cover image Best New Horror 2

Best New Horror 2

. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $20.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-736-9

Twenty-eight spine-tinglers are showcased by the editors, both veteran horror writers,in this fine anthology, which runs the horror gamut from occult shocker to psychological thriller. Though it opens with a rather tasteless entry, K. W. Jeter's grisly ``The First Time'' (told with au courant splatterpunk brio), the collection redeems itself many times over with a score of tales that make the prerequisite suspension of disbelief a hair-raising pleasure. In Michael Marshall Smith's imaginative ``The Man Who Drew Cats,'' a mysterious street-artist stretches his creativity to alarmingly grim lengths when an abused child wins his heart. Thomas Ligotti's fluently written novella, ``The Last Feast of Harlequin,'' reveals the dark nature lurking just beneath the whiteface. The searing final image in ``Cedar Lane,'' by Karl Edward Wagner, will invoke for many genre fans Ray Bradbury's classic ``There Will Come Soft Rains.'' J. L. Comeau's riveting ``Firebird'' pits supernatural forces against a feisty ballerina who also happens to be a cop. In one of the collection's strongest entries, ``Mister Ice Cold,'' cartoonist Gahan Wilson proves that a few thousand well-chosen words just might be worth more than a picture, after all. (Nov.)