cover image Best New Horror, Vol. 25

Best New Horror, Vol. 25

Edited by Stephen Jones. Skyhorse/Night Shade, $15.95 trade paper (608p) ISBN 978-1-62873-818-6

Jones’s acclaimed contemporary horror series celebrates its quarter-century with 21 stories from newcomers and veterans—primarily British and North American—who can find equal unease in a sunny holiday, a burnt-out lot, and the floodwaters at the end of the world. Ramsey Campbell’s “Holes for Faces” and Daniel Mills’s “Isaac’s Room” inhabit the eerie space between imagination and knowledge. Robert Shearman’s “The Sixteenth Step” and the late Joel Lane’s “By Night He Could Not See” mine their coldest chills from human behavior. Inexplicably few female authors are included, but they offer some of the most striking entries, including Angela Slatter’s stylish “The Burning Circus,” Halli Villegas’s unsparing “Fishfly Season,” and Thana Niveau’s acute dissection of erotic horror, “Guinea Pig Girl.” Some big-name contributions feel inessential; more than one excerpt from Kim Newman’s long-awaited novel Johnny Alucard is overkill. However, the reprint of Stephen Volk’s outstanding small-press novella Whitstable, a biographical fantasia in which grieving widower Peter Cushing must confront a real-life monster, helps the anthology live up to its title. (Nov.)