectively atmospheric study in suspense in which two young girls investigate a mystery after discovering a body at a local creek. Others are a mixed bag, with some premises that don’t meet expectations or endings that lose momentum. Overall, though, this is a serviceable anthology for readers looking for a scare.

A solid compilation that will satisfy avid fans of a range of horror subgenres.