The best horror anthology story standouts – cream of the crop

Who am I?

Horror spoke to me early. In fifth grade a teacher submitted my story which landed in an anthology of Maine authors alongside Stephen King. King being a local made writing real. Whether movies or books I could not consume enough of the horror genre. My local bookstore had me (a customer) curate their horror section given my knowledge and depth of reading in the field. Anthologies excited me most with so many authors packed into one volume. I detoured into producing/writing in Hollywood for years in the non-horror field. But now I author books in the genre that means the most to me. I also edit the Little Coffee Shop of Horrors Anthology series.


I wrote...

The House: A Horror Novel

By Paul Carro,

Book cover of The House: A Horror Novel

What is my book about?

Horror has found a home! The day began when Sheriff Watkins discovered two bodies and three heads. Then things got strange…

One by one residents of a small town see a door open, one they are compelled to walk through only to find themselves trapped in a house that should not exist. Nine strangers with nine secrets so dark they wish to take them to their graves. One house is willing to accommodate them all. The House is now open. Enter if you dare!

The books I picked & why

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Dark Delicacies II: Fear

By Del Howison (editor), Jeff Gelb (editor),

Book cover of Dark Delicacies II: Fear

Why this book?

Solid anthology but the cream of the crop standout is bar none, "Dog" by Joe R. Lansdale. A tale about a man on a bike being chased by a dog is like Cujo on steroids. Highly intense and fast-paced, the story never lets up from the first page. It never slows down and the poor character’s bike trip just gets worse and worse. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat and thinking about it long after.

Dark Delicacies II: Fear

By Del Howison (editor), Jeff Gelb (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Delicacies II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To be able to fill an anthology with original horror tales by some of the greatest names in terror fiction is a dream come true. Bram Stoker Award-winning editors Jeff Gelb and Del Howison are living that dream... or is it nightmare?
Following the first award-winning book of the series, the editors have gathered the finest horror authors from around the country, including bestselling authors James Sallis, Joe R. Lansdale, Max Brooks, Steve Niles, and Caitlin R. Kiernan.

18 original tales of carefully crafted macabre will keep you up at night. Plus there is an introduction by the late great…


The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories

Why this book?

I recommend this book above other Stephen King anthologies for one specific story. "Mile 81". I grew up around Mr. King and he even came and read from one of his books in our high school auditorium. We all know him and there are a million to pick. But I chose this for both readers and authors. The story is about a car that is not what it seems. (Yes, a car.) The reason I believe even writers should study it, is how well it takes a concept and sticks with it and makes it real. The story is fun, gross, and tense, but also a masterclass in storytelling.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bazaar of Bad Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A generous collection of thrilling stories - some brand new, some published in magazines, all entirely brilliant and assembled in one book for the first time - with a wonderful bonus: in addition to his introduction to the whole collection, King gives readers a fascinating introduction to each story with autobiographical comments on their origins and motivation...

The No. 1 bestselling writer has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of novellas and short story fiction since his first collection NIGHT SHIFT was published. He describes the nature of the form in his introduction to the book: 'There's something…


Dark Screams: Volume Five

By Brian James Freeman (editor), Richard Chizmar (editor), Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Bentley Little, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James

Book cover of Dark Screams: Volume Five

Why this book?

This little gem of an anthology is shorter than most I read but boy is it packed with superstars in horror. But the story that stands out here is "The Playhouse" by Bentley Little. I could have included his own collections here, and you should consider reading them, but this unique tale really stands out in a solid anthology, so I wanted to recommend this. Bentley Little has always been one of my influences even though I came across him later in my horror journey. His no-nonsense storytelling drags readers in quick and takes them along for the ride. In this a realtor discovers a playhouse on a property she is to show, and everything goes wrong from there. While a horror tale, it also deals with vestiges of youth and the passage of time. A truly remarkable tale.

Dark Screams: Volume Five

By Brian James Freeman (editor), Richard Chizmar (editor), Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Bentley Little, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Screams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James, and Bentley Little pry open a sarcophagus of horror and dread in Dark Screams: Volume Five, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the esteemed Cemetery Dance Publications.
 
EVERYTHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED by Mick Garris
It was supposed to be the night of his life: a celebration of his one hit slasher flick. But the price of admission is higher than this has-been filmmaker ever could have imagined.
 
THE ONE AND ONLY by J. Kenner
When he was seven, Will Underwood’s nanny told him she had the Sight. Years later,…


Outsiders: 22 All-New Stories From the Edge

By Nancy Holder (editor), Nancy Kilpatrick (editor),

Book cover of Outsiders: 22 All-New Stories From the Edge

Why this book?

Like the title suggests, this anthology is for those on the outside. It is a weird blend of strange works from well-known authors in the industry. I tend to like anthologies such as this because it creates work somewhat out of the norm for the writers. The standout story here is from Tanith Lee. I do not recommend it purely for the story as I do not consider it the best of this bunch. What did strike me was the prose. From her first words the reader knows they are in the hands of a master. It is simply impossible to stop reading once one starts because of the incredible descriptions and tone of the story. It is technically an excerpt from one of her novels but it does wow with the beauty of the words on the page. If someone believes horror cannot be literary they have not read Tanith Lee.

Outsiders: 22 All-New Stories From the Edge

By Nancy Holder (editor), Nancy Kilpatrick (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Outsiders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some of today's leading masters of speculative fiction, dark fantasy, and horror contribute a collection of original tales of the macabre in an anthology that features works by Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z. Brite, Yvonne Navarro, Tanith Lee, John Shirley, Brian Hodge, and Kathe Koja, among others. Original.


Books of Blood, Vol. 3

By Clive Barker,

Book cover of Books of Blood, Vol. 3

Why this book?

This one helped propel me into the world of writing horror. Besides King, I had been a consumer of the “quiet horror” anthologies of Charles L Grant. While I loved them and everything Grant did with the series, Barker came along and blew my young teen mind. The covers alone looked like something that should come in a paper wrapper. The stories have withstood the test of time and remain relevant today. For pure terror and scares at the time I would choose "Rawhead Rex" as the standout. This one scared the heck out of me, and I loved every second. One cannot go wrong picking up any volume and starting anywhere in the series, but for pure terror and fun, I recommend "Rawhead Rex".

Books of Blood, Vol. 3

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Books of Blood, Vol. 3 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Five stories in the third volume of Clive Barker's "Books of Blood". The stories are titled "Sun of Celluloid", "Rawhead Rex", "Confessions of a Pornographer's Shroud", "Scapegoats" and "Human Remains".


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