cover image Screams from the Dark: 29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous

Screams from the Dark: 29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous

Edited by Ellen Datlow. Nightfire, $28.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-250-79706-3

“What is a monster?” Datlow (the Best Horror of the Year series, editor) asks in her introduction to this excellent anthology, which brings together a tremendous variety of answers from the leading voices in horror. Indrapramit Das depicts a home invasion in the searing “Here Comes Your Man,” while Stephen Graham Jones delivers a twisty Bigfoot hunt in “Children of the Night.” Siobhan Carroll’s haunting “Siolaigh” explores an Outer Hebrides island, and Priya Sharma’s beautiful “The Ghost of a Flea” travels the murderous streets of London. The great outdoors provides the terror in Glen Hirshberg’s “Devil,” while A.C. Wise’s unforgettable “Click Clack Rattle Tap” delves into the slippery interior horror of postpartum psychosis. Other standouts include Gemma Files’s visceral “Wet Red Grin,” Daryl Gregory’s sweet “The Virgin Jimmy Peck,” and Caitlín R. Kiernan’s achingly lonely “Strandling.” Unfortunately, some of the older titans of horror suffer for being placed next to their younger, more inventive colleagues; neither Joyce Carol Oates nor Jeffrey Ford manage to stick the landing. But even the weaker pieces are connected to the whole by a resonant common thread: whatever the monster, it’s always created, encouraged, or worsened by the actions of humans. Any horror fan will be glad to check this out. (June)