cover image The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror

. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $10.95 (512pp) ISBN 978-0-7867-0690-7

Carroll & Graf's Mammoth Horror series is remarkable not only for presenting an outstanding selection of the best in horror and dark fantasy every year, but for doing so during a decade that has not been kind to the genre. As Jones points out in his introduction to this 10th volume, ""the erosion of the mid-list and the cancellation of genre imprints"" have resulted in the ""all-but-collapse of the commercial field."" Despite the decline, this multiple-award-winning anthology includes a wealth of fine offerings from both new and established authors. As usual, the volume includes a catch-all essay about horror in the past year. This time, more than a third of the hefty volume is devoted to two novellas--yet the space is well used. The first, Peter Straub's brilliant revenge story ""Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff"" (inspired by Herman Melville's ""Bartleby the Scrivener""), has won both Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards. The second, ""The Boss in the Wall,"" is a posthumous work of old-fashioned horror from Avram Davidson (completed by his former wife Grania Davis). From the Hollywood noir of Dennis Etchison's ""Inside the Cackle Factory"" to the starkly eerie ""The Dead Boy at Your Window"" by Bruce Holland Rogers to the elegant ""A Victorian Ghost Story"" by Kim Newman, these tales evoke the grand tradition of horror while attesting to its lively and innovative future. Indispensable reading for horror lovers, this anthology and its predecessors must also be credited with having a hand in keeping horror itself alive. (Nov.)