cover image A Book of Horrors

A Book of Horrors

Edited by Stephen Jones. St. Martin’s Griffin, $15.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-250-01852-6

Jones (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror) passes up the coy and cute for the purely frightening in this exemplary anthology for those who “understand and appreciate the worth and impact of a scary story.” In “The Little Green God of Agony,” Stephen King conjures up a horrific medical situation with a final twist worthy of a sinister O. Henry. In “Getting It Wrong,” Ramsey Campbell dials into the world of phone quiz shows where errors are not tolerated. Noisy neighbors provoke personal collapse and family dissolution in Robert Shearman’s “Alice Through the Plastic Sheet.” Atmospherics are as crucial to traditional horror as apparitions, and Reggie Oliver’s “A Child’s Problem” pits a young boy against a malevolent uncle and butler on an isolated British estate, while in the haunting “Near Zennor,” Elizabeth Hand sends widowed American architect Jeffrey wandering through a spectral Cornish landscape in a search for understanding. The abundance of talent will provide ample delights and frights for anyone in search of true classic horror. (Sept.)