cover image Chiral Mad 2

Chiral Mad 2

Edited by Michael Bailey. Written Backwards, $20 paper (424p) ISBN 978-1-4942-3997-8

Bailey (Palindrome Hannah) builds on the success of his previous anthology, Chiral Mad%E2%80%94which, like the sequel, was compiled to raise money for Down syndrome charities%E2%80%94by providing a diverse collection of 28 horror stories from seasoned writers and novices. The central theme of chirality%E2%80%94in chemistry, the term "chiral" refers to a molecule that is not symmetrical%E2%80%94seems particularly apropos to a volume on psychological horror, as it hints at a fundamental incoherence or irresoluble conflict of perception and reality, of personality and the external. In Mason Ian Bundschuh's "Another Man's Bones," for example, the past and present collide. Max Booth III, in "Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy," probes the aftermath of and clashing perspectives about a school massacre, to suggest that the effects of tragedy can be redemptive. In "Indian Summer," Philip C. Perron unveils the malignant impact of a woman's social isolation on two adolescents. The devastating effect of devotion to warped artistic genius is violently depicted by David Morrell in "Orange Is for Anguish, Blue Is for Insanity." Appropriately for a horror anthology, in his introduction, Bailey employs the imagery of teeth seizing the reader. Given the caliber of this winning collection, readers won't mind being bitten.